September 15, 2015

2016 Hugos: Short Fiction/Nonfiction Possibilities

Fiction (Category: Best Short Story)

Remembery Day, Sarah Pinsker, Apex Magazine Issue 72, May 2015

(Well, shoot! I thought this issue was already on the website, since it's four months old. It isn't; the last back issue is April 2015. Regardless, I'm putting this out so people will know to look for it when it goes live.)

This is a poignant little tale about war and the costs thereof; and what happens when society decides the price of remembering what the soldiers sacrificed is too high. Clara's mother is a wheelchair-bound veteran of an unnamed War; this war was global and possibly nuclear in nature, but it's never precisely stated. In any event, once a year the survivors and veterans gather across the planet to celebrate and to remember. They can only do this one day out of the year because the rest of the time, their memories are suppressed by the Veil. There's no details given as exactly what kind of memory block this is, and it doesn't matter; as they always do, the veterans vote to continue the Veil, and at the end of the day the memories of what they did in the War are once again suppressed.

This little story sticks with you. It's a possibility for my nomination list.

Toot Sweet Matricia, Suzette Mayr, Apex Magazine Issue 72, May 2015

This story is...I'm not sure what to call it. It's a selkie story and a love story and a story of finding one's identity; it's scattershot and surreal, with imagery more suited to a prose poem. It doesn't really have an actual plot as such. I'm not sure I even like it, but it is memorable, so I'm throwing it out there for other people to see

In Libres, Elizabeth Bear, Uncanny Magazine Issue Four, May/June 2015

At first this story made me chuckle over what seemed like a cute, fluffy conceit. Elizabeth Bear doesn't write cute and fluffy though; I kept reading and this story sucked me right in, with its darker mythological overtones and its library that is an infinite labyrinth, holding a copy of every book ever written. The student Euclavia and the centaur Bucephalus each need one more citation for their thesis and dissertation, and to get them they have to enter the labyrinth and make their way to the Special Collections at its heart, where the Book Wyrm resides with a librarian's spectacles perched on her dragon skull.

Just writing this summary down makes me squee with delight. I'm adding this to my "For Your Consideration" page. (Catherynne Valente's Planet Lion, from this same issue, is already there.)

Nonfiction (Category: Best Related Work)

I Don't Care About Your MFA: On Writing Vs. Storytelling, Kameron Hurley, Uncanny Magazine Issue Four, May/June 2015

(This issue of Uncanny is hitting on all cylinders. I just supported their Year Two Kickstarter, and that's looking like a better decision all the time.)

I really like Kameron Hurley's work. I haven't yet read any of her novels (so many books, such a huge TBR pile, so little time), but her nonfiction pieces are straightforward and practical, and reveal facets of the writer's work and craft that aren't much discussed. This article discusses the difference between writing and storytelling, and how all those shiny MFAs young writers are urged to acquire might not be of such great use after all.

Guided By the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and His Supporters, Philip K. Sandifer, April 2015 blog post

After this year's Puppy nonsense surrounding the Hugos, I'm sure most of us would as soon never hear Theodore Beale's name mentioned again. However, this evil genius isn't going away, and I have no doubt he will try to weasel his execrable e-book SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police on next year's ballot. (Not linking because, well,  who wants to read a badly-written book with two Chapter Fives?) There have been thousands, nay, millions of words written about this year's Hugo spectacle, a small percentage of which was even my own. If we're going to have one piece about the whole mess on the ballot--and we probably will--it should be this one: Philip Sandifer's lengthy treatise on Mr Beale and his fascism.

More to come!

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