Over the next few days I’ll be working my way through the Hugo finalists for Best Short Story. This is always an interesting category, with hits and misses, stronger years and weaker years but always with interesting gems and names to watch out for. It’s also one of the most accessible categories with stories typically available for free on the web (but please do consider supporting the sources financially through subscriptions or one off purchases.)
I’m shamelessly stealing JJ’s list from here http://file770.com/where-to-find-the-2020-hugo-award-finalists-for-free-online/ for links. I’ve added annotations.
- “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons September 9 2019) <- Nebula finalist, which I reviewed here: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/nebula-shorts-shiv-ramdas-and-now-his-lordship-is-laughing/
- “As the Last I May Know”, S.L. Huang (Tor.com October 23 2019)
- “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, Rivers Solomon (Tor.com July 24 2019)
- “A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny January-February 2019) <- Nebula Finalist, which I reviewed here: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/nebula-shorts-fran-wilde-a-catalog-of-storms/
- “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies January 2019)
- “Ten excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare May 2019) <- Nebula Finalist which I reviewed here https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/nebula-shorts-nibedita-sen-ten-excerpts-from-an-annotated-bibliography-on-the-cannibal-women-of-ratnabar-island/
The overlap with the Nebulas is typical but I prefered A.C.Wise’s How the Trick is Done to Fran Wilde’s Catalog of Storms. Having said that, the craft and ambition in Wilde’s story is manifest and I’m not surprised it got a Hugo nod. Ten Excerpts… I really liked but I’m a sucker for playing with non-fiction text forms to tell stories. And Now His Lordship is Laughing sits on the other side of the axis, using simpler structure to let the emotional punch of the story flow unhindered.
Three stories in and it is already a strong field. Tomorrow I’ll post a review of S.L.Huang’s As the Last I May Know and the other two stories in the next few days. Then I’ll sum up my thoughts but I doubt I’ll try a ranking at this point.