Today I’m doing the Best Novelette Category. I’m doing this mostly on impressions, less on analysis.
I’m giving the first story I read the first ranking: “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke. I thought it well written, good story, thoughtful issues. Everything else had to compare to it.
But “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai almost beat it out. This was good science fiction space opera, with accelerations and vectors played to with good versimilitude. If I’d read this first, I might have swapped the roles.
I put “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang third. It didn’t pull me in as much, but the science idea was quite intricate, and the sociological issue was well portrayed. I wonder if I missed too much with this one because I don’t have a Chinese sensibiliy.
I definitely rated it ahead of “Obits” by Stephen King. This was more of a horror story, low key, than science. I just recoiled with the coarse use of language. And that says something, when an episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit doesn’t phase me.
I’m sure I didn’t do justice by the last one: “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”. I could tell it had a real issue to investigate, but I just got put off by the writing and pacing, and changes of scenes, and use of violence…. I won’t go on with that list. I didn’t finish reading it. Doubtless it got better before the end, but it just wasn’t the sort of stuff that makes me stay up and finish.
So that is my perspective on the Best Novelette category.