For the first time on this adventure, I read every single nomination. Granted, the time invested in reading short stories is, well, short. But I’ll take credit where I can get it.
BEST SHORT STORY 2014
- “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013) – Read (3 stars); #2
- “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013) – Read (3.5 stars); #1
- “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013) – Read; just okay; #4
- “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013) – Read; just okay; #3
None of the short stories from 2014 jumped out and grabbed me. I had a hard time picking one I liked enough to give it the number one spot. Short stories really must pack a punch to impress me and none of these even gave me a love tap. I finally settled on “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” though “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was an interesting read.
BEST SHORT STORY 1939
- “The Faithful” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938) – #2 rated 3 stars
- “Helen O’Loy” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938) – #1 rated 4 stars
- “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma” by Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938) – #5 rated 2 stars
- “How We Went to Mars” by Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938) – requested via anthology – #3 rated 3 stars
- “Hyperpilosity” by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938) – #4 rated 2.5 to 3 stars
Only one short story was not included in the late-arriving 1939 Retro Hugo voting packet: “How We Went to Mars” by Clarke. Luckily, I found a huge anthology of Clarke’s stories via my local library and quickly requested it. I really enjoyed reading all of the short stories from the 30s. My favorite quickly became Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy” which I think is a timeless tale. His other story, “The Faithful” also struck a chord with me. Clarke’s “How We Went to Mars” felt very British to me, in a comedic way. The last two were interesting, but too weird or strange for my taste.
Closing Thoughts on Short Stories
I think the art of the short story needs a revival. The forefathers of science fiction had a good grasp of the punch factor necessary to craft a good story in a concise presentation. I much preferred the nominations from 1939 to those of 2014.
Next Time: Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)