21 June 2012

Hugo nominees, part 2

Last week, I wrote about the Hugo-nominated short stories. This week, I'm writing about the novelettes.

A novelette ranges from 7500 to 17499 words, making it either a longish short story or a shortish novella. The nominated works are here for your reading pleasure. Once again, I'm going through these in alphabetical order.

"The Copenhagen Interpretation," by Paul Cornell. I confess, I was extremely lost trying to read this and gave up. It's a diplomatic spy something, with interdimensional travel I think? It seems to be part of a series, so people who are already familiar with the terminology and characters, or who are willing to expend the considerable effort to make sense of it without the requisite background, may not be as frustrated as I was.

"Fields of Gold," by Rachel Swirsky. Dennis, the protagonist, died and ends up in the afterlife, where he has to confront his past. He's a man-child, and he doesn't really grow up, just returns to the golden fields of his youth.

"Ray of Light," by Brad Torgersen. Humanity has retreated to the ocean floor because climate change brought glaciers and froze the oceans. They've been down there a while, and the adults, the generation who remembers living on the surface, have given up. The teens haven't. It has a very nostalgic feeling about it, like the everything's hopeful stories from the 50s.

"Six Months, Three Days," by Charlie Jane Anders. Two clairvoyants date each other. They know what's going to happen and that they're going to break up in six months and three days. Judy sees many possible futures; Doug only sees one. The central argument of their relationship is about free will. I liked this a lot.

"What We Found," by Geoff Ryman. A young Nigerian man watches his father suffer from a mental illness and fears that he will follow the same path. He goes to college and studies genetics in mice, and he learns that stress in the father leads to changes in the offspring. But his research changes with the observation: it wears out. It's also about family and rivalry and loyalty, about living in a small town, about free will vs predestination. I also liked this one a lot.

Have any of you read these? Agree or disagree? Just want to discuss?

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