Hugo Awards Voting Adventure: Best Short Stories 2014 and 1939

For the first time on this adventure, I read every single nomination.  Granted, the time invested in reading short stories is, well, short.  But I’ll take credit where I can get it. 

BEST SHORT STORY 2014

  • “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013) – Read (3 stars); #2
  • “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013) – Read (3.5 stars); #1
  • “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013) – Read; just okay; #4
  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)Read; just okay; #3

None of the short stories from 2014 jumped out and grabbed me.  I had a hard time picking one I liked enough to give it the number one spot.  Short stories really must pack a punch to impress me and none of these even gave me a love tap.  I finally settled on “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” though “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was an interesting read.

BEST SHORT STORY 1939

  • “The Faithful” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938) – #2 rated 3 stars
  • “Helen O’Loy” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938) – #1 rated 4 stars
  • “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma” by Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938) – #5 rated 2 stars
  • “How We Went to Mars” by Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938) – requested via anthology – #3 rated 3 stars
  • “Hyperpilosity” by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938) – #4 rated 2.5 to 3 stars

Only one short story was not included in the late-arriving 1939 Retro Hugo voting packet:  “How We Went to Mars” by Clarke.  Luckily, I found a huge anthology of Clarke’s stories via my local library and quickly requested it.  I really enjoyed reading all of the short stories from the 30s.  My favorite quickly became Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy” which I think is a timeless tale.  His other story, “The Faithful” also struck a chord with me.  Clarke’s “How We Went to Mars” felt very British to me, in a comedic way.  The last two were interesting, but too weird or strange for my taste.

Closing Thoughts on Short Stories

I think the art of the short story needs a revival.  The forefathers of science fiction had a good grasp of the punch factor necessary to craft a good story in a concise presentation.  I much preferred the nominations from 1939 to those of 2014.

Next Time: Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

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About mossjon314159

Avid reader (see my book reviews and ratings here), amateur astronomer and photographer, sporadic crocheter and Rottweiler spoiler.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Science Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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