Working my way up from short stories to novels, because obviously short stories are so much less of a time commitment.
That matters because I’m starting to work on my own stuff again now. I’m writing a short story/novella short story set in the Black Dog world, and in fact set after the second book. That’s to get in the mood, plus I had the whole plot in my head (very unusual for me). My goal is to pick up the second book on Monday and basically have a rough draft finished by the end of August. That should be very doable, since it’s roughly 75 days. If I write 4 pp per day (roughly 1300 words), that will be 300 pages, and since I have 100 pages sitting there already, that should get me there. Unless I overwrite by 100 pages, which has happened to me TWICE and is very annoying.
I’m pretty sure I know the whole rough plot for Book 2. I sure hope I do, because if certain events do not occur, then the short story I’m working on now is going to find itself orphaned for lack of continuity, which would be unfortunate.
I’m putting “Mono no Aware” first, “Immersion” second — I genuinely liked both of these; I was particularly impressed by how Liu’s story strove to evoke a particular emotion or attitude that doesn’t really translate to English. I think it succeeded pretty well. It’s fundamentally a tragic story, of course, but actually the mono no aware attitude makes that more bearable.
Then I’m voting for No Award before “Mantis Wives,” which as you may recall, I loathed when I first read it. Still loathe it. Plus, hello, it’s NOT A STORY. It’s a series of images, which is not the same thing.
I actually disliked “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” by Heuvelt so much I didn’t finish it. I hated the protagonist and that stopped me from caring about what was going to happen, and I just quit.
I am not very familiar with Seanan McGuire’s paranormal Toby Daye series; I read the first couple but didn’t really like them; that may be why I didn’t really get into her “Rat-Catcher“, which I also didn’t actually finish, though I didn’t hate it like the Heuvelt one.
I did finish “In Salt-Sea Tears” and I . . . sort of liked it, in a way. I could see the “twist” coming a mile away and I thought the relationship which that plot-twist depended on was kind of forced. And actually I didn’t believe in some aspects of Selkie society, and in fact the more I think about the story, the more trouble I have with this aspect. I don’t want to go into details that would spoil the story, but that’s how it was for me.
I enjoyed “Fade To White” by Valente. I thought it was an extremely clever and artistic story, but the way every possible sub-plot worked out in the most depressing way possible is basically designed to make me unhappy.
For me the pick of the lot is definitely “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Cadigan, which was funny, clever, entertaining, SF rather than fantasy (which I think is a plus for the Hugo, though it’s not a dealbreaker for me), and at least moderately upbeat. Sorry, don’t see a link for it, but it’s definitely worth reading.
So for me, the novelette lineup is: “The Girl-Thing”, “Fade to White”, “In Salt Sea Tears”, and No Award.
On to the novellas! I have two more to read before I can vote on those. Also two more novels to read — a bit awkward when I need to be working on Black Dog Book 2, but I’ll manage. Too bad I didn’t have them on my Kindle when I was in Costa Rica, but on the other hand I can hardly regret reading all those books by Andrea Host. I think I may buy The Touchstone trilogy in paper so I can lend them.