Monday, July 7, 2014
My Hugo votes 2014, part 3, short stories
There were only four nominees this year. Most of them were short and based more on allegories than on the actual plot. There was no competition for the first place; in my opinion Chu’s story was by far the best one. The order of the others was less easy: I didn’t really like any of them, even though they were all well written. They felt more like poetic mood pieces as actual stories with a real plot and real characters.
“Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
Two young girls who work at a restaurant bond and ponder about Selkie stories and abandonment issues. Very short, well written sad melancholy story. Didn't really had interest for me. Partly because I am not familiar with the concept Selkies - the first time I ever heard about them was from a last year's nominee - and that apparently wasn't that kind of Selkie story, this story is talking about. Also, there seems to be hardly any actual speculative material in the story.
“The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)
Villagers from a Thai village pick up wishes people have left floating on the river which flows nearby. They collect gifts people have included in the small paper boats where the wishes are. Some wishes might be granted in some way, sometimes there might be some sort of exploitation of the gifts, and sometimes the wishes the villagers themselves have might come true, but not necessarily in a way they were hoping for. A poetic story.
“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
A kind prose poem about how awesome dinosaur the loved one would be, if he would be a dinosaur. Very short, nice language, metaphors, but nothing else really.
“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)
Water starts to appear from now where if you lie about anything. A major lie completely drenches you. A guy couple is going to travel to the home of one of them. He hasn’t come out of the closet yet, and the parents believe that they are just good friends. And especially his sister seems lean very heavily to him getting settled, marrying a nice girl from the same ethnic group and starting to have children. How to survive the visit when it is impossible to lie? Another story which is heavy on metaphors. Good writing and moving story.
My voting order will be:
1. “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)
2. “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)
3. “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
4. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)