Friday, March 20, 2009

Hugo Awards 2009: Novella winner, nominees & my rankings

Anticipation has posted this year's Hugo Award nominees. Fiction nominations apply to work originally published during the year 2008.
Update 10 August 2009: Winners announced.

Note: Novella is 17.5 to 40 thousand words, according to Hugo Award definition, with a 20% leeway at boundaries.

Disclosure: Last year's short story, novelette, & novella official winners each happened to be the first on my rankings. In 2007, novella winner was my first preference, short story winner was my second preference, & novelette winner was my last choice! So you know I'm not the official oracle:)
Incidentally, 2007 novelette winner was a story about India, a subject where I usually have preferences very different from those of Western readers - probably because of familiarity.

I include the download links for stories I know are online. Link on author, editor, or publisher name yield more works from the source. Link on story title goes to my post on the story, if I have one. My rating is in brackets.

Novella nominees (5 stories, best first, unread last).

  1. Robert Reed's "Truth" (A); download; Asimov's, October/November 2008: A group of time traveling Muslim terrorists from 140 years in future have entered our time with their advanced technology, & are wrecking havoc.
  2. [winner] Nancy Kress' "The Erdmann Nexus" (A); download; Asimov's, October/November 2008; mysticism: Next evolution in human consciousness has made some people eligible to joint some sort of cosmic uber-consciousness. Story has strong Hindu influences.
  3. Charles Coleman Finlay's "The Political Prisoner" (B); download; F&SF, August 2008: Description of a very violent political purge in a Jewish society.
  4. Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow's "True Names" (B); download; Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward 2": Fight of 3 cosmic-scale computronia - a protector of all kinds of diverse life, a destroyer, & a child of protector that has turned against its own creator.

    Very jargon filled, some of it requires programming background to comprehend. But readable if you can get past this.
  5. Ian McDonald's "The Tear" (C); Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "Galactic Empires"; space opera: Star faring "panhumans" killing each other, destroying whole worlds, creating new universes, etc. While that's ok for space opera, what bugged me was the sheer abundance of utterly incomprehensible sentences.


  1. Hugo Awards 2009: novelettes, short stories, novels.
  2. Other awards choosing "best of 2008" fiction: Nebula Awards 2008 (US); BSFA Awards 2008 (UK); Aurealis Awards 2008 (Australia); Prix Aurora 2009 (Canada).
  3. My "best of 2008" picks (includes links to more "best of 2008" lists, including various anthologies that collect last year's fiction).
  4. Last year's Hugos: short stories, novelettes, novellas.
  5. Hugo award fiction (includes past winners & nominees).
  6. Fiction by & about Hugo Gernsback, the man after whom Hugo Awards are named.
  7. "Best of" lists.