Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aaron's Hugo Recommendations:: Short Story

Susan Palwick, “Sorrel’s Heart” (The Fate of Mice)
Robert Reed, “The Hoplite” (Helix, Spring ’07)
Adam Roberts, “A Distillation of Grace” (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction)
Lavie Tidhar, “Daydreams” (Apex #10)
James A. Trimarco, “The Sundial Brigade” (Glorifying Terrorism)

Stephen Baxter, “No More Stories” (Fast Forward 1)
Elizabeth Bear, “The Something-Dreaming Game” (Fast Forward 1)
Paul Di Filippo, “Personal Jesus” (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction)
Greg Egan, “Steve Fever” (MIT Technology Review, Nov.-Dec. ’07)
James Patrick Kelly, “Don’t Stop” (Asimov’s, June ’07)
Ben Payne, “Inside” (Ticonderoga Online, Autumn ’07)
Elizabeth Sourbut, “‘How I Took Care of My Pals’” (Glorifying Terrorism)

The first list shows the stories I would nominate for the short story Hugo Award as of today, while the second list contains my near misses. (Both lists are in alphabetical order by author.) There is still a month left before the nominations deadline, so I will update this if I run across anything else exceptional in that time. Suggestions of stories I may have missed are welcome.

My single favorite short story of 2007 is “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick. “Sorrel’s Heart” is a love story between a girl who literally carries her heart on the outside of her chest, and a sadistic yet oddly noble young man. It is a powerful, beautifully written piece, and I believe it would have a very good shot at the Hugo if only enough people read it. So do yourself a favor and go track down a copy of Palwick’s collection The Fate of Mice. That goes double if you are one of those folks complaining that not enough women have appeared on the Hugo shortlist in recent years.

There has been a significant shift in the past couple years as to where one can expect to find strong SF/F short fiction. Until very recently, the best short fiction was largely confined to the major print magazines, notably Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, and Interzone. While those magazines remain very good, much more excellent short fiction is now appearing in original anthologies and on-line. Six of the stories listed above are from original anthologies and three from on-line publications. Five years ago, the only on-line site that compared to the major print mags was Ellen Datlow’s SciFiction. Today, there is a great deal of short fiction on-line at Helix, Clarkesworld, Subterranean, Strange Horizons, Lone Star Stories, Baen’s Universe, and others that is well up to the standards of the major print magazines.

If you are a member of Denvention 3 or were a member of Nippon 2007, and you read anything from 2007 that you thought was very good, PLEASE NOMINATE. Do not feel that you need to have read everything published in 2007 to be qualified to nominate, because no one has.

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