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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hugo Nominees 2011 - Novella

I usually don’t review the Hugo Nominee’s for Novella, Novelette or Short Stories, but this year I decided what the heck, why not?  Reading these took time away from reading other things, they are scifi so entirely applicable to this blog, and I'm voting on the Hugo's this year. 

In order of my preference, which is really, nothing more than my opinion and means diddlysquat in the greater realm of things, but nonetheless a ranking of sorts:

“Troika” by Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines, Science Fiction Book Club)
Big Unknown Object in Space is explored by three Russian Cosmonauts, but the ramifications are almost incomprehensible and the three Cosmonauts come back raving mad…or did they? Great twist at the end made up for the Big Unknown Object in Space theme.

“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)
A story about women’s magic as it crosses the ages. I thought this was well executed and I liked how the main character was not what you would expect. While I’m not wild about the feminist aspect of this story, I still felt it was innovative and fresh.

“The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand (Stories: All New Tales, William Morrow)
A nod to the steampunk genre without fully going there. Four lives who intersected briefly after a summer of working at the Smithsonian are reunited around an attempt to re-film the maiden flight of the Bellerophon. A bit about opportunities lost.

“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s, September 2010)
A petulant twelve year old ruler of Venus tries to initiate marriage to a scientist to take full financial control of the planet in order to attempt to terraform it, despite knowing that it wouldn’t work. I think. Story was told from the scientist’s assistant’s point of view, which, in my opinion, made the story rather shallow.

"The Lifecycle of Software Objects" by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
A software firm creates animated ‘creatures’ that people can adopt, love, teach, grow and cherish in the interactive realm of DataEarth. An exploration of what happens to AI as it is kept cognizant to the outside world and the software problems of maintaining those AI’s. This one just didn’t grab me – I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters nor the software.

The Nominee's for the Novel Category are:
  • Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • All Clear by Connie Willis
  • The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
  • A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by M K Jemisin

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