Hugo 2016 Reading – September

I left WorldCon 2015 with a determination to read more fiction, especially short fiction. I did this for two reasons: 1, I need to study what is getting published if I want to publish professionally. 2, the best way to combat politicizing of the Hugos via slates is for more people to get involved in the nominating process.

So, I set a goal to read at least one Hugo eligible piece a week. Here is what I’ve read so far. From now on, I’ll try to do monthly summaries so this list doesn’t get as long. If you’ve read any of these stories, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Bone War by Elizabeth Bear

Short story published by Fantasy and Science Fiction

I really liked the idea of this story – making a clockwork dinosaur. The bickering between scholars about it was fun too.

Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson

Novella published by Dragonsteel Entertainment

I liked how the gods all reacted to the medievalist. However, I didn’t like this one as much as I like other stories by Sanderson.

Midnight Hour by Mary Robinette Kowal

Short story published by Uncanny Magazine

This is my favorite story so far. The King’s Fool reminded me of someone having a manic episode, so it really hit me emotionally the stress and dedication behind helping the king still rule.

The Ninth Seduction by Sean McMullen

Short story published by Lightspeed

I liked the idea of goblins learning gun-smithing from intruders to Faerie. I should have guessed that actual seductions would turn me off though.

Poet Scholars of the Necropolis by M. K. Hutchins

Short story published by Podcastle

The message of this one was good – about bad poems still finding appreciation. Yet, I found the ending frustrating.

Please Undo This Hurt by Seth Dickinson

Short story published by Tor.com

This story was only subtly speculative, not my type. I did appreciate the depiction of depression in burn out though.

The Six Swans by Mallory Ortberg

Short story published by The Toast

The retelling of a fairy tale was well done. I especially like how Ortberg pointed out the ridiculousness of men not asking maidens for consent when they carry them off. Yet, the old sparse style didn’t draw me in.

Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud by Fran Wilde

Short story published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies

This story was another favorite. I loved the world created and how Calli had to overcome her fear of flying.

Ginga by Daniel José Older

Novelette published by Tor.com

I wanted to like this one. The idea of a ghost serial killer is cool, and I liked seeing POC characters. However, the swearing threw me out. I also felt like I was missing something at the end, like if I had read the series this world came from, I would have understood it more.

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Novel published by Tor Books

Loved the use of shapeshifters, and the action scenes were fun. Ending was a real emotional gut punch. Looking forward to the finishing of the trilogy in January.

Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

Short story published by Apex Magazine

A slower story with beautiful language. I didn’t connect with it as much as other people have.


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