Tag Archive: Hugo Finalist

Jun 21 2017

This Census-Taker by China Miéville

This Census-Taker, by China Miéville, did not add up for me. If it were not a Hugo finalist, if I had not read and liked close to half a dozen of his other works, I would have pronounced the Eight Deadly Words and set the book aside. Miéville is aiming for the mythic, but mythic …

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Jun 04 2017

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold

Reading as a Hugo voter is a funny thing. I’ve been aware of the Hugo awards for more than 30 years now, some of the winners have been among the best things that I’ve read, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the process for the first time this year. I’m getting to play …

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May 25 2017

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

“As if Cordwainer Smith had written a Warhammer novel.” That blurb sold me on Ninefox Gambit. Even so, I almost bounced off of it in the first chapter. In terms of the blurb, too much Warhammer; in terms of my taste in reading, it felt too much like simple-minded war-glorifying fiction. Boom, boom! Pew! Pew! …

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May 22 2017

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

The two main characters of A Closed and Common Orbit are learning what it is to be human. That’s not quire correct in one case; maybe it would be more correct to say that each is learning what it is like to be a person, with a fairly wide definition of what “person” means. They …

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May 20 2017

“The Tomato Thief” by Ursula Vernon

“The Tomato Thief” by Urusla Vernon will have my first-place vote for this year’s Hugo award in the category of best novelette. It is a sideways return to the world of “Jackalope Wives,” which won the Nebula in 2014 for best short story, and is the only other story of hers that I have read. …

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May 10 2017

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is a very bleak book. It is riveting, engrossing, engaging, compelling, thought-provoking, and more, but it is also very, very bleak. When I was finished, I picked up a slim Soviet-German comedy (not an oxymoron!) by way of lightening the mood. The Fifth Season begins with a mother still tending the body …

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May 08 2017

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

One of the things I particularly liked about All the Birds in the Sky is how Charlie Jane Anders chose to break up the story. It’s a two-sided, save-the-world story, and all of the basics are there: interesting leads, good counterparts, quick pacing, fun dialog, and so forth. She’s strong enough on the essentials even …

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May 07 2017

“The City Born Great” by N.K. Jemisin

“The City Born Great” by N.K. Jemisin should win this year’s Hugo for short story. The conceit of the story is that great human cities have a life of their own. Maybe that life awakens quickly, maybe it takes centuries or millennia, but at some point the genius loci becomes a thing in itself. Birth …

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Apr 26 2017

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

“And I must of course acknowledge Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. I first read it at ten, thrilled and terrified, and uncomfortable with the racism but not yet aware that the total absence of women was also problematic. This story is my adult self returning to a thing I loved as a child and …

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