Ahoy there me mateys! A short while back, I wrote a post discussing me initial thoughts on the 2020 Hugo awards. At that time, I had read none of the works in the novelette category. I have since remedied the situation and so here be mini-reviews of the novelettes and me pick for the 2020 winner.
The novelettes are from the list as published on Tor.com with the quoted descriptions taken from the publisher where possible. Click on the story title to read the novelettes themselves.
- “The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
First sentence “This is a love story, the last of a series of moments when we meet.”
Thoughts: This was a weird story with a cool concept and alien artifacts but I didn’t really like it. I did sympathize with the main character’s sadness though.
- “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)
First sentence “When I wake, I am curled up as small as a seed.”
Thoughts: Goodness this was interesting. A human girl is always in pain and her only relief comes from those times she turns into a wolf. But the wolf causes damage to other people and there is a price to be paid. How can the girl resolve the two sides of her being? This was satisfying.
- “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
First sentence “It was a nice enough cabin, if Zanna ignored the dead wasps.”
Thoughts: I loved this one! A murder mystery writer goes to a remote cabin to finish her novel and things go wrong. I was not expecting the ending at all. It was grand. The author was nominated for a Hugo last year in the best short story category last year. I really need to track down her novel.
- “Emergency Skin“, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award–winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.
Thoughts: I usually love this author’s work but I didn’t like this one from the very beginning and it was abandoned half way through. I didn’t like the tone or the use of second person. I was bored.
- “For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com, 10 July 2019)
A dark fantasy about Jeoffry, a cat who fights demons, a poet, who is Jeoffry’s human confined to an insane asylum, and Satan, who schemes to end the world.
Thoughts: This style was not for me even if I adore cats. It was sort of tedious to read. I did enjoy the final poem.
- “Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
First sentence: “Lord, I place myself in your presence, and ask you to shine your light into my heart as I look back upon this day, so that I may see more clearly your grace in everything that has happened.”
Thoughts: This was very well-written but a bit too philosophical for me. I enjoyed that the main character was a female archaeologist and the discussions about measuring time through artifacts. This is about what happens to faith when scientific advances keep occurring.
Now listen up me hearties, the decision has been made:
Hoped for Winner: In terms of fun it would be “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker but when I really sit down and think about it, I do think “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey speaks to me more in terms of thinking about it after the fact and it’s themes.
So there ye have it. Me Hugo thoughts and wishes for novelettes. Not a great bunch for me overall. I will keep y’all posted as I continue readin’ through the nominees before the winners be revealed on 8/02/2020. In the meantime:
Q: What do pirates and pimps have in common?
A: They both say “YO HO!” and walk with a limp!
Hardy har har!
x The Captain