Shiver me Timbers! The 2022 Hugo Finalists – Part Two – Novellas

Ahoy there me mateys!  A little while back, I wrote a post discussing me initial thoughts on the 2022 Hugo awards.  At that time, I had read three of the six novellas.  I have since finished two more and will not be reading the last.  So here be me thoughts about the novellas and me pick for the 2022 winner.

The novellas are from the list as published on Tor.com.  Click on the story title to read me prior full reviews of the novellas.

Best Novella

“If your friends would stop wanting you around because you’re not exactly like them, they’re not very good friends”

Thoughts:  This is the sixth installment of the series.  It deals with ponies which were me first love before the sea stole me heart.  The novella was very enjoyable but I felt at the end that something was missing.  It needed to be longer or fleshed out more.  As part of the series, it works well. I don’t think it should be a contender for best novella though.

  • Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tordotcom)

“Because myths miss out all the sordid realities and preserve only “What we wish we’d done,” rather than “How we actually did it.”

Thoughts:  The writing and story in this was absolutely wonderful.  This takes place on a planet settled by humans long ago where science is seen as magic.  An anthropologist studying the world interferes where he shouldn’t.  This is a thoughtful read dealing with issues like history vs myth, depression, Clarke’s Third Law, the perils of translation, genetic modification, cultural superiority, etc.  There is one particularly fascinating chapter of two columns showcasing the same story.  One is the tale being told and one is the translation being heard.  So very awesome and fun.  The only real gripes I had with this is that I wanted more of Esha and that the ending didn’t work for me and didn’t quite make sense in terms of how the conflict was so easily solved.  Also be aware that the structure of the writing may make it hard for some readers to connect to the characters.  Not a problem for me but the ideas take center stage.

“The lie wasn’t meant to be believed. It was just social grease, intended to keep wheels turning.”

Thoughts: I loved the concepts and characters in this one but felt that the novella length was actually its greatest flaw.  Too much happens off the page or wasn’t explained satisfactorily.  It is short at 103 pages.  I wanted more.

  • The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)

“The nicest room you’ve ever lived in doesn’t have to be clean and white or full of translucent fresh monkfish slices with pea shoots delicately balanced on top. It can just be the place you were happiest and safest from the wind.”

Thoughts:  Me crew loved this one.  I think the concept and characters sound interesting but this author’s writing is never to me taste.  I hadn’t been planning on reading this but did check the local library for a copy.  They don’t have it and I am not spending me loot for a novella I am not likely to a) enjoy or b) read again. Also while looking for a quote, I am reminded of why I don’t like the author’s writing style.

“I wish I could understand experiences I’m incapable of having.”

Thoughts: Tea monks.  Robots.  Loveliness.  I am a Becky Chambers fan as all of her books work for me.  This was no exception.  It is thoughtful and heart warming and hopeful.  This is the first of a series.  I want the next installment.  Arrrr!

  • A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom)

“I’m at least three-fourths straight, but her lashes are very long, and very golden, and I’m not made of stone.”

Thoughts:  This was a very interesting modern fairy tale.  I really did enjoy the friendship between the main character Zinnia and her best friend Charm.  I enjoyed the exploration of the fairy tale tropes and the twists.  I like the LGBTQ+ rep.  But a lot of this book didn’t work for me.  Zinnia did not have much of a personality beyond being a dying-girl.  Cell phone work across the multiverses.  Too much dropping of pop culture references.  The book is clever.  I can see that it might be the perfect kind of fairy tale for the younger adult audience.  But I was left feeling unsatisfied and sort of bemused for the wrong reasons.  Though some of this could be that apparently this is the first book in a series.  Or that I never seem to fully connect with Harrow’s work.

Now listen up me hearties, the decision has been made:

Hoped for Winner:  A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers.  I can’t help it.  This novella made me so happy and I loved it.  That said if the Tchaikovsky wins that would work too.  I don’t think any of the others should win though.

So there ye have it.  Me Hugo thoughts and wishes for novellas.  I will keep y’all posted as I continue readin’ through the nominees before the winners be  revealed.  In the meantime:

Always remember:

Q: What do ye call a pirate that skips class?

A: Captain Hooky!

Hardy har har!

x The Captain

3 thoughts on “Shiver me Timbers! The 2022 Hugo Finalists – Part Two – Novellas

  1. I agree, I do hope that Psalm wins! It was my favorite of the lot. That said, I do always like the Wayward Children books, so I would also be thrilled if that one wins. (Even though I also think it works better as part of the series instead of as a standalone story.)

    I don’t blame you on the decision about Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve not read much of her work, but I read “The Sin of America” (up for Best Short Story for a Hugo this year) and greatly disliked it. I also DNFed her novel Space Opera because I couldn’t get into it. I keep wanting to like her work (several more pieces are on the TBR) but I really think it might be a case of an author’s work not being for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved both of the two that made your potential winners prediction — but of the two, I lean toward Elder Race, which really captured my imagination. I haven’t read all of the others, but mainly because I also haven’t particularly liked Valente’s writing style when I’ve tried her before, and I just haven’t gotten to Fireheart Tiger yet. Overall, a great list!

    Liked by 1 person

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