Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2017 Hugo Award Finalists, fiction categories

A little more than a week from now, on Friday, August 11, the 2017 Hugo Awards will be presented at this year's World Science Fiction Convention, Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. The Hugo Awards ceremony is always a highlight of a Worldcon.

Here's a list of the finalists in the four fiction categories (there are many additional categories), offered without comment, just in case you, like me (Amy), need a little reminder of the works that are up for these awards this year. May good stuff win!
Best Novel

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
    A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
    Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
    The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
    Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Best Novella

    The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
    The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
    Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
    A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
    This Census-Taker by China MiĆ©ville (Del Rey / Picador)

Best Novelette

    Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
    “The Art of Space Travel” by Nina Allan (Tor.com, July 2016)
    “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” by Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing, May 2016)
    “The Tomato Thief” by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
    “Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
    “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

Best Short Story

    “The City Born Great” by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)
    “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)
    “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
    “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
    “That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)
    “An Unimaginable Light” by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Voices Without Voices, Words With No Words" by Amanda C. Davis :: Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week

My Story Recommendation of the Week is for "Voices Without Voices, Words With No Words" by Amanda C. Davis, from Issue #73 of Cemetery Dance magazine.

Jeremy lives in a house inherited from his parents, a house with no power, no heat, no telephone. He has lost his job, his girlfriend, his life. Because he has time for nothing but his work. His work is: he picks up a dead phone and hears voices. He writes down names, numbers, and words that the voices give him. Then he goes to one of the few remaining pay phones in town with a stack of quarters. He dials the numbers, asks for the names, and tells them the words. Words like "Choose the green" or "Stop at two" or "Ask for Veronica."

So Jeremy is a loon, right? Except it's easy to believe he's not. For one thing, how come he can always reach someone with the right name at the numbers he dials? This is a guy who has devoted himself to work he didn't choose, at tremendous cost to himself, in the hope it's helping people he doesn't even know. He is a sad, pathetic, very noble character. Like someone who leaves a high-paying job to work with the homeless, or perhaps even a writer who devotes her life to telling stories she's not sure anyone else appreciates.

The story begins in earnest when Jeremy dials a number but it doesn't ring. He looks down and realizes it's his number, for his disconnected home phone. The message is for him: It ends. Be at the side of the lost queen at midnight. Twenty-five twenty-one. Will he puzzle out by midnight what that means?

This is a fairly simple story concept, executed cleanly and elegantly. I've been reading a lot of short fiction lately and I fear I've been getting a bit jaded – it's hard right now to get me to really care about what happens to a character in a short story. But Amanda Davis pulled it off. I was right there with Jeremy to the end of the story. I enjoyed "Voices Without Voices, Words With No Words" very much.

Amanda C. Davis writes horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. Her work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Shock Totem, and many other publications. Incidentally, I think of Cemetery Dance as a horror magazine, but to me "Voices Without Voices, Words With No Words" is not a horror story. Good for them stretching their boundaries to publish such a terrific piece!