Hugo 2020 Reading – January

I did not realize that the rules for nominating Hugos has changed. Instead of a Worldcon membership allowing you to nominate for three years (the year before, that year, and the year after) it now only allows you to nominate for two years (that year and the year after). So, I will not be able to submit my picks for this year. Ah well. I’m still going to be writing these posts to help me study how I can break into these markets though. 🙂

Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest volumes 1 & 2 by Hiro Mashima and Atsuo Ueda
2 graphic stories published by Kodansha Comics

Fairy Tail has meant a lot to me in the last year and a half since I was introduced to it. The characters really pulled me through some tough times. So of course I grabbed the continuing series when I saw the original author still had a hand in crafting the story. These volumes were fun, though not spectacular. A lot of swimsuit fanservice (for fans other than me). I did wonder at Gemini suddenly gaining new powers. But I rode with it, because the magic in Fairy Tail has generally not made a whole lot of sense. We meet interesting new characters, and I am interested in seeing where the story goes.

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson
a novel published by Century

My husband has a rule of thumb when it comes to Star Wars books – if it takes place in multiple locations, it’s good. If it takes place on only one, it doesn’t measure up. Besides initial setup chapters, this novel only takes place in one location. But I expected that going in, and I found it good pulpy fun. As Vi goes through town, some interactions definitely felt like they existed to showcase stores that existed in Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyworld/Disneyland. Still, I really cared about the characters. I appreciated that even with medpacks, trauma from injuries lasted beyond the initial impact. I also liked that stormtrooper armor in this book actually worked and the characters had to keep that in mind during fights *cough*UnlikeEpisodeIX*cough*. Overall, a decent romp, and I’m looking forward to my next trip to Disneyworld.

The Terrible Oath” by Ashok K. Banker
a novelette published by Lightspeed

I did not care for the plot archetype of this story – king meets girl, falls instantly in love, then goes to great lengths to obtain permission to wed her. I don’t like falling in love at first sight. I didn’t feel like the girl Jilana had much agency, though the story said she did. And I felt like the price her father asked for was stupidly high. I did appreciate everyone’s reaction when Vrath offers the asked for price, so at least it ended on a good note.

I am Fire; I am Tears” by Wendy Nikel
a short story published by PodCastle

This story seems to be inspired by the fairy tale Tatterhood as far as there are twin sisters, one ugly and the other beautiful, born because the queen couldn’t help herself from taking a second bite of the flower. But there the similarities end as these sisters have a very different story to tell. It still has a fairy tale tone, and I enjoyed the surprises as Dania reaches out and Ulykke changes. I didn’t give it five stars only because I didn’t become completely immersed in the story. Part of that could be due to fragmented listening to the podcast. I still recommend it if fairy tale stories is your thing.

And Now His Lordship is Laughing” by Shiv Ramdas
a short story published by Strange Horizons

Unlike Anaea Lay, I don’t enjoy revenge stories. I did appreciate the immersion of this story. Though I am half-British, I appreciate seeing the harmful consequences of the British Empire. And I can appreciate how well laid the revenge was so the British officers were hoisted by their own petards.

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