RogerBW's Blog

Hugo 2017: Short Story 05 July 2017

These are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated short stories. If you're planning to vote, you may wish not to read these notes until you have done so.

The City Born Great, by N. K. Jemisin: urban shamanism from the viewpoint of a young black hustler bringing the city-spirit to a fuller life. A longer version would be too long; this is just about perfect.

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers, by Alyssa Wong: lovely ideas about rewinding the world in a futile attempt to change it, but no beginning or ending.

Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, by Brooke Bolander: ultra-short murder and revenge story, with no room to unfold much of anything, but it works.

Seasons of Glass and Iron, by Amal El-Mohtar: two fairy-tales meet, the iron shoes and the glass mountain, and the result is a splendid synergy.

That Game We Played During the War, by Carrie Vaughn: telepathic humans have been fighting non-telepathic humans, and two of them built a bridge over a game of chess. Quiet and subtle and socks you in the heart when you're not looking.

An Unimaginable Light, by John C. Wright: tedious infodumpy political ranting with a surprise ending that might have been unexpected a century ago.

This is a really good batch; I felt the Wong wasn't really Hugo-grade, but that leaves four solid entries and I'd be happy if any of them won. (I suspect Jemisin will get it by virtue of being the best-known name, but we'll see.)

Voting order:

  1. That Game We Played During the War, by Carrie Vaughn
  2. The City Born Great, by N. K. Jemisin
  3. Seasons of Glass and Iron, by Amal El-Mohtar
  4. Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, by Brooke Bolander

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