Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

The 2018 Hugo finalists for Best Short Story

These are evenly divided between SF and fantasy (Nagata, Roanhorse, and Prasad clearly SF, and Wilde, Yoachim and Vernon clearly fantasy). Again, I did not find it too difficult to rank them; there was only one that I really bounced off. (See JJ's list for access to all of the 2018 short fiction finalists, and much more, online.)

6) “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” by Fran Wilde

Third paragraph:
No one wants to be pinned between an entrance and an exit, unless you’re part of the show.
Lyrically written, appears to be about being swallowed. I did not really get it.

5) “Carnival Nine,” by Caroline M. Yoachim

Third paragraph:
“Take me to the zoo tomorrow?” The zoo on the far side of the closet had lions that did backflips and elephants that balanced on brightly colored balls.
I liked all the rest of the stories. This is a fantasy about love and loss among people who need to be wound up every day and whose springs eventually break. Nicely done, though my curious mind wanted more information about the setting.

4) “The Martian Obelisk,” by Linda Nagata

Third paragraph:
But there were still things to do in the long, slow decline; final gestures to make. Susannah Li-Langford had spent seventeen years working on her own offering-for-the-ages, with another six and half years to go before the Martian Obelisk reached completion. Only when the last tile was locked into place in the obelisk’s pyramidal cap, would she yield.
Elegiac story about art, obsession, survival and ultimately hope. Not totally sure about the twist ending but generally liked it.

3) “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse

Third paragraph:
“Our last name’s not Trueblood,” she complains when you tell her about your nom de rêve.
Protagonist makes his living by performing as a part of an immersive entertainment fantasy. The problem with being fake is that sometimes there are people who can fake it better.

2) “Fandom for Robots,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

Third paragraph:
After fifty milliseconds, Computron checks the countdown page again.
I hate cute robot stories, but this is about a robot that itself becomes obsessed with cute robot stories, and for once I was charmed.

1) “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon

Third paragraph:
“No, nor do you deserve it,” she snapped at him. She was a fierce old woman with a nose like a hawk’s beak and skin falling away in folds from her cheekbones. “You’re a farmer, not a warrior. They’ll help you.”
What happens when a young farmer inherits a sword inhabited by three warrior spirits? Charming story with not a word wasted.

Edited to add: NB that “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™” won the Nebula.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Series | Young Adult | Campbell Award
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist
Tags: hugos 2018, writer: ursula vernon

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