I spent July reading the Hugo Finalists in order to vote on the ballot for the awards next month. Still managed to get a fair amount read of stuff from this year. I feel like I’m finally getting into the swing of managing my time better.
“The Wings of Earth” by Jiang Bo
a novelette published by Clarkesworld
I liked the interaction between the nations when the UFO appeared, and how each nation wanted to be part of the first to make contact with it. I’m not a big fan of first contact stories. They feel a bit abstract-y to me. I never really understood what purpose the wings of Earth were supposed to provide either. Maybe because it went too fast with the audio?
(5 stars) “One Day, My Dear, I’ll Shower You with Rubies” by Langley Hyde
a short story published by PodCastle
This story reminded me of the plotline in The Legend of Korra when Asami visits her father in jail during season 4. The main thing I didn’t like about that story was that Asami’s father dies to complete his redemption arc. In Hyde’s story, the father still dies, but it was out of justice, not redemption. I also feel like it developed better the complexities of being the child of an evil man, suffering fallout from it, yet being unable to completely reject him. Perhaps because that character arc of Elusia figuring out her relationship to her father had to stand on its own, since it wasn’t building up to a heroic sacrifice.
“The Quiltbag” by Ashkok K. Banker
a short story published by Lightspeed
The clothes talking was an interesting element. Interesting moral at the end too, about leaving worlds alone that had the possibility to be redeemed. Though I didn’t feel completely engaged, perhaps because I didn’t feel as much tension because Octavia was very worried about the situation.
“Seeds of the Soul Flowers” by M. K. Hutchins
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction
I’m a little mad that this story is so close to “Tattered Flower” and accomplishes its theme so much better than my story does. Does a good job explaining the world, and making us care about the characters.
“The Athuran Interpreter’s Flight” by Eleanna Castroianni
a short story published by Strange Horizons
Sam-Sa-Ee is a creative and horrifying creation. When listening to this, I didn’t see the structure this story has – the many scenes with headers. That really adds to the story. I didn’t quite understand the twist though – why the Henon would refuse to do business if the Envoy drank the water. Was it just superstition, or was there a real contamination?