Asimov’s have finally put their Hugo nominated story and novellas on their web site. So here’s my thoughts on:
‘From Babel’s Fallen Glory We Fled’, Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Feb 2008)
An interesting story. I can’t decide if it’s taking the piss or a little bit lazy. The meta-fictional framing feels like an afterthought, and the typographical tricks for the alien’s speech feel like Swanwick is having a sly laugh at his readers. There are some nice ideas in the story, but it feels too thin a treatment, as if it should have been longer and more detailed. It’s a great deal better than Resnick’s story, and not as inconsequential as the Kowal, but the Chiang and Johnson still have it beat.
As four of the five novellas are now available, I’ll work my way through those. It might take a while – they’re the longest of the “short” lengths, as long as an old-style novel in fact. Sadly, the missing novella is the one I really wanted to read. For the record, the shortlist is as follows:
The Erdmann Nexus’, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
‘The Political Prisoner’, Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008)
‘The Tear’, Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
‘True Names’, Benjamin Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
‘Truth’, Robert Reed (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
Incidentally, a point of order. Mike Resnick’s ‘Article of Faith’ was first published in Postscripts #15 in September 2008. According to the Hugo shortlist, it was published in Jim Baen’s Universe in October 2008. But that would be a reprint. At the very least, the Hugo committee should correctly attribute the magazine in which the story was first published.