The quality of novellettes was pretty low this year. There were no stories I really loved, and the order wasn’t easy to decide. I am still toying with an idea to put “no award” at the first place, as none of the stories was really, really, Hugo worthy and might very well do it the actual voting. On the other hand, none of them was really, really bad, either. Especially it was hard to find a story worth of the first place, but eventually I settled Paul Cornell’s story. It at least has some inventiveness and enjoyable writing. The order of other stories settled itself eventually.
“What We Found” by Geoff Ryman
A story about a scientist making a far fetching breakthrough in science which will rock the foundations of the universe. At same time we see glimpses of his childhood, family and life in a developing country, and how he struggles not to be like his father. The science parts were pretty good, but the other parts weren’t as interesting. The writing was good.
“The Copenhagen Interpretation” by Paul Cornell
The story apparently happens in the same world as the Hugo nominee One of Our Bastards Is Missing two years ago. There was still very little background and especially in the beginning it was hard to understand what was going on, or even what the setting was. First it seemed to be some sort of steampunkish 19th century, but it turned out to be apparently an alternative 21st (?) century. The main character who is seemingly a some sort of spy for the British Empire meets his former girlfriend, who has been missing for fifteen years but looks hardly any older. There is some pretty interesting intrigue and there story gets better when it progresses, but the end is fairly sudden. This is the second story from this continuum I have read, but still I wasn’t able to get the background of the world and it doesn’t work too well as a separate story.
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders
A story of a man and woman who both can see the future – but in slightly different ways. The man can see one future, which apparently can’t be changed, and the woman sees the different futures, the all possibilities any action might cause. Those two have an affair – an affair they both know isn’t going to end well. The story begun pretty well, but then it decayed a lot and felt overlong and threaded the same water for a long time.
“Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky
A man has died. He finds himself in a very strange heaven where people he used to know and celebrities have a nonstop party. The most important individual he meets is a childhood sweetheart who died young. A fairly confusing story with some nice ideas, but they really didn't construct a really working whole. The story had a lot of purposeful surrealistic details to convey the strange afterlife, but it didn’t' quite work.
“Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen
A strange alien space ship arrived and deposited millions of mirrors in space which block the sun. The last humans live at the bottom of ocean tapping geothermal heat. A daughter of the main character has disappeared. A very good story about hope, which is well written, but could have been somewhat longer. There were more than a few problems with logic. It is also has a somewhat old fashionable feel, it might well have been written in fifties.
1. No award (?)
2. “The Copenhagen Interpretation” by Paul Cornell
3. “What We Found” by Geoff Ryman
4. “Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen
5. “Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky
6. “Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders