I am comically last-minute sorting out my Hugo ballot, and despite having three days left I still aspire to read an impractical amount of stuff before the deadline (and that assumes I don’t get sucked straight into Mass Effect 3 this weekend). A few scattered thoughts:
- Embassytown, China Mieville
- By Light Alone, Adam Roberts
- God’s War, Kameron Hurley
… and two others. One of them will probably be The Magician King, in spite of my disagreements with the ending. The other might be David Anthony Durham’s The Sacred Band, but I have to read it first; I’m probably missing something obvious, but I can’t think what it is. Notable 2011 books I haven’t read include Zoo City, Mechanique, The Islanders, and The Testament of Jessie Lamb, and that’s just counting the ones I own. Fail.
I read most of my short fiction online, which means I’ve read very few novellas as online fiction tends to the short and sweet. I can’t work out if Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s Utopia is a novella or not, but I don’t think it would make my novel ballot cut and my novella ballot is mostly empyu, so it will go in novella. In novelette and short story, I’ve read a reasonable amount this year, but nothing in particular has really stood out, except for one story which will definitely make my novelette ballot: “Not the End of the World” by Sophia McDougall, from Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke. I haven’t read a lot of terrible stories this year, but I’ve read a lot where I thought they were pretty good but failed for one reason or another, and a few where I couldn’t say there was anything exactly wrong with them, they just didn’t work for me. “Not the End of the World” just clicks everything into place: pacing, characters, slowly unfolding plot and revelations, it all worked.
Other stories which will probably end up on my ballot:
- “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu from Clarkesworld
- “Semiramis” by Genevieve Valentine from Clarkesworld
- “Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders at tor.com
- “Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky in Eclipse Four
- “Tidal Forces” by Caitlin Kiernan in Eclipse Four
- “Widows in the World” by Gavin Grant from Strange Horizons
And some other stories, depending on how much I get through of my timely purchase of The Year’s Best SF&F.
Dramatic Presentations Short and Long
Do you remember when The Guardian decided The Wire was the best thing ever, and wouldn’t shut up about how great it was in completely unrelated posts until you were sick of it? That is me and Community right now. Nominate “Remedial Chaos Theory” for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, because let’s face it, nothing can stop the juggernaut that is Doctor Who and Neil Gaiman combined, so we may as well get something fun on the ballot. I’ll wear a black goatee!
As for BDP:Long Form, I plan to nominate Portal 2, because it is brilliant and provided me with more entertainment than almsot anything else from last year. Let’s go to space!
Best Fan Writer
Let’s nominate Abigail Nussbaum. Here is a selection of her excellent writing from the past year: book reviews from Terry Pratchett’s Snuff to the work of Gwyneth Jones and a fascinating review of MJ Engh’s Arslan (and be sure to read the comments on that one), and equally brilliant writing on SF&F TV and film. Whether I agree or disagree with her opinions, it’s never less than interesting to read them.
In summary: “Not the End of the World”, “Remedial Chaos Theory”, Portal 2, Abigail Nussbaum.