Hugo 2018 Reading – February

And we’re in the final days before nominations close. My health hasn’t been the greatest though, so I haven’t been pushing it as much with reading or writing. Hence why this post is late. I’ve been getting through some good stories though.

(5 stars) “The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant” by Rachael K. Jones
a short story published by Lightspeed

This story was hilarious, as cyborg try to figure out how to cook food for humans in order to escape detection. Yet it also is a cautionary tale about taking the pursuit of fame too far. The theme, and its slow encroaching horror, was well executed.

(5 stars) “Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe” by Naomi Kritzer
a short story published by Clarkesworld

This story broke my heart. One would think that when the apocalypse comes, that you would want to be with people that matter most – your family. But this story is about Lorien coming to realize that she may not be welcome at home after all. That reconciliation may not be possible, and it’s not her fault. I really admire Kritzer’s ability to tell these human stories in the face of disasters.

“A Glowing Heart” by Anton Rose
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

This story has only a faint fantastical element – that of a rare and amazing bird that the narrator needs to kill in order to sell the parts for medicine for his mother. It was decent, just nothing that stood out as new.

“The Long Dizzy Down” by Ziporah Hildebrandt
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

Bill’s voice was hard to understand, so it was hard to get into this story. The premise was interesting – ships going rogue and kidnapping children in order to help it get into colonies so it could clone itself.

(5 stars) “The Woodcutters’ Deity” by Walter Dinjos
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

I enjoyed the Nigerian voice of this story. It starts off with a great sense of humor, and then follows a fairy-tale style story about brothers cast out of the city. I couldn’t predict where it would go, though I had a few guesses. Nduka’s overcoming was powerful, even though it was quiet, showing he truly desired the greater good, instead of just the ability to wreak vengeance.

“The Dragon Killer’s Daughter” by Todd McCaffrey
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

This story was cute, about a girl, and her father, and the dragon that used to live in the valley. The ending was predictable, yet satisfying that the dragon killer atoned for his murder.

“Useless Magic” by Andrew Peery
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

I wasn’t pulled into this story. There was plenty of magic, and some of the effects of it were interesting. I just didn’t care for the main character. Yes, he’s in a pitiful situation, but he was so bitter, I didn’t want to be reading about him.

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power” by Rose Lemberg
a novella published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

This story had a lot of mythology that I didn’t really care about. I never quite understood the magic of the deepnames, and what kind of power they were supposed to give. I never grew attached to the main character, perhaps because the other points were driving me away, so I didn’t care when there was trouble with her guard, or assassins. The prose was beautiful, and flowed, nice to listen to, but that is not why I listen to stories. So yeah, this story wasn’t for me

Trigger warning: BDSM

“Adramelech” by Sean Hazlett
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 33

I loved that this story refuted the “I had no choice” excuse with “You could have chosen death.” Seems like authors rely on the “I had no choice” a bit too much. Nice bit of foreshadowing too. I don’t normally care much for horror, which is why this doesn’t get five stars from me, but this was decent.

(5 stars) “The Fox, the Wolf, and the Dove” by Ville Meriläinen
a novelette published in Writers of the Future vol 33

I loved this invented fairy tale. I loved that the spell was chanted in Finnish (according to Bing Translator) instead of Latin. (Fitting, since the author is from Finland) The banter between the three sisters is awesome. The ending was heartbreaking and sweet. Lots of action. Very much enjoyed.

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