It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible


Little shiny things…

… given to people. AKA awards. It is the season for it. This weekend at the Eastercon, the winners of the BSFA Awards were announced, as were the shortlists for the Hugo Awards. And here they are – the fiction shortlists and winners – accompanied by some thoughts about them by Yours Truly.

BSFA Awards

Best Novel

And the winner is… The City & the City by China Miéville. I can’t say I’d have been embarrassed whichever book had won, although I think I would have preferred the Roberts. The City & the City has an intriguing central premise, but Miéville has always felt to me like the poster boy for a movement of one. Still, given the book’s ubiquity on shortlists this year, I think I shall give it a go.

Best Short Fiction

The winner is ‘The Beloved Time of Their Lives’, Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia. That was quite an odd shortlist. I’ve heard the Hutchinson and McDonald are good, but the rest underwhelmed me.

Hugo Awards
Best Novel

With the exception of the Sawyer, about which I have heard nothing good, the others seem to be held in reasonably high regard – bar the odd dissenting voice. So, not too shabby a shortlist.

Best Novella

Kress, again. And Stross. The Scalzi I’ve heard described as “Warhammer 40k lite”, but I think I’d still like to read it. The only Baker I’ve read was in The New Space Opera and a) it wasn’t space opera and b) it featured British characters straight from Hollywood Central Casting.

Best Novelette

The Swirsky, Watts, Griffith and Foster have received quite a lot of bandwidth in the past couple of months, so I suppose their appearances are no real surprise. I thought the Swirsky done well but overly long. The Watts I didn’t even think was the best story in The New Space Opera 2. It’s a klaxon of a story – a long blaring one-note treatment of its premise and, despite the neatness of its eponymous idea, it did nothing for me.

Best Short Story

Oh dear, another Resnick. There must be some secret cabal somewhere that backs him and Sawyer. I can think of no other reason for their presence on the shortlists year in year out. I’ve read the two Clarkesworld stories. The Johnson was a mood piece; I didn’t get it. The Jemisin was neat but not especially memorable. I’m surprised at the Schoen – Footprints was published by small press Hadley Rille, its theme was so narrow it can’t have appealed to many, and I note Rich Horton didn’t even mention Schoen’s story in his roundup of the year’s short fiction here.

At some later date, before the Worldcon, I shall probably read the various short fiction shortlisted works – subject to availability – and write about them here. As I did last year. I shall also probably completely fail to pick the winner again as well.

Finally, this year I’m making more an effort to read short fiction – albeit not from the “Big Three” of Asimov’s, Analog and F&SF, as I subscribe to none of them. But at least in 2011 I’ll be in a position to nominate some short stories, novelettes and novellas, although I’m unlikely to buy a membership for the Worldcon (which will be in the US – in Reno, Nevada).