This is a reminder for all supporting or full members of WorldCon 2018 that voting for the Hugos, Retro Hugos, and The John W. Campbell Award ends at midnight tonight. I tried my best to read as much as I could, and lucked out in that some of the shorter works I’d already read, but I didn’t succeed as much as I wanted to. The rest are still on my list, so at least they have the chance at a review.
Anyway, because a reminder is not as interesting as it might be, here are some of the stories I enjoyed, and even a movie or two, from last year. Many are available online, so whether you’re able to vote on the Hugos or not, I hope you’ll give these a look, and maybe adopt a new favorite author.
I’ve organized them by voting category with the criteria in parentheses after the category name. This list does not remotely represent the whole ballot as I only list the areas where I was able to read a significant portion of the entries. Sometimes, I’ll be blown away by a story so can confidently vote for it, but I prefer to have read at least a few of the candidates in any particular category.
Best Novelette (A science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 and 17,500 words that appeared for the first time in 2017.)
“A Series of Steaks” Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017) – Wonderful story with excellent seeding and karma.
“Wind Will Rove” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017) – There are some real thinking lines coming out of this story. This is a very mellow story without crisis or disaster, and yet it tells of a bigger crisis in that it is a spiritual one. Whatever her students got from the lesson, she came out of it with a better understanding of her relationship with their history and where the line between rote memory and owning the history lies. I found the narrative voice compelling. The world plausible. And the link to music lovely.
“Children of Thorns” Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017) – I’d already read this, and it proved memorable, but I don’t appear to have taken any specific notes :(.
Best Short Story (A science fiction or fantasy story of less than 7,500 words that appeared for the first time in 2017.)
“Carnival Nine” Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies May 2017) – This is a lovely evocative story about life choices and the msrching of time. The only sour note for me is the guilt for taking something for herself but the beauty of the community she creates for her son is powerful.
“The Martian Obelisk” Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017) – Read earlier but it’s a powerful and complete story told in a very odd way.
“Sun, Moon, and Dust” Ursula Vernon (Uncanny, May/June, 2017) – The story has a lovely rhythm and took an expected turn that was unexpected in its rarity.
The John W. Campbell Award (Award for the best new science fiction writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines) A new writer is one whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appeared in 2016 or 2017 in a professional publication. For Campbell Award purposes, a professional publication is one for which more than a nominal amount was paid, any publication that had an average press run of at least 10,000 copies, or any other that the Award sponsors may designate)
Katherine Arden – If you’ve been following my reviews, you know I’m a big fan.
Vina Jie-Min Prasad – A new author for me, but I very much enjoyed “A Series of Steaks” above.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Any theatrical feature or other production in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2017 and which has a complete running time of more than 90 minutes)
These are movies from the nominations I have seen and enjoyed because of their stories.
Wonder Woman screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm, Ltd.)
Blade Runner 2049 written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Alcon Entertainment / Bud Yorkin Productions / Torridon Films / Columbia Pictures)