Archive

Posts Tagged ‘hugo award’

“San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats”, by Mira Grant

“San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” is a 2012 science fiction short story by Mira Grant, who is also known as Seanan McGuire.  It is currently nominated for the Hugo for Best Novella of 2013.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” is the story of some attendees at San Diego Comic Con.  When the zombies attack.  And how the humans react.

Why should you read it?

You shouldn’t.  Unless you’ve already read Feed, and the rest of the Newsflesh trilogy, and then you either know you don’t want you, or you don’t need me to pitch this story, except to say that it’s an early days story of the Newsflesh universe.  All three books of the trilogy were nominated for the Hugo, and this spin-off; I’m not the only one who likes this series.

Where to find “San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats”

This story is not available freely.  You can purchase it from Amazon for the Kindle for $2.99, and it’s well worth the cost.


“The Fort Moxie Branch”, by Jack McDevitt

“The Fort Moxie Branch” is a 1988 science fiction short story by Jack McDevitt.  It was nominated for the Hugo for Best Short Story of 1989.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“The Fort Moxie Branch” is the story of a discouraged writer who sees a nearby house… changing.  He goes to visit and find out what happens, and it’s been turned into the Fort Moxie branch of the John of Singletary Library.  And the librarian has a very interesting offer for him….

Why should you read it?

Because it’s so full of hope.  For struggle.  For humanity.  Because the librarian makes perfectly good points that are still infuriating.

The writer is being invited to have some of his work included in the Library.  It’s a library of lost works, of books that didn’t fit their times, so they didn’t sell, or couldn’t be released, or something.  And it’s a story full of hope.

Where to find “The Fort Moxie Branch”

This story is available online from the publisher, Baen Books.

“Fermi and Frost”, by Frederik Pohl

“Fermi and Frost” is a 1985 science fiction short story by Frederik Pohl.  It won the Hugo for Best Short Story of 1986.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“Fermi and Frost” is the story of a SETI astronomer who’s at an airport when a global nuclear war begins.  He rescues a small boy from horrible, overcrowded conditions and in in turn rescued by a fan of his work, and put on a plane to Iceland, which is assumed to be safe.  It turns out that Reykjavik is destroy, but the rest of Iceland survives the nuclear war.  Can it survive the nuclear winter?  Well, there’s no longer a sun… but Iceland has some geothermal energy to count on, and underground spaces can be converted to various kinds of farming…  I won’t spoil whether or not they survive, but I will tell you they do better than anyone else on Earth.  Which is to say, they’re the last survivors.

Why should you read it?

Because the portrayal of people trying to survive without a sun, but with other advantages, is fascinating.  Unfortunately, Pohl’s choice of presenting multiple options and then choosing one for you is off-puttingly old-fashioned, but for the most part, when he’s not doing that, the writing is as good as anything he’s ever done.  In fact, I’d go as far to say that this is half a story from the 1950’s and half from the 2000’s.

Where to find “Fermi and Frost”

This story was re-published in 2005 in Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories, which is currently available from the King County Library System.  It does not appear to be freely available in text or in audio.

“Kin”, by Bruce McAllister

“Kin” is a 2006 science fiction short story by Bruce McAllister.  It was nominated for the Hugo for Best Short Story of 2007.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“Kin” is the story of a young boy whose mother is pregnant, but the Bureau of Population Control has decreed that his unborn sister is to be terminated.  The boy doesn’t want this to happen. . . so he tries to hire an alien assassin to kill the man who made the decision.  But he doesn’t have enough money for the fee.

Why should you read it?

I will now invoke Campbell… halfway.  The Antalou assassin is very much an alien that thinks like a person, but instead of coming from our culture, he comes from a completely different one.  And instead of coming from our biology, he comes from one that has equipped him to be able to take the door off of a personal helicopter with his talons.

And he’s faced with a boy he feels sympathy for, but who doesn’t have enough money to pay for his services.  The services he wants to render.  So he gets creative.  But not lethal.

