wealhtheow: cartoon of old-timey lady saying, "this debate lacks any sexual intrigue so I am not even paying attention" (sexualintrigue)
[personal profile] wealhtheow
The 2014 Hugo Award finalist list is up. 

I haven't read anything from the best novel category. I assume the Wheel of Time series will win, given the decades worth of fans and good will it's built up. 

In the novella category, one is a gaming tie-in, one is apparently trite, and Valente's "Six-Gun Snow White" is apparently a witty and complex adaptation of a fairy tale"Equiod" by Charles Stross charmed me early on with this line "it’s probably safe to tell you that my name’s Bob Howard—at least, for operational purposes; true names have power, and we don’t like to give extradimensional identity thieves the keys to our souls—and I work for a secret government agency known to its inmates as the Laundry."  I expected a wordy, mildly amusing tale, and instead got a creepy (yet still amusing!) mixture of HP Lovecraft and Cold Comfort Farm.  I found “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages frustrating.  It follows several generations of a family living near a spring, from a bookish black girl in the 1930s to her granddaughter, a zoologist in the present day.  In the entire novella, only the last two lines are fantastical. The plot and characters are utterly mundane, and although the first two are well drawn, the last half didn't keep my interest.  I wish the taloned spring creature had been woven in more into the rest of the story, because just having it pop up at the very last moment (and not even interacting with any character, or changing anything) was very dissatisfying.  I hope "Six-Gun Snow White" or "Equiod" win.

The Novellete category has some great stories in it this year. I really loved The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal.  Once an astronaut, an aging woman has to decide whether she'll take one more chance at the stars, or stay with her dying husband for his last few months. The relationships and emotions felt so real and familiar to me, while the crux of the story is one that will resonate.  But I also think The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feelingby Ted Chiang is excellent. It features a writer who first decries the use of a new memory-enhancing technology, then revises his views. It's thoughtful and insightful, both about the uses of technology and the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves.  And then The Waiting Starsby Aliette de Bodard is fascinating. I love the way my understanding of the characters and the empires changed as the story progressed.  Both facets of the story are so richly detailed that I could almost picture it. I don't know that I could vote for just one of these.

I'm also torn about the short story category. I really liked, If You Were a Dinosaur, My Loveby Rachel SwirskyAt first it seems like a flight of fancy, and then turns sadder. Very well written.  The other one I would vote for is Selkie Stories Are for Losersby Sofia Samatar is about those who get left behind by magic.  I loved the main character, a girl who can't let go. I didn't like The Ink Readers of Doi Saketby Thomas Olde Heuvelt, which seemed to try hard for whimsy and non attachment but actually just read like an unbelievable set of random stuff happening to people I didn't care about.  The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu is stilted with a conceit (water appears when people lie, and disappears when they tell unequivocal truths) that isn't really explored; that said, I did like the characters.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-22 02:18 am (UTC)
j00j: rainbow over east berlin plattenbau apartments (Default)
From: [personal profile] j00j
As far as the Best Novel category goes, I think you would enjoy reading Ancillary Justice. Seriously, the protagonist used to be a spaceship. And there's all sorts of interesting gender stuff.

I need to read more of the rest...

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