Back in the end of July, I voted on the Hugo Award nominees for novelette. I totally agreed with Aaron's ordering of the nominees, which was rather surprising.
"The Calorie Man" by Paolo Bacigalupi presented an interestingly different yet pessimistic future. It was well written, and consistent in tone and character. I liked the cheshires, and the pedal computer. I was angered by the idea of “big food” conglomerates and cheered for the old generipper's plan. The kinetic springs were great, but I have a quibble that other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind were not mentioned.
"Two Hearts" by Peter S. Beagle made me cry. It’s very well done. I liked the girl Sooz. But it’s fantasy, and it introduced little that was new. Wish I remembered The Last Unicorn better. I thought Schemendrick’s verses were cloying.
"I, Robot" by Cory Doctorow had fun parts, but it was too episodic for me. I liked the software “phone book”, the allusions to 1984, and the infrared clothes. Maybe I’m being too harsh on a comedy, but I didn’t believe in the characters. I doubted using Asimov’s three laws would lead to a totalitarian state. I didn’t like the reuse of the title without a focus on a robot.
"The King of Where-I-Go" by Howard Waldrop is good story and feels true. It’s a nostalgic slice of life, but only has minor SF elements. I found it interesting how things changed perhaps not for the best. There was little new, but it was pleasant.
"TelePresence" by. Michael A. Burstein tried overly hard to be pro-technology and politically correct. It didn’t matter that students died, the only issue was the review of the virual school technology. The author couldn’t imagine anyone with brains opposing this technology. I didn’t believe in the characters or their motivations.
1. Paolo Bacigalupi – The Calorie Man
2. Peter S. Beagle – Two Hearts
3. Cory Doctorow – I, Robot
4. Howard Waldrop – The King of Where-I-Go
5. Michael A. Burstein – TelePresence