Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hugos 2015 Reads -- Novellas

This will be a short one -- I was polishing my final draft before my vacation when the window went blank and Google "helpfully" auto-saved... with no recourse. So, just a sentence each for Novellas, in the order listed on the Hugos website:

Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman - 2.5 of 5 military SF about a sentient tank looking back on its training and career. I thought the idea of simulated battles to train/indoctrinate an AI was pretty cool, but it just didn't do it for me. Military SF has to be pretty great to float my boat.
Flow, Arlan Andrews, Sr. - 2.5 of 5 Sci-Fi/Fantasy of a future Earth (maybe?) where humans have split into pretty different phenotypes. This is a pretty basic newbie-to-a-culture story, with a few cool ideas (a group of farsighted people use carvings instead of writing to overcome their eyesight), but it seemed like an excerpt more than a full story.

One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright - 0.5 of 5 A Narnia homage, this one is overfilled with references to past events in unknown places in a fantasy world and nods to various CS Lewis writings. The ending is just bizarre. Bold choice to make all the best action offscreen... and then blithely describe it in dialogue.
Pale Realms of Shade, John C. Wright - 1 of 5 At first, it's a film noir crossed with urban fantasy. And then it takes a turn to be... message fiction. Which is hated by the Rabid Puppies -- unless they're publishing/nominating it, apparently.
The Plural of Helen of Troy, John C. Wright - 2 of 5 Some great ideas on time travel bogged down in flat characters and more messaging. Also some very odd mixing of fictional and "real" characters. Easily my favorite of any of Wright's works among the nominees, though.

I was hoping I wouldn't vote NO AWARD in a category, but here I just didn't feel any of the stories were Hugo-worthy (I currently vacillate between 3 & 3.5 of 5 as "Hugo-worthy").
Final Ballot:
Big Boys Don’t Cry
The Plural of Helen of Troy
Pale Realms of Shade
One Bright Star to Guide Them

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