I think this will be the last one, because quite frankly I think I have reached the limit of the amount of short fiction I am willing to seek out of my own accord. (If there are other stories you really think I should read, that might be different.) But there are a bunch of interesting stories that I wanted to tell you guys about!
These are in order of most liked to least (within categories), and I have put an asterisk next to ones that are currently on my ballot. Novellas
*The Citadel of Weeping Pearls
(Aliette de Bodard) (available if you are nominating for the Hugo by contacting the author here
) - oh! Yeah. This one's great. Interesting non-white-male worldbuilding/characters with what I thought was a satisfying arc, although I could totally see others differing on that.
(Iona Sharma) - Fantasy (magic Britain with trains). I really liked this one, and I liked Sharma's short story set in the same universe even more — I liked that it was first about characters and second about solving a puzzle, with the worldbuilding something to be untangled as the characters went along.
*The New Mother
(Eugene Fischer) - This is near-future SF with interesting ideas. I liked the journalistic bits a lot.Novelettes
*Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan, Ian McDonald (in Old Venus
) - Apparently this has been recced around everywhere, and I finally got it from the library, and it is in fact extremely good writing and a really interesting story that takes the tropes of old Venusian pulp and refashions them into something rich and strange. Definitely up there as Hugo-worthy.
*So Much Cooking
(Naomi Kritzer) - Awwwww, this is a super cute and also kind of heartbreaking but also heartwarming story. Food blog during an epidemic.
"Another Word for World" (Ann Leckie) (Future Visions) - I mean, Leckie is a wonderful writer, and this story about two very different women who have to communicate over a language barrier is no exception. But I did feel that the resolution of the story was something that should have occurred to anyone who had ever studied a second language and not be this huge surprise to all the characters.
"Machine Learning" (Nancy Kress) (Future Visions) - So, like, there's this emotional story in here that is probably pretty good, and then there's this near-future machine learning stuff that… I just… okay, see, I know a little about the field from work and I kept saying, but… but it doesn't really work like that… people don't actually think about it
like that… and it drove me batty. This is not a rec; if anything it's an anti-rec; I just had to rant about it.Short Stories
*Game of Smash and Recovery
(Kelly Link) - Families? Sort of. Kelly Link, anyway. So, this is a really interesting story, and the more I think about it the more I like it.
*"Hello, Hello" (Seanan McGuire) (Future Visions) - Have I mentioned I am a sucker for stories about families? I am a sucker for stories about families, especially parents and children, and this is a cheerful story about a family and machine learning and I found the family really well done, and I just really liked it.
*Nine Thousand Hours
(Iona Sharma) - Set in the same universe as her novella above. I read this story and really didn't understand what was happening until the end, at which point I read the whole thing again. It's got to be good if you can get me to do that. I will warn you that not much actually happens in this story (the big action happens before the story). But it's still a cool story. I am definitely nominating Sharma for the Campbell, even if this gets knocked off my ballot.Remembery Day
(Sarah Pinsker) - About memory and war. I liked this a lot. Not on my ballot through lack of space.