Reading the Best Novelette Finalists (2018 & 1943)

I predict it will take me longer to get through the Best Novelette category than any of the other short fiction categories.  Most modern novellas and some of the short stories are available in audio format.  Thanks to Heinlein’s continued popularity, most of his fiction is still in print and some of it, including “Goldfish Bowl,” has been re-released in an anthology that is also available as an audiobook.  The same can be said for Asimov’s Foundation fiction, which I own in ebook format but have requested the audio CD from my local library.

Another of my interlibrary loan requests arrived last week so I have everything I need to finish reading the finalists for Best Novelette.  I’m especially looking forward to reading the lone female author from 1942, C.L. Moore and do plan on reading the entire anthology žMiracle in Three Dimensions, which contains the nominated “There Shall Be Darkness” novelette (see original cover from Astounding Science Fiction below).

  • Update 4/17/2018:  Finished reading ‘Extracurricular Activities’ over breakfast this morning.
  • Update 4/27/2018:  This week I finished “The Secret Life of Bots” and “The Weapon Shop” and I’m reading “Star-Mouse” sporadically.
  • Update 4/28/2018:  Finished “Star-Mouse” which leaves one modern and one retro novelette to read.
  • Update 5/6/2018: Finished “There Shall Be Darkness” and on of the two Asimov Foundation novelettes.
  • Update 5/25/2018:  Finished the last 2018 novelette last week.

Current Hugo Finalists:

Best Novelette (2018)

  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water,” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017)
    • Not read yet, but soon
    • Started reading this in the KC airport waiting to board my delayed flight 4/15/2018
    • Read week of 5/13/2018; liked it. (3.5 stars)
      • 4
  • “Extracurricular Activities,” by Yoon Ha Lee (, February 15, 2017)
    • Created an ebook from the online edition to make it easier to read on my tablet
    • Really enjoyed this novelette.  Like it (3.5 stars; read 4/16-17/2018)
      • 3
  • “The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
    • Loved this. I want more Bot 9. (4 stars, read 4/17-18/2018)
      • 2
  • “A Series of Steaks,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017)
    • Listened to it across two commutes (morning/evening of one work day)
    • Liked it. (3-3.5 stars, read 4/4/2018)
      • 5
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
    • Read this over lunch and wish I hadn’t.  Not exactly appetizing for non-vampires.
    • Meh.  (2 stars, read 4/5/2018)
      • 6
  • “Wind Will Rove,” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017)
    • There were a couple of PDF editions available for download from the magazine and the author.  Will read them soon.
    • Started reading this before breakfast on 4/16/2018
    • I really liked this story, partly because my daughter is a musicologist but also because I love music and its evolution/revolution. And there’s a generation ship. (4 stars; read 4/16/2018)
      • 1


Retro Hugo Finalists:

Best Novelette (1942)

  • “Bridle and Saddle,” by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1942)
    • Previously read (2009) the print edition of Foundation.
    • I own the ebook Foundation just in case I want to refresh my memory.
    • Alternate title “The Mayors”
      • 3
  • “Foundation,” by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1942)
    • Previously read (2009) the print edition of Foundation.
    • I own the ebook Foundation in case I need to re-read.
    • Alternative title “The Encyclopedists”
    • Listened to Part Two of the audiobook Founation entitled “The Encyclopedists on Friday and Saturday, May 4th and 5th.
      • 2
  • “Goldfish Bowl,” by Anson MacDonald (Robert A. Heinlein) (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1942)
    • Part of the Menace From Earth anthology which I’ll be listening via Hoopla soon.
    • Finally reached the point in this anthology (timestamp 04:46:50) for this novelette the evening of 4/13/2018
    • Started listening to this on a flight from KC to STL 4/15/2018
    • Finished  listening to this while walking from hotel to SLC HB office 4/16/2018
    • Interesting but may re-listen to this when I have less distractions.  3.5 stars
      • 1
  • “The Star Mouse,” by Fredric Brown (Planet Stories, Spring 1942)
    • Included in the Adventures in Time and Space anthology
    • Read week of 4/23/2018
    • Cute, delightful, poignant first contact story of mice and men and tiny aliens. (3.5 stars)
      • 6
  • “There Shall Be Darkness,” by C.L. Moore (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1942)
    • ILL request out for Miracle in Three Dimensions anthology received 4/14/2018
    • Read “There Shall Be Darkness” as well as “Miracle in Three Dimensions” the week of April 30th.  I liked the former (3-3.5 stars), but loved the latter (3.5-4 stars).
      • 5
  • “The Weapon Shop,” by A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1942)
    • Also included in the Adventures in Time and Space anthology
    • Read 4/22/2018; Very odd short story of a strange political philosophy. (3 stars)
      • 4

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