Post two of Hugos Homework, this time for the novella category.

This is another non-voting category, so same rules here as for the novels.

The works

  1. The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark. … yup. On the TBR.
  2. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Kelly Robson. Honestly I’m just into the premise of, like, “what if Ursula but good and sci-fi” so… TBR it goes.
  3. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard. Ee-ee-eh… Not entirely sold on this one, but prepared to give it a chance. Post-Ancillary Justice there seems to be a bit of trend of “mannered sci-fi”, which I can’t say I… love?1 I mean, I don’t hate the genre enough to not read it, it’s just that it needs another “in” for me outside the trope-voice, and I’m prepared to stick around long enough to try and find it.
  4. Artificial Condition, Martha Wells. Post-Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes recovery ficIN SPAAAAAACE!!! Not bad per se, but—as was my problem with a bunch of the novels—a continuation of a series I bounced hard off, in this instance due to an extremely personal and hyper-specific case of whatever the written equivalent of the Uncanny Valley effect is. That is, I like pretty much every trope here, and so should like this, but I just… can’t. Go figure.
  5. Beneath the Sugar Sky, Seanan McGuire. I’m sensing a theme here, but… yet another continuation of a series I bounce hard off. Ugh.
  6. The Night Masquerade, Nnedi Okorafor. Hits the mark of both being the third installment in a series I noped out of and written in a kind of hyper-Hemingway-slash-Brechtian-esque prose style2 I really find difficult to engage with. Extremely hard pass.

The thoughts

I mean I guess the real “winner” here is Tor, for essentially being the only Big 5 publisher to operate in this space and thus pretty much have this award on lockdown. Some of you may remember my hit-rate with Tor novellas is extremely low, which is the main reason I didn’t buy Black God’s Drums and Gods, Monsters when they hit the shelves of the Friendly Local Bookstore, though now I’ve got the voting packet copies I’ll definitely give them a shot.

In summary:

  • 3 × Mt. TBR additions I’ll get around to eventually
  • 1 × weirdly specific it’s-not-you-it’s-me Uncanny Valley experience
  • 2 × sequels to series I’m just not into.

Which is… at least a better hit rate than the novels category. I guess?

  1. Also, Ancillary Justice is totally not this. But I do think it’s kind of the text that… set this market, particularly with tropes like the gloves and the tea and the gross-weird Radchaai