Reading the Hugo nominees

I’ve plowed thru much of the Hugo nominees in the last couple weeks, thanks to the great deal to get them all in ebook form.

* Novels: “Cryoburn”:amazon by Lois M. Bujold. At first I thought, well, this story has been written before. But ended up feeling like very compelling. “Blackout”:amazon by Connie Willis. Eh. Gave up. Vaguely ridiculous plotting. “Feed”:amazon by Mira Grant. Read this earlier in the year, it is a great tide. My vote. Still two more to read tho.

* Novellas: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang. Interesting speculation on the maturation of artificially intelligent programs, a little mechanistic but interesting. The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window by Rachel Swirsky. A nearly immortal sorceress thru the ages, good but not great.
The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon by Elizabeth Hand. Fanciful, touching, not really my taste. Troika by Alistair Reynolds. Russians exploring a uniquely russian alien spacecraft, yawn. The Sultan of the Clouds by Geoffrey A. Landis. Very nice tale of a far future Venus, where the atmosphere is settled by humans. I like the Landis tale.

* Novelette: Eight Miles by Sean McMullen. Steampunk, an exiled martian and balloonist partner up. The Emperor of Mars by Allen M. Steele. A touching story of a Mars colonist dealing with incredible grief. The jaguar House in Shadow by Aliette de Bodard. Intrigue in a modern day Aztec empire. Nice atmosphere, would love to read more. That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made by Eric James Stone. A Mormon missionary in the sun, reaching out to plasma beings — original.
Plus or minus by James Patrick Kelly. Disaster strikes a cargo hauler on way from asteroids, some quality characters. Both the de Bodard and Stone stories are memorable.

* Short Stories: Amaryllis by Carrie Vaughn. Life on a resource-constrained world. Lots of characterization in a short story, could certainly support a longer tale. Ponies by Kij Johnson. Wow, super nasty dark story about kids and cliques. The Things by Peter Watts. The thing, told from its perspective — Nicely done. I really like the Watts story