I like this story enough that I had read it early in the Hugo Project, in McAllister’s collection, The Girl Who Loved Animals, but chose to listen to it, as well, to hear Steve Eley’s narration and experience the story again before writing this review.  This one is simple and clear, but very enjoyable.

Where to find “Kin”

E scape Pod has a wonderful audio version.

“Down Memory Lane”, by Mike Resnick

June 26, 2013 2 comments

“Down Memory Lane” is a 2005 science fiction short story by Mike Resnick.  It was nominated for the Hugo for Best Short Story of 2006.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“Down Memory Lane” is the story of a man losing his wife to Alzheimer’s, and the lengths to which he’s willing to go to help her.

Why should you read it?

For the first time in this blog, I’m going to tell you that I’m not the person to tell you why you should read this story.  It’s well written, as every Resnick piece is.  However, as someone who lost his father to Huntington’s Disease and is dealing with my mother losing parts of her memory at this very moment, I almost never enjoy stories about mental degeneration.  And this blog is about telling you what I love.

I don’t love this story.  It’s very well done, but it was no fun at all for me.  If you want to a recommendation, let the bulk of Resnick’s work make it, and perhaps read some or all of the other pieces of his I’m going to recommend here, or have.  But I can’t recommend this one, even though it may deserve it.  I just can’t do it.

Where to find “Down Memory Lane”

E scape Pod has a well acted version of “Down Memory Lane” in audio.

“Travels with My Cats”, by Mike Resnick

“Travels with My Cats” is a 2004 fantasy short story by Mike Resnick.  It won the Hugo for Best Short Story of 2005.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“Travels with My Cats” is the story of a man living a bit of a wasted life; he started with dreams, but they slowly grew further and further out of his reach.  When he rediscovers a travel book he purchased and enjoyed as a child, the long-dead author and her cats appear.  She reignites his passion for life.

Why should you read it?

There’s a bit of a problem here.  Mike Resnick is going to show up a lot on this list, because he’s been nominated for an award every year for the last six hundred year.  Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much: he’s the most nominated author ever.

This story starts with a very disillusioning life.  It then moves on to a very enchanting relationship, and ends with a man changed.  The story is very effective and very enjoyable.  It’s far from science fiction or high fantasy–the Wikipedia article calls this magic realism, and I’d have to agree.  Beautifully written, and an emotional journey.  Not all of it is a fun journey, but a real one.

Where to find “Travels with My Cats”

Asimov’s has a copy of the text online.  Escape Pod has also done a lovely audio version.


“Tk’tk’tk”, by David D. Levine

June 24, 2013 1 comment

“Tk’tk’tk” is a 2005 science fiction short story by David D. Levine.  It won the Hugo for Best Short Story of 2006.

Non-Spoiler Summary

“Tk’tk’tk” is the story of a human salesman who goes to a very alien planet, and tries to sell the software he represents to other humans.  Unfortunately, the people he’s speaking to are aliens, and don’t buy.  When he learns to sell to aliens, then suddenly success comes to him.  When he learns to be an alien, then his life changes.

Why should you read it?

On one level, this is brilliant science fiction, with a very Campbellian hook: these aliens don’t think much like humans, but they do think as well as humans.  But this time, I’m not going to suggest you should read this story for the science fiction.  “Tk’tk’tk” is the story of a man who is learning when struggle is not just going to get you nothing, but is actively counterproductive.  It’s the story of a man learning to release himself and become the other, in order to serve both the other and himself.  That’s the part of it I’ll be taking with me.  The aliens themselves are almost set dressing for the transformation of a man with an drive to overcome into a man who accepts.

Where to find “Tk’tk’tk”

This story is available online as text courtesy of Asimov’s, or in audio from Escape Pod.  I especially recommend the text version, as the alien language makes for some sounds you’ve never heard before.  I admire them for even trying this story.