julesjones: (Default)
I'm working my way through my treeware notebook, and have found some notes from my Hugo reading stint which it appears I never posted at the time. Here, have some belated Hugo thoughts. :-)

Naomi Kritzer -- Cat pictures please

Gentle, funny short about what happens when a search engine wakes up and wants to be helpful. It has more sense than to expose its existence, so it tries to do good deeds by stealth. I was smiling on every page. Lovely if slightly creepy little story about the potential benefits of AI.

Available free at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_01_15/

Brooke Bolander -- And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead

Take one part pulp, one part cyberpunk, add a shot of very cheap bourbon, and shake well. Watch the resulting foul mouthed guttersnipe of a synthetic person take on a security AI at its own game; or maybe the reverse. Bolander sketches in some fascinating world building with a few brief sentences, but the focus is on the rescue mission Rhye’s been press-ganged into. It’s a fast moving tale with a satisfying conclusion, and deserves a spot on the Hugo ballot.

Available free at http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/

Chuck Tingle -- Space Raptor Butt Invasion

Okay. There’s back story on what this is doing on the Hugo ballot. It is not your typical nominee. Onwards…

Our hero is one of two men (definitely men) manning a remote observation station somewhere on a remote planet. The story opens as his teammate leaves at the end of his assignment, with no replacement arriving. Budget cuts mean the station will be solo manned from now on, and our hero will be the only living thing on the planet. So what is that mysterious space suited figure he thinks he’s seen?

So far, it’s a pitch perfect pastiche of Golden Age pulp. I have read the stories. I could make a guess at what happens next.

What happens next is that it segues into a pastiche of pulp gay porn, only with two guys stuck with solo duty on their respective nation’s planetary observation base. One of whom is a dinosaur...

Dr Tingle had far too much fun ramming every possible porn cliché into his tight virgin word processor. This is really not my taste in porn, not least because it pastiches bad pulp punctuation, but it’s very funny. My verdict as a Hugo voter is that this story gets No Awarded, but I am nominating the good Doctor’s performance art in response to its nomination for next year’s Best Related Work category.
Amazon UK
Amazon US
julesjones: (Default)
As pointed out by Charlie Stross, his UK publisher has reduced the ebook of his Hugo-nominated novel to £1.99 for this month. I wandered off to check Orbit's other two nominees in the Hugo novel category, and they too are reduced to £1.99. Or at least they are on Kobo and Amazon; Waterstones doesn't seem to have got the message yet. Note that these prices are available in the UK only.

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/neptune-s-brood-1
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/ancillary-justice
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/parasite-3


Neptune's Brood
Ancillary Justice
Parasite (Parasitology)


Yes, I have bought all three. They are DRMed, but that is the price point at which I'm willing to treat a book as disposable. (As in, if I saw the print version in The Works I'd be willing to buy it with the intention of recycling to Oxfam after reading to make space.)
julesjones: (Default)
As previously noted, the book log is woefully out of date. However, I want to try and write up this year's Hugo Voting Packet while it is still of some use to other people (and indeed me, for purposes of doing my ballot), so I'm skipping straight to this month instead of trying to keep it in order. Here are the three short story nominations I've read so far (if it wasn't in epub, it didn't go on the Kobo):

35) “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

Hugo short story finalist. The water of the title falls on anyone who lies -- the less truthful what is said, the harder and colder the water falls. It's possible to avoid the water by being careful with your phrasing, but that just makes it obvious that you're being economical with the truth. What does it do to relationships, for both good and ill, when it becomes impossible to lie convincingly? Beautifully written character-driven short.

http://www.tor.com/stories/2013/02/the-water-that-falls-on-you-from-nowhere
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-water-that-falls-on-you-from-nowhere
Amazon uk
Amazon US

(DRM-free)

36) “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)

Hugo short story finalist. Wishes for the year are sent floating down a Thai river, and it's one village's duty and privilege to gather the wishes up and grant them, in exchange for the money and gifts attached to the wishes. It's a situation that's ripe for exploitation, but all the lives around the river are connected, and wishes can be granted in surprising ways. It's a fun concept and there's some nice writing in it, but the story didn't quite gel for me.

http://www.tor.com/stories/2013/04/the-ink-readers-of-doi-saket

(DRM-free)

37) “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)

Hugo short story finalist. First person narrative by a young woman who has good reason to believe that selkie stories are for losers. It's difficult to say much about it without spoilers. I liked it but thought it took time to get going.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2013/20130107/selkie-f.shtml
julesjones: (Default)
I read four of the novellas on the 2013 Hugo ballot. Two of them in particular I think are worth explicitly recommending: Aliette de Bodard''s "On a Red Station, Drifting", and Brandon Sanderson's "The Emperor's Soul".

Read more... )
julesjones: (Default)
Back to the ever more neglected book log. I'm going to do July 2013 in several parts, because there are a lot of titles, some of which I did or can say something sensible about, and some of which I left too late.

July was Hugo Voting Packet month. I chugged my way through an awful lot of words that were up for a Hugo, and logged the short stories at the time.

Read more... )
julesjones: (Default)
I have done my Hugo voting this year, and done more of it than ever before, thanks to having actually read some of the nominees this year in time to do so. All hail the Hugo Voting Packet, which for the $60 I paid for supporting membership has provided me with several hundred thousand words worth of reading material over the last month, enough to make a sensible decision on at least some categories. Also, I have voted for "best dramatic presentation short form", otherwise known as the "best Dr Who episode written by Steven Moffatt" category.

I still have a number of items from the packet to read, but alas will not be able to do so in time to vote in those categories. Nevertheless, I am most grateful to John Scalzi for getting the idea going a few years ago. I think I'll more than get my sixty dollars' worth out of it this year.
julesjones: (Default)
Only 3 entries in the Hugo short story category this year, because of the 5% rule. I think this is actually a good thing, because it's a reflection of there being so much good stuff to choose from that it was difficult for any one story to muster the minimum 5% of nominations.


Ken Liu -- Mono no Aware

A young Japanese man is sitting in the control room of a generation ship, minding the solar sail. As the story cuts between his present and his memories, the story gradually reveals how and why he came to be there, and why the choice he makes at the end of the story matters so very much. Beautifully written study of loss and survival, and made me want to read the rest of the anthology it appeared in.


Aliette de Bodard -- Immersion

A lot of things are stuffed into this short story. Imperialism, whether economic, cultural, or in the recent past nakedly military. Class and money. Identity, and how it ties into the imperialism. The use and abuse of technology. Common themes, but handled deftly, and with a genuine sf slant to them. There's some superb world-building done in a short story word count, and characters whose fate I care about. This one's my pick for the Hugo, although it was a hard choice between this and Ken Lui's story.


Kij Johnson -- Mantis Wives

Take praying mantises, give them human intelligence and emotions so that we can identify with them -- and leave them their insect behaviour patterns, described in beautiful language that heightens rather than hides the horror of what's going on.

I can see why this made the Hugo ballot. But it really doesn't work for me. Not voting for this one.
julesjones: (Default)
Yes, I'm slow posting this. It's been a long week at work. Anyway, Scalzi posted a few days ago to say that more stuff has been added to the Hugo voting packet, so you now have even more incentive to buy a supporting membership for Worldcon should you not have already done so.

Profile

julesjones: (Default)
julesjones

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
910111213 1415
16171819202122
2324 2526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags