This category was difficult this year — they nominated the 14
volume sequence “The Wheel of Time” in it’s entirety. It’s about
6 times the length of War and Peace. I only had time to read 2
times the length of War and Peace between when they sent out the
voter packet and when I had to vote.
It’s possible that when (if, but I’m sort of enjoying it) I
finish it, I will be bowled over and wish I had voted for it over
the three I ranked ahead of it, but really, if anyone had ever
said anything about it that made me want to read it, I would have
read some of it by now. The first volume was imitation Tolkein
by someone with a tin ear for language. I’m sort of glad I pushed
on — it improves pretty fast after that. But I’m not finding
reading the online summaries is anything like reading the books,
so I’m going to just continue reading them in order.
So my choices are:
- Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
- Parasite by Mira Grant
- The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon
- Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles
The first three of those are what I consider “normal” science
fiction — examinations of the impact of some kind of technology
on the lives of the characters. The Stross got first place
because I thought both the technology idea (how do you do banking
over interstellar distances?) and the characters were a bit more
interesting than the Leckie and the Grant.
I voted for “The Wheel of Time” over “Warbound” because if it
does turn out to be a good fantasy series, it will be much more
the kind of thing I want to read than the “Grimnoir Chronicles”.
(I should mention that in addition to the 14 volume series
nominated as a whole, the publishers of Warbound also gave us all
three volumes of this series, and I’m not sure I’d have wanted to
read Volume III on its own.) It seems to be SF for the video
games generation, and in spite of some good writing in between the
action scenes, I found it difficult to slog through.
I considered voting for “No Award” ahead of “Warbound”, but I
decided that it was well enough written to justify an award if
that’s the kind of SF the voters really want.
- “Equoid” by Charles Stross
- Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
- “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
- “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad Torgersen
- The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
The top three of these are all excellent stories. The other
two lack characterization. I voted for the Stross over the
Valente and the Duncan because I thought the Science Fiction (a
proposed life cycle for the Unicorn) was better. “Wakulla
Springs” is a well-written story, but really not SF at
all. “Six-Gun Snow White” is brilliant in spots, but doesn’t
really hang together at the end.
- “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang
- “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
- “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
- “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen
- “Opera Vita Aeterna” by Vox Day
Again, any of the top three would be a good award winner. I
didn’t remember until I’d filled out my ballot that the Vox Day
was controversial, but I figure it doesn’t matter because I didn’t
like it without any political motivations.
- “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu
- “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar
- “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky
- “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Here, I do feel strongly that my number one vote is better than
the others, although I certainly won’t be surprised if something
else wins. I don’t feel strongly about the ranking of two and