Hugo 2017 Reading – December

Ah. Had a nice relaxing vacation over the holidays, and managed to get a lot of reading done while we traveled, including some really good ones.

Now that the year is over, I’m going to be looking at Best Of lists to figure out what stories I might have missed. I definitely feel like I need more novellas and novelettes.

Möbius” by Christoph Weber
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 32

This had an interesting take on gene tweakers needing to go underground, but it felt a bit preachy, and the science felt off. So I was not invested when Elizabeth had to make a big choice at the end.

Borderline by Mishell Baker
a novel published by Saga Press

This novel followed Millie Roper, who has borderline personality disorder, as she joins a group that manages immigration from Arcadia (fairyland). I liked the world set-up. It felt plausible, and like worldwide and historical implications were considered. I liked that we had a main cast of people who were all mentally ill, though I would like to see a review by someone with BPD (a la Disability in Kidlit) to see how accurate it was. I do find it discomfiting that one character with bipolar disorder manages his condition apparently without medication, because that is a chemical issue, unlike BPD. The plot was intriguing. Characters well drawn.

Trigger warning: crude language, discussion of past suicide attempt

(5 star) “A Spell to Retrieve Your Lover From the Bottom of the Sea” by Ada Hoffman
a short story published by Strange Horizons

At first this story didn’t seem like anything too special. It’s written as instructions to follow in order to rescue your lover who has drowned. But when we get to the lover and realize that breaking his chains would hurt him, this became a wonderful analogy about trying to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. Very poignant.

A Hundred and Seventy Storms” by Aliette de Bodard
a short story published by Uncanny Magazine

This was an interesting story about a ship in a dangerous orbit, and family politics as a young woman decides to stay or leave for better opportunities. Not my particular cup of tea, but still enjoyable.

Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure” by Rachael K Jones
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 32

The imagery on this story was fun about a mom and daughter creating dinosaurs out of garbage. But as they made a T-rex, I wanted to scream at them “Did any of you watch Jurassic Park? Bad things are going to happen!” But the impact of dinosaurs on earth again never happened beyond some broken fences. It may have been beyond the scope of the story, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Cry Havoc” by Julie Frost
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 32

This werewolf story was a good examination of revenge and identity warfare. And I really liked how the tables turned at the ending. Just a bit dark for my taste, which is why it didn’t get 5 stars.

The Sun Falls Apart” by J. W. Alden
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 32

This story had a lot of good imagery as a boy tries to learn how to move objects with the power of the sun. Many questions were left about the state of the world beyond the story. Seems like there’s room to expand it into a novel.

A Glamour in the Black” by Sylvia Anna Hiven
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 32

This was a decent story that followed tropes until the twist at the end. Not horrible, but nothing jumped out to get me either.

(5 star) Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
a novel published by Tor Books

I quite liked this story of paranormal intrigue. I loved the banter between Ginger and Ben, and the details on how mediums work, and the cost to themselves. I stayed up late so I could finish it in one day.

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