There were only three short stories nominated this year as the votes from nomination spread too far. One story by Kij Johnson was nominated again just like in at least two previous years. I have never really understood any of her stories, but this year’s story is probably the worst of bunch. This will be on the last place and below “no award”. Ken Liu’s story was very moving and will earn the first place. Immersion took rereading before I really understood it, but it was probably the best thing I have ever read by Bodard and it was a very satisfying tale after all.
“Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson
A very short “story” (I am not sure if this is “a story” by any definition) about the mating habits of the praying mantis. No plot, no real story or plot anywhere. 100% pure unadulterated metaphors, not even very interesting or good metaphors and nothing else.
“Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard
A story of “a developing” planet where the inhabitants of Chinese descent are using some sort of portable brain interface which helps them serve tourists better giving them insights of customs and language of the visitors. The story is told from two viewpoints – from a point of a poor girl whose family owns a restaurant, and from a point of a wife of a rich man who is hopelessly addicted and grown into the brain interface. A very good story after I got the shifting viewpoints. One small nitpick: the author doesn’t seem to understand the complexity of technology. No amateur tinkered could never, ever, reverse engineer even current high technology, it is totally ridiculous that someone would even try to do for future tech.
“Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu
A giant asteroid has hit Earth (and splinters hit Mars and Moon – talk about co-incidences!). The last humans are on a generation ship. The last Japanese got to the ship through his father’s good relations. A very well and poetically written, very sad and melancholy story with a tear producing end. A very good story in spite of a few logical inconsistencies.
1. “Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu
2. “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard
3. No award
4. “Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson