book log: 2016 Hugos

I’m working my way through my treeware notebook, and have found some notes from my Hugo reading stint which it appears I never posted at the time. Here, have some belated Hugo thoughts. :-)

Naomi Kritzer — Cat pictures please

Gentle, funny short about what happens when a search engine wakes up and wants to be helpful. It has more sense than to expose its existence, so it tries to do good deeds by stealth. I was smiling on every page. Lovely if slightly creepy little story about the potential benefits of AI.

Available free at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_01_15/

Brooke Bolander — And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead

Take one part pulp, one part cyberpunk, add a shot of very cheap bourbon, and shake well. Watch the resulting foul mouthed guttersnipe of a synthetic person take on a security AI at its own game; or maybe the reverse. Bolander sketches in some fascinating world building with a few brief sentences, but the focus is on the rescue mission Rhye’s been press-ganged into. It’s a fast moving tale with a satisfying conclusion, and deserves a spot on the Hugo ballot.

Available free at http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/

Chuck Tingle — Space Raptor Butt Invasion

Okay. There’s back story on what this is doing on the Hugo ballot. It is not your typical nominee. Onwards…

Our hero is one of two men (definitely men) manning a remote observation station somewhere on a remote planet. The story opens as his teammate leaves at the end of his assignment, with no replacement arriving. Budget cuts mean the station will be solo manned from now on, and our hero will be the only living thing on the planet. So what is that mysterious space suited figure he thinks he’s seen?

So far, it’s a pitch perfect pastiche of Golden Age pulp. I have read the stories. I could make a guess at what happens next.

What happens next is that it segues into a pastiche of pulp gay porn, only with two guys stuck with solo duty on their respective nation’s planetary observation base. One of whom is a dinosaur…

Dr Tingle had far too much fun ramming every possible porn cliché into his tight virgin word processor. This is really not my taste in porn, not least because it pastiches bad pulp punctuation, but it’s very funny. My verdict as a Hugo voter is that this story gets No Awarded, but I am nominating the good Doctor’s performance art in response to its nomination for next year’s Best Related Work category.
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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