Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Hugo voting: short story

So, there are three real entries for short stories this year, and two joke or troll entries. Here they all are, in order:

1. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015). An extremely easy choice for #1; after all, I nominated it. I was really annoyed when Vox Day’s crowd knocked it off the ballot and very pleased to see it appear when a different entry was withdrawn. What a fun story: light, easy to read, with plenty of charm. I picked up one of Kritzer’s novels on the basis of this story and that food blogger story of hers.

2. “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015) (!). How about that, a short story in Nature. This is a very short story in epistolary form — really in the form of reports from a starfish on the ground, as it were, to its commander, during an invasion of Earth. Not a story that strikes me as the kind to turn heads, but clever.

3. “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House). A story where China moves preemptively to wipe out the populations of sub-Saharan Africa so they can take over the continent. As a story about war, it was okay, though I personally could not get interested in it. As an SF story, well, it wasn’t really SF. You could work this plot into a political thriller set in 2016 and it would be basically as plausible as any other thriller plot — more plausible than a couple of Tom Clancy’s I can think of.

4. No Award

5. “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015). Sigh. This seems to be a joke that won’t die. I’m pretty tired of riffs on “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” and definitely out of patience for a parody entry in the growing subsubsubgenre of the Scalzi/Vox Day feud.

And a very, very distant 6. “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services). An even less funny joke. A trivial bit of gay erotica that displays a truly shameful failure to grasp the most basic punctuation rules for dialogue.

This is by far the weakest fiction category for the Hugo this year, imo. The first three stories certainly don’t deserve to be dragged down by the bottom two. It makes me glad I can nominate for the World Fantasy Award this year. Whatever makes the short list there, it’ll certainly be a better list overall than this.

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5 Comments Hugo voting: short story

  1. Linda S

    I really wanted to like SRBI, since I’ve very much enjoyed watching “Dr. Tingle” counter-troll VD. Sadly, considered as an SF story, SRBI was truly dire, not to mention crying out for a decent copy editor. Considered as erotica…well, let’s just say that I’m clearly not the target audience.

  2. Rachel

    Oh, yeah, I have been more or less aware of Tingle trolling Vox Day. Whatever entertainment potential that affords, though, no excuse at all for such poor punctuation. He didn’t really need a copy editor — he just needs to open up any novel ever (traditionally) published and look at how dialogue is punctuated.

  3. Juan Sanmiguel

    I loved “Cat Pictures Please”. Clarkesworld did a podcast on it.

    I just read “Seven Tiger Kills”. I did not think the science was possible given what they were trying to do.

  4. Rachel

    Yeah, I don’t know about the plausibility of the science, but I thought it was probably plausible enough give the dramatic necessity of the story. If you were writing that as a thriller at novel length, I bet you could wave your hands and get the science to sound passable.

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