Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Best Short Story 2014 Hugos

My first write-up for the 2014 Hugos, as opposed to the 1939 Retro Hugos. I found this ranking fairly easy, though I also confidently predict that fandom will disagree with me.

5) “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I thought about this long and hard. It's a story about unexpectedly mystical happenings in a Thai village, written by a Dutch writer. It may be an unintended effect of translation, but I rather felt that the Asian culture was being played for laughs; perhaps we Irish are too sensitive about that, but it pushed one of my buttons and I can't vote for it.

4) No Award. The other three are all decent enough tales, though I personally think that it would be better to lower the eligibility threshold to 4% rather than 5%, which would have ensured that we had five or more stories to choose between in 2013 and 2011 (I have no information on how this would have worked out this year).

3) “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky. This will probably win the award. It is very short and very moving. I've marked it down because I don't think it is very sfnal, and I personally think that still does matter in the context of the Hugo awards: the whole point of the story is that in fact the narrator's lover is not a dinosaur. But I expect mine will prove to be a minority opinion.

2) “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar. I wrote about this before as it was nominated for the BSFA Award. Again, I think the sfnal credentials are a little questionable, but I also rather liked it.

1) “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu. Good heavens, a Hugo nominee that actually has entire sentences in untranslated Chinese!!!!! (The killer punchline from the narrator's mother - apologies for spoiling the story for those of you who can read it - is "你是研究生物科技的. 孫子能給我嗎? 有你們兩個的基因的.") On the one hand, it's a story of an increasingly widely-recorded human experience, of a gay man coming out to his family in a culture which is not naturally sympathetic to that sort of diversity; on the other, there's a Ted Chiang-like change to the natural order (though it reminds me also of The Primal Urge by Brian Aldiss) which forces everyone to reassess their experience of the world and the rest of humanity. It gets my vote, though as I said above I expect that Rachel Swirsky will actually win.

You can vote in this year's Hugos, and the 1939 Retro Hugos, by joining Loncon 3 at .

2014: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist | Best Fan Artist
1939: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist

Tags: hugos 2014

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