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Hugo Nominees

It's been awhile since I made a point of reading all the Hugo nominees (I'm going to Worldcon, so I can vote for a change), and I'm pleased to note signs of recovery from the "a bunch of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to each other in an unpleasant environment" style of short science/fantasy fiction which drove me out of the magazines during the "New Age" and "Cyberpukenk" eras. OK, the only inhabitant of Charles Stross' Accelerando I've encountered thus far that I care much about is a batch of uploaded lobsters which have collectively achieved sentience yet so far appear to be mostly background, but there's still far more book in my right hand than my left. Well, would be if I were reading the dead tree edition - it's one of three of the five novel nominees which are providing the ebook equivalent of "screeners" to Hugo voters. Limited circulation, but ultimately they should be released as ebooks when their publishers catch on to the fact that Baen Books which does not release textual crippleware knows what it's doing... but that's enough digression. Well, one more - I had no trouble at all finding all five novels in the LA City library, nor in checking them out.

Point is there's some really good short fiction out there and the Worldcon page has links to those nominated for the upcoming Hugo awards. Far as I know, most of the shorter fiction is for anybody to read, not just Worldcon members, too.

Just a few minor comments

Best Novella
· "Burn" by James Patrick Kelly - Real problems are more complex than they look at first. To anybody!

· "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners, Small Beer Press; F&SF September 2005) - The sort of thing "teen fiction" ought to be but usually isn't. You'll have to find the book of the same name to read this one. Do so. My third place vote.

· "The Little Goddess" by Ian McDonald (Asimov's June 2005) - High speed tour of a future world from an unusual viewpoint.

· "Identity Theft" by Robert J. Sawyer (Down These Dark Spaceways, SFBC) - As you might guess from the source, "detective noir" on Mars. Well done, too. My second place vote.

· "Inside Job" by Connie Willis (Asimov's January 2005) - I don't think I've seen a story about psychic debunkers with quite this problem (and no, the problem is not "the quack is for real"). This is getting my first place vote.

Best Novelette
· "The Calorie Man" by Paolo Bacigalupi (F&SF October/November 2005) - Heart of Darkness meets... well, see for yourself.

· "Two Hearts" by Peter S. Beagle (F&SF October/November 2005) - You should read The Last Unicorn before reading this. In fact, if you haven't, you should read The Last Unicorn. Period! My third place vote; might have been first except that I doubt it would be nearly as effective without having read the earlier work.

· "TelePresence" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog July/August 2005) - The more things change, the more they remain the same. Detective story, and a good one. Gets my second place vote

· "I, Robot" by Cory Doctorow (The Infinite Matrix February 15, 2005) - Cory Doctorow plays mixmastered universes. Being Cory Doctorow, he makes it decidedly entertaining. Gets my first place vote.

· "The King of Where-I-Go" by Howard Waldrop (SCI FICTION December 7, 2005) - Familiar territory, well handled.

Best Short Story

· "Seventy-Five Years" by Michael A. Burstein (Analog January/February 2005) - The "surprise" isn't much of one, but not bad for all that.

· "The Clockwork Atom Bomb" by Dominic Green (Interzone May/June 2005) - And we think we've got a weapons disposal problem *now*... My number one pick.

· "Singing My Sister Down" by Margo Lanagan (Black Juice, Allen & Unwin; Eos) - As someone once said about Lord Dunsany's "Two Bottles of Relish", you will remember this story. You may not want to, but you will... Fighting it out with "Down Memory Lane" for second place.

· "Tk'tk'tk" by David D. Levine (Asimov's March 2005) - Predictable but well done cross cultural adaptation.

· "Down Memory Lane" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's April/May 2005) - Ouch... Fighting it out with "Singing My Sister Down" for second place.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2006 04:01 pm (UTC)
After 40 solid years of New Wave (TM), even New Wave becomes Old Hat...
I might be at WorldCon (it's only two miles south of me), but the $200 membership is putting me off.

I'm pleased to note signs of recovery from the "a bunch of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to each other in an unpleasant environment" style of short science/fantasy fiction which drove me out of the magazines during the "New Age" and "Cyberpukenk" eras.

Does this mean that guys like me have a chance again? My stuff's reminiscent of classic Poul Anderson (Polesotechnic League period); one bud in PA (LJ tag eric_hinkle) does Howardian-style S&S that could have given Bob Howard a run for his money in the pages of Thirties' Weird Tales; and another (LJ tag literary_equine) does everything from Lovecraftian horror to My Little Pony fanfic parodies.

The Headless Unicorn Guy

Jul. 13th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: After 40 solid years of New Wave (TM), even New Wave becomes Old Hat...
Yeah, the trouble with Worldcons is that these days you have to plan to go several years in advance to buy a membership at decent rates, and how many of us can do that? After years of planning not to go, I got mine for $175, which was steep enough... but I've got someone to room with (in the filk hotel!) and there are just too many filkers I want to jam with coming to this thing. I will also attend the REST of the con most likely, but it was world-class filking that finally lured me in.

As for you - do you write novels or shorter fiction? If the latter, go to the nominee link page and look up the venues the shorter nominees were originally published in. While you're at it, take a look at Jim Baen's Universe, an on-line magazine which, despite the recent death of Mr. Baen is still very much a going concern. They might be interested.
Jul. 13th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
It was the whole "everyone is an *** and everything sucks" line of cyberpunk that put me off of SF for years. Glad to hear it's dying the long-put-off death it so richly deserves.
Jul. 13th, 2006 11:06 pm (UTC)
It should - but as I said the only evidence I have are the Hugo nominations; and I've not finished the novels yet. Accelerando has a certain amount in common with the cyberpunk line thus far - but the real focus of the story isn't the people, it's what's going on in the world as the asymptotic curve of change goes straight up. It refers to the not-being-able-to-imagine what comes next point as a "singularity" whereas "event horizon" would be a more accurate metaphor, but I've seen this in plenty of other places. No doubt we'll wind up with the language adapting as usual - if enough people use a word wrongly in the same way, that meaning just gets added to the definition list. Witness the merger of "gantlet" and "gauntlet".
Jul. 13th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Oh pooh - that should be "the asymptotic curve of rate of change" up there, shouldn't it. Acceleration (as per the title), not speed.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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