2020 Hugo Finalists, the short stories

Here is what I thought of the Best Short Story finalists…


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Set in colonial India, during the Bengal famine of 1943. A revenge story with a magical twist. The story is harrowing and shows the brutality of colonial rule. However, the telling of it didn‘t really do much for me.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“An alternate history short story looking at decisions and consequences, and what it takes to pull the trigger.“

I really liked this. What a barbaric idea, although I can see where they are coming from. Not a decision that should be taken lightly and that can be debated hotly.

Knocking off half a star, because I am somewhat unsatisfied with the abrupt and open ending. Still debating with myself, if I consider this special enough for an award? Does it really bring anything new to the table?

Pretty cover art.


Rating: 2 out of 5.

 A young girl, a slave in the South, is presented with a moment where she can grasp for freedom, for change, for life. She grabs it with both hands, fiercely and intensely, and the spirit world is shaken.

Odd. Very wordy, very bloody, with a faint touch of romance and hope at the end. The tale was unsettling and had no rewarding features for me. 


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Climate fic. About storms, wind, sisters and mothers. It went right over my head, couldn‘t get into it.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270
(Beneath Ceaseless Skies #270)
by Scott H. Andrews (Editor)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

High fantasy, war, genderfluid characters. Death and blood and endless war. Loss, betrayal, hope.

Betrayal is a fearsome armor against love.

The world building was pretty good, but I did not connect with the characters. I liked the ending, although I did not really agree with the choices everyone made. It got me thinking though, so I can see why this is nominated for a Hugo.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I listened to the podcast on the Nightmare Magazine website. Very odd story. I am using the word story loosely here. To have a male narrator was an interesting choice. A story about colonialism.

From the author‘s website

Possibly the structurally weirdest thing I’ve ever written; it’s in the form of an MLA bibliography and it’s about colonialism in academia, monstrous appetites, and oh yes, lesbian cannibals.

Another one that went mostly over my head. While the structure of the narrative was clever and somewhat intriguing, it didn‘t really work for me. But that‘s on me.


So, that was all of the short story finalists for this year‘s Hugo Award. Not a great average for me this time around. Leaning strongly towards Fantasy—maybe that is the reason. I am more of SF and UF fan.

Which of these stories was your favourite?

Going places… if you have a ticket

SummerlandSummerland by Hannu Rajaniemi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

„You are a cruel woman, Mrs. Moore,“ he said between sips.
Reminiscent of Marvel‘s Agent Carter, Mrs. Moore is a secret agent… but that is just the beginning. Set in 1938, we get espionage and counter espionage, glimpses of the Spanish Civil War, the Old Boy‘s Clubs ruling Great Britain, one disenchanted female agent, communism, an alternate reality or rather, a netherworld of ghosts and mediums. Because in this world you go places, when you die. If you have something important to do and own a Ticket…

A little confusing at first, pretty good world building from the start. I had to refreshen my lacking knowledge of the Spanish Civil War, which was a lot of fun in itself.

Real spies and double-agents added extra interest to the story. And a whole bunch of other characters from real life, fitted into this ingenious world. I had a lot of fun looking up all of them.

Is the Zöllner camera based on Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner? Herbert Blanco West took me a bit to figure out… Very educating read, besides being entertaining.

Good pacing, suspenseful, not too predictable, well developed characters. I had a hard time picking sides, because I liked pretty much all of them. And in the end you do not (only) get the expected, which makes it fun. I would pick up a sequel, if there will be one. But this is fine as a stand-alone.

I received this free e-copy from Tor/Forge via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

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Hippos 2

Taste of Marrow (River of Teeth #2)Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like this more than the first book. It is more character driven. The first book was so much set-up, it bugged me. This though gets right into the story. We know the characters and there is more going on with them emotionally.

The plots is pretty simple and the resolution feels a bit rushed. But overall it was a satisfying read. I would pick up another book in this setting.

Apparently Gailey will publish a full length novel with Tor in 2019. So there is that to look forward to.

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