From Scott Dorsey@21:1/5 to All on Sun Jul 17 16:47:02 2022
The following are all personal opinions but they are my opinions so I am
pretty pleased about them:
Becky Chambers, The Galaxy And the Ground Within
Three ships are delayed at a rest station for a few days and they pass
the time telling about themselves. This is a great story with great
characters even if the basic theme was done before by Chaucer. You can
see the ending coming but that's okay. This is part of a series that has already deservedly won a Hugo and I am not sure I'd give it two even as
much as I liked this.
Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary
This is a hard science story that Clarke or Asimov could have written, although they wouldn't have written it with the narrative flow that Weir
did, and their characters might not have been quite as flawed. The ending surprised me. I liked this book, it was very reminiscent of pre-New Wave SF, and I'd read it again although I am not sure it's worth a Hugo.
Arkady Martine, A Desolation Called Peace
This is a sequel to _A Memory Called Empire_, which got a well-deserved Hugo. This continues on with a traditional space opera, but one that has
been updated with more detailed characters and emphasis on politics more than war. Also it has a couple lesbian sex scenes to piss off the Puppies. I enjoyed this a whole lot, although I didn't like it as much as its predicessor and the series already has one Hugo so I'm putting this lower on the list just to give others the opportunity.
P. Djeli Clark, A Master of Djinn
Imagine the Edwardian Cairo of Naguib Mafouz in an alternate universe
where djinns have been set loose to live among mortals. A mysterious
event at an Englishman's occult club kills all the club members and
releases a person bent on doing evil in the city who must be tracked down
by a team of female detectives from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments,
and Supernatural Entities. This is a well-written fantasy novel with an interesting and well-researched background and while I really enjoyed it,
I don't think it's up in the Hugo level.
Shelley Parker-Chan, She Who Became the Sun
A young girl's family is killed and she takes her brother's name and
destiny and goes off to become emperor. This is.... a historical romance
of sorts, with some supernatural stuff in it, but I'm really even reluctant
to call this speculative fiction. I enjoyed the story as a historical
romance but I really think this is off-topic for a Hugo.
Rita Aoki, Light from Uncommon Stars
A transgender violin-playing runaway, a violin teacher who has sold her student's souls to hell, a doughnut shop run by alien refugees fleeing the destruction of the universe, and a lot of great food, together in what ought
to be zany science fiction in the mold of Rudy Rucker, Ron Goulart of Jay Kantor. But it never really gels, and all the great ingredients go together
to make something that just doesn't work for me. This is really the only one of the nominees this year that I didn't enjoy, I am sad to say.
Adrian Tchaikovsky, Elder Race
This is absolutely my favorite kind of story, the sort where one character thinks they are in a sword and sorcery fantasy world and another character thinks they are in a hard science world. Is it as good as City and the Stars? No, but few things are. It's handled well, it has great characters and a
great story and the ending was expected but wonderful. This story absolutely should get a Hugo.
Becky Chamber, A Psalm for the Wild Built
In a distant future on another planet, robots have become sentient and sequestered themselves from civilization. Years later, a robot and a monk
meet together and help one another figure life out. Some people may find
this sappy but I found it optimistic and amusing. I could see this getting
Catherynne M. Valente, The Past is Red
This is a followon to The Future is Blue; it is a crazy and funny look
into a postapocalyptic world where the only people left live on a floating
pile of garbage. It didn't change my life, but I enjoyed it and it took
me from one surprise to the next. I could see this getting a Hugo.
Annette de Bodard, Fireheart Tiger
This takes place in an alternate southeast asia, where China is putting pressure on Vietnam. Lesbian seductions of princesses by queens, a fire elemental that is learning to control herself, and a background perhaps
around that of the Tang dynasty of this universe makes for an interesting combination out on the edges of what speculative fiction is. I enjoyed
reading this, and it was beautifully written, but it did not strike me.
Many may want to vote for this to annoy the Chengdu crowd as China is clearly the bad guy in this story.
Alix E. Harrow, A Spindle Splintered
A retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story by a person who travels between
the real and fantasy worlds. Complete with a lesbian Sleeping Beauty. I read the synopsis and really wanted to love the story; the premise is so amazing and wonderful. But I didn't really like it. It could have been so much more.
Caroline M. Yoachim, Colors of the Immortal Palette
It's not easy being immortal in a changing world, or being an artist in
a world that isn't always beautiful. This story needs a Hugo.
Fran Wylde, Unseelie Brothers
A magic dress designer appears out of nowhere every few years to make enchanted ball gowns. A light piece that I could see deserving a Hugo.
John Wiswell, This Story Isn't the Story
It's a story of an abusive relationship or maybe a cult but the abuser is supernatural. I liked this story.
Catherynne Valente, L'Esprit de L'Escalier
A followon to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. It's hard being dead. Some things are even harder, though. Ingenious and amusing. Very tightly written with not a single superfluous word.
Suzanne Palmer, Bots of the Lost Ark
This is a story about robots gone out of control on a damaged spacecraft. It's pleasant and well-told; it could have been an Asimov story were it not
for the Three Laws. Bot 9 is a robot with character that the reader can identify with. I liked this story and I would read more from this author
but as much as that is the case I don't think this is Hugo material.
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, O2 Arena
Afrofuturist story in an interesting dystopian world. Good background, interesting characters, but too much explanation and not enough demonstration. This is not Hugo material but the author is headed in the right direction toward it.
Catherynne M. Valente, The Sin of America
Christopher Salazar accepted the sin of America and took it with him.
But it's not enough. It's Ruby-Rose Martineau's turn next up. And then?
I'm not sure this is a short story. Maybe it's a poem. I'm not sure it is speculative fiction either. But I'll give it a pass on both of those counts because I liked it a lot and I think it deserves a Hugo. Please read this aloud.
Jose Pablo Iriarte, Proof by Induction
A story about a family and a vastened father. I liked this. I think it could get a Hugo.
Alix E. Harrow, Mr. Death
A different look at the Grim Reaper. The ending is predictable, but still very good. It's short. I enjoyed it. Was it Hugo-worthy?
Seanan McGuire, Tangles
The author builds up interesting characters and an interesting background world, but then what happens isn't really all that interesting. As much as
I am a fan of the author, I can't say I liked this story.
Blue Neusifter, Unknown Number
Another take on the alternate universe theme, and what if my life had been different. It's an important take and a topical one, but the theme as a sequence of text messages seems offputting to me.
Sarah Pinsker, Where Oaken Hearts do Gather
A long-missing song is explained and as the explanation unfolds it becomes more and more fantasy. The footnotes have footnotes and the explanation is many footnotes deep. Again, the format seems to take away from the story rather than adding to it in my mind.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."