Hugo 2017 Reading – May

My May has been pretty quiet. My kids get out of school next month, so then it will be chaos as I try to find time to write. Even my listening time during dishes is sure to be interrupted, either to referee arguments or to help with video games. Well, I’ll keep pressing on. Here’s what I read/listened to in May.


(5 stars) “Images Across a Shattered Sea” by Stewart C. Baker
a short story published in Writers of the Future volume 32

This story started off a bit whimsical, then got really interesting as the present and future interacted with each other. Very fun.


Big Thrull and the Askin’ Man” by Max Gladstone
a short story published by Uncanny

I enjoy a clever comeuppance against antagonists, and this had that. It was told in a folksy way, which worked for the story, but isn’t quite to my taste.


(5 stars) “The Long Fall Up” by William Ledbetter
a novelette published by Fantasy & Science Fiction

I was captured from the beginning by the conflict over a pregnancy and birth in zero-g. I enjoyed Jager’s transformation of character, and how he and his AI had to be clever to outmaneuver the restrictions placed on them by their company.


Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass” by Jeremiah Tolbert
a short story published by Lightspeed

The idea was intriguing – that everybody had a parallel world where all their fantasies came true, so people kept disappearing from Earth. It just felt a bit slow to me, and Catherine’s life was too boring to interest me.


The Savannah Liars Tour” by Will McIntosh
a short story published by Lightspeed

I liked the premise of the story – going under in order to visit souls in the afterlife, and the conflict that played between Ben’s living wife and his dead one. I found the beginning confusing though, and wanted to tell him to just be honest with his dead wife already.


The Jack of Souls” by Stephen Merlino
a short story published in Writers of the Future volume 32

Poker for slaves’ lives, trying to escape a death curse, a fun read of some common tropes.


The Broad Sky Was Mine and the Road” by Ryan Row
a short story published in Writers of the Future volume 32

I really liked the fire zombies in this story. It felt like there was too much going on for me to understand the character though. Nor did I feel satisfied at the end – there wasn’t enough closure.


Tumbleweeds and Little Girls” by Jeff Bowles
a short story published by Podcastle

This story was really cute. Bit absurd for my tastes, but I liked the determination the girls had to go to war against the prairie queen.


(5 stars) “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” by P. Djeli Clark
a novelette published by Tor.com

This was a rich story, set in a steampunk Egypt. The mystery Fatma has to solve was intriguing. All in all, a great read.


Into the Wreck” by June Oldfather
a short story published by Strange Horizons

This story had rich description of an underwater wreck of an alien spacecraft, and how the scientists cope when they become stranded there. It was more of a character story, when I like plot more, so I found it a bit slow.


Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” by Seanan McGuire
a short story published by Uncanny

I like the twist behind this First Contact story, and the theme that everything has consequences. It did take awhile for me to get into it though.


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