Second Wave of Short Fiction

Last week, I finished listening to or reading the rest of the short fiction I had earmarked for perusal before end of year in a previous post. I’m very grateful to the podcasts of various SFF magazines that fit perfectly into my daily commute. Many of the authors below are new to me. Only Aliette de Bodard, KJ Parker and Sarah Pinsker have I read previously.

December 16th I listened to “Portrait of the Artist” by KJ Parker (3.5-4 stars) published in a special double-issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. After dinner I read “The Imaginary Palace of the Winter King” by Sarah Tolmie (3.5-4 stars) from the February 2019 edition of Strange Horizons. “Winter King” was also available via a podcast but I felt like reading the ebook edition I receive as a Patreon of that magazine.

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Reading the Hugo Best Short Story Finalists (2018 & 1943)

While I’m waiting on my interlibrary loan requests to be fulfilled for the 1943 Retro Hugo short fiction finalists, I’ve begun reading the current Hugo short fiction finalists, starting with the short stories.  These are easily completed during my lunch break or during half of my daily commute, if an audio edition is available.  As of Sunday morning, April 9th, I’ve only got one short story left to read.  I didn’t want to wait to post though so you’ll need to come back to this post to see how I rated it and what my preliminary voting order will be for my final ballot later this summer.  When I update this post, and the others like it that are forthcoming, I will make a brief update post linking back to the updated original post.

  • Update 4/9/2018: Read two of the 1943 Retro Hugo finalists and added comments below.
  • Update 4/14/2018:  Added links to my GoodReads mini-reviews.
  • Update 4/19/2018: Read the last of the 2018 Hugo Finalists (see list below)
  • Update 4/28/2018:  The final ILL arrived and I was able to read Clement’s “Proof,” which was surprisingly good (for early hard SF) and reminded me of one of my essay‘s from last semester’s Intro to Astronomy class.  DAW’s “Mimic” was to entomological for my tastes.  That leaves just one 1942 short story left to read.
  • Update 5/3/2018:  Finished off the short story finalists today by listening to Asimov’s “Runaround” through the audiobook edition of I, Robot.

Note on formatting of this post and those that will follow:  You’ll see a nested list with the first level being the title/author/publication/date published of the finalist entry.  The second level will be my comments, reviews and ratings.  The third level will be my preliminary ranked vote.  Here’s an explanation of the Hugo Voting System:

Many people find the Hugo voting system (called “Instant Runoff Voting“) very complicated. While the process is indeed involved, the basic idea is simple and the intention is laudable. Basically the idea is to make sure that the winner has majority support. In ordinary governmental elections it is possible for the winner to be someone that 40% of the people like and 60% of the people hate, because that 60% could not agree among themselves on a candidate. The Hugo voting system is designed to avoid results like that.

The Voting System, The Hugo Awards

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Annual Hugo Reading Bonanza Times Two

Last Saturday, the finalists for this year’s Hugo Awards were announced, along with the companion Retro Hugo Award finalists. So I get double the fun again this year, like I had two years ago. I already have read, borrowed or will son buy or borrow the finalists for the current awards. Finding the reading material for the Retro Hugos can often be challenging. To that end, I’ve requested five anthologies via interlibrary loans and have already placed on hold and borrowed two anthologies and two novels containing works originally published in 1942. My thanks to Auxiliary Memory‘s fantastic research in his post just one day after the announcement “Where to Read the 1943 Retro Hugo Short Fiction Nominees?

The biggest shock came when I retrieved my holds from the Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch earlier this week. Two of the 1942 novels had arrived and I wished I brought a tote or backpack to help carry them. I really don’t mind reading tomes – epic fantasy is my bread and butter – but I’ve switched to ebooks which are infinitely less heavy physically speaking. When I went to the Holds shelf I groaned to see that Islandia by Wright was at least two inches thick and over a thousand pages long. Good thing I decided to start early on my Hugo finalist reading! Continue reading “Annual Hugo Reading Bonanza Times Two”

Audiobook Review: Minority Report and Other Stories by PKD (3.1 Stars)

Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick

Narrated by Keir Dullea

3.1 out of 5 stars

Read in August 2013

Once again I find myself loving and hating PKD’s writing.  He created and imagined very intriguing stories and ideas.  I just don’t always agree with his buried (sometimes not so subtly) political ramblings.  I liked the title story, but not nearly as well as I liked the movie (even with Cruise starring in it).  I should have waited and read the story first, I suppose.

I found the gem in this collection to be the one called “Second Variety.”  I wanted more, much more, from that dimension.  I did think the protagonist was a bit slow on the uptake, though, as I thought the actions of the undercover antagonists to be obvious and telegraphed (pardon the pun).

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