Ahoy there me mateys! A short while back, I wrote a post discussing me initial thoughts on the 2021 Hugo awards. At that time, I had read none of the works in the novelette category. I also had read none of the novelette nominees before the 2020 Nebula Awards Winners were announced. I didn’t want that to happened for the Hugos. So here be mini-reviews of the novelettes and me pick for the 2021 winner.
The novelettes are from the list as published on Tor.com. Click on the story title to read the novelettes themselves.
- “Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2020)
First sentence: “Watch Sam burn.”
Thoughts: I don’t normally dig superhero stories. This one was a bit more fun cause being a superhero sucks and I like following people behind the scenes helping to run the business side of things. Didn’t like the ending though.
- “Helicopter Story”, Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
Thoughts: There was controversy about this story that I missed. The story is not available online. As I cannot read it, I will not comment on it or link to the debate.
First sentence: “Night.”
Thoughts: I usually love this author’s writing and while this was well written, I didn’t really connect to it at all. Could be that the story dealt with fallen angels which is another topic I don’t love much. But I just didn’t like any of the characters in this.
- “Monster”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
First Sentence: “No one at the Guiyang airport speaks English.”
Thoughts: I enjoyed this take on friendship and evil. It was compelling and interesting. I did think the specifics of the monster aspect was rather tacked on and didn’t enjoy the ending. But the main character made the right choice.
The first sentence: “My mother took the Pill before anybody even knew about it.”
Thoughts: I don’t tend to like this author’s work. This story had a fantastic opening paragraph. It also made me uncomfortable and I am not quite sure what it was meaning to say other than people want to be happy in their own bodies. I didn’t like it.
First sentence: “In his last years, Marco’s older brother Denny had become one of those people whose possessions swallowed them entirely.”
Thoughts: Creepy, engaging, and excellent. A story about the antithesis of Mr. Rogers. Sort of. This was by far that best story. Best for last. I loved the ending. It kinda made my skin crawl.
Now listen up me hearties, the decision has been made:
Hoped for Winner: the Sarah Pinsker story (obviously)
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. In the meantime:
Q: What is a pirates favorite movie?
A: Booty and the Beast (but it be Arrrr! rated)
Hardy har har!
x The Captain