Hugo 2020 Reading – September

Wow. Now that kids are back in school, my time has been freed up so much. Not only do I get uninterrupted time to write, I get uninterrupted time to listen to podcasts while I do chores. Plus my health has been improving, so I’ve been going through stories at a much faster pace. Here’s what I got to this month.

The Catfish” by Earnest Nadim
a short story published by The Arcanist

This was a cute story about an orc online dating a hag, who each thought the other was an elf. It was a bit predictable. My biggest complaint though, was the callousness of Ziv and Sleepy. There was no reason given for why the orc needed to die except for the fact that he was an orc.


How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise
a short story published by Uncanny

This was an interesting story – about the nameless magician who manipulates love triangles for his gain, and how those he manipulates got revenge on him. It’s a dark tale, with shifting times and points of view, but never confusing. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because horror isn’t my jam, but I do appreciate the artistry in this story.


N-coin” by Tobias S. Buckell
a short story published by Apex Magazine

Content warning: suicidal ideation

This story had an intriguing idea – cryptocurrency as a way for blacks to receive reparations. I didn’t understand how the cryptocurrency worked, but it was hard for me to feel sorry for the guy when it looked like he bought into what looked like a scam. Telling it by a guy on the verge of jumping off a building made me a bit squeamish as well.


When Sirens Sing of Roses and of Delegated Power” by Nin Harris
a short story published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I chose this story because I was working on “The Mermaid’s Voice” at the time. This has a lot of beautiful imagery, though the pace felt slow at times. Especially for a magical heist gone wrong. It wasn’t so much about outwitting, as it was coming to understanding, which is ok. I just wanted more heistiness though.


Blame it on the Bees” by Rachel Menard
a short story published by Cast of Wonders

This story was full of emotion as Dee deals with the death of her lover. The speculative element didn’t come up until half-way through the story, which is why it’s not a five star, but it was fun when it did appear.


The Second Nanny” by Djuna
a novelette published by Clarkesworld

As I was listening to this story, I felt lost in who each scene was focusing on and keeping straight if we were in flashback or not. I would probably have handled it better if I were reading. It was an interesting far-future world, with an intriguing problem & solution. I just wish I was engaged enough to feel the full impact.


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