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Hugo Award Recommendations
Review by Sam Tomaino
Event  ISBN/ITEM#: 080405WC
Date: 08/04/2005 / Show Official Info /

By the time you read this you?ll have a week or less to vote for this year?s Hugo Awards. As SFRevu?s resident Short Fiction reviewer, I?d like to pass along my recommendations for those awards. Here is the order that I will vote for the short fiction awards this year.

For Novella, my number one choice is ?Sergeant Chip? by Bradley Denton. I liked this story so much it was included in my own nominations. ?Sergeant Chip? is actually a dog whose mind has been boosted and, as his name implies, has been sent off to war. He winds up showing more human qualities than some humans in the story. Next is ?Time Ablaze,? by the always reliable Michael Burstein. This is a story of time travel and the history of New York City and a disaster almost a century before 9/11/01. My third choice is ?The Concrete Jungle? by Charles Stross. I am not a big fan of Stross but this story is a combination of H.P. Lovecraft and Len Deighton and not much like his other science fiction. In fourth place is Lois McMaster Bujold?s ?Winterfair Gifts.? This is the story of Miles Vorkosigan?s wedding to Eklaterina Vorsoisson. It?s mostly about Armsman Roic who also benefits from the ceremony. Now, truth be told, these stories were all excellent and I could have voted for them in any order. This is not the case of the fifth choice, ?Elector? by Charles Stross. This is end of the series of stories that began with ?Lobsters? and is an example of a Stross story I do not care for.

The Novelettes also have some great stories. My first place choice is ?The People of Sand and Slag? by Paolo Baciagalupi. This is a great little tale of ?improved? humans and what happens when they encounter a unimproved dog. My second place choice is ?The Clapping Hands of God? from Michael F. Flynn. In this story, a group from Earth are observing an alien culture from afar. They find out that first impressions aren?t always right. Next comes ?Biographical Notes to A Discourse on the ?Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes by Benjamin Rosenbaum? by Benjamin Rosenbaum.? As this was in a collection of Zeppelin stories, this story involves such a craft but is an alternate world story in which the author has placed his alternative world self. In fourth place is ?The Faery Handbag? by Kelly Link. A young woman finds out that her grandmother?s handbag is not of this world and this causes some big problems for her. Last is ?The Voluntary State? by Christopher Rowe which was one of the few SCIFICTION stories from last year that I didn?t like. All, I?ll say about it is that it takes place in Tennessee.

Last on the list are the Short Stories and the best of them for me is ?Travels With My Cats? by Michael Resnick. This is the only other nominated story that was part of my nomination list. It?s about a rare book and a man meeting a woman form another time. My second choice is also by Michael Resnick, ?A Princess of Earth.? A widower encounters a man claiming to be John Carter of Mars. Carter want to get back to his princess and the narrator decides he wants to do the same. My third choice is ?Decisions? by Michael Burstein. This story involves an astronaut traveling to the outer reaches of our solar system and what he does for humanity when he gets there. My fourth choice is ?The Best Christmas Ever? by James Patrick Kelly. A man is showered with gifts but must decide what is really important. The last story on my list is ?Shed Skin? by Robert J. Sawyer. It posits a moral problem that results when people download their memories to more durable bodies. I did not care for the way Sawyer resolved it.

So that?s my list for Short Fiction. I notice that of my top choices, two involve dogs and the third cats. I?m not even a pet lover. How did that happen?

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