Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2018 Hugo Recommendations: Novella


I thought this was a strong year for novellas, and the following is my long list of potential nominees:

Peter Beagle, In Calabria (Tachyon)
Damien Broderick, “Tao Zero”, (Asimov’s, 3-4/17)
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Prisoner of Limnos (Spectrum)
Jaime Fenn, The Martian Job (NewCon Press)    
Michael F. Flynn, “Nexus” (Analog, 3-4/17)          
Kathleen Ann Goonan, “The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse”, (Extrasolar)
Karen Heuler, In Search of Lost Time (Aqueduct)
Dave Hutchinson, Acadie (Tor.com Publishing)
Alexander Jablokov, “How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry” (Asimov’s, 7-8/17)
Marc Laidlaw, “Stillborne”, (F&SF, 11-12/17)       
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Prime Meridian (Innsmouth Free Press)
David Erik Nelson, “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House”, (F&SF, 7-8/17)         
Alec Nevala-Lee , “The Proving Ground” (Analog, 1-2/17)
K. J. Parker, Mightier Than the Sword (Subterranean)    
Sarah Pinsker, “And Then There Were N – One”, (Uncanny, 3-4/17)          
Rachel Pollack, “Homecoming”, (F&SF, 1-2/17)
R. Garcia y Robertson, “The Girl Who Stole Herself”, (Asimov’s, 7-8/17)
Christopher Rowe, “The Border State” (Telling the Map)
Sofia Samatar, “Fallow" (Tender)
Jeremiah Tolbert, “The Dragon of Dread Peak”, (Lightspeed, 10/17)          
Cynthia Ward, ”The Adventure of the Incognita Countess” (Aqueduct)
Martha Wells, All Systems Red (Tor.com Publishing)

Of these stories – none of which would disappoint me if they won the Hugo – my four favorites, in no particular order, are:

1.       Sofia Samatar, “Fallow” – Samatar’s debut collection, Tender (Small Beer Press), is absolutely essential.  There are two new stories, this novella, and a short story, “An Account of the Land of Witches”, and both are outstanding. "Fallow" is the story of three different sort of rebels on a struggling colony, apparently inhabited by an Amish-like sect, trying to maintain their identity while hoping for a return to an ecologically ruined Earth when it becomes potentially re-inhabitable. But that doesn't get at what's so cool about it -- beautiful writing, haunting characters, and a real sense of mystery and strangeness.

2.       Sarah Pinsker, “And Then There Were (N – One)” – A story about a convention of alternate Sarah Pinskers, complete with a murder. It is warmly told – funny at time, certainly the milieu is familiar to any SF con-goer. But it’s dark as well – after, there’s a murder – and it intelligently deals with issue of identity and contingency.

3.       Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Prime Meridian – This story came kind of out of left field – not exactly so, as Moreno-Garcia has certainly done some first-rate writing, but this was published to begin with as an ebook available to supporters of an Indiegogo campaign. It will be more generally available in 2018 (including in at least one Best of the Year volume). And it’s tremendous work, mixing a convincing portrayal of near future Mexico City with dreams of trips to Mars – both the protagonist’s hopes to be an actual colonist, and a fading movie star’s memories of a movie she made about Mars.

4.       Kathleen Ann Goonan – “The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse” – just to prove you don’t have to be a woman whose first name starts with S! This is an ambitious and moving story of the first starship, which ends up crewed by a group of super-intelligent children and an older woman.

The current leaders for the fifth position on my ballot are Broderick’s “Tao Zero”, a rather crazy sort of superscientific tale, lots of fun; Hutchinson’s Acadie, a twisty story of the true nature of an utopian seeming space habitat; Tolbert’s “The Dragon of Dread Peak”, also lots of fun, about a group of teens exploring a dangerous magical rift in their city; and Wells’ All Systems Red, an often funny, and quite action-filled, story of an AI security android who really doesn’t like humans all that much.

My Recommendation Posts:
Best Novel, Series, YA
Best Editor, Campbell Award


  1. You mention "Telling the Map" but do you really mean "The Border State," by Christopher Rowe (Telling the Map, 2017)? That is, I think "Telling the Map" is the name of the collection and "The Border State" is the name of the novella.

    1. Thanks, Greg! What a dumb mistake. I've fixed it now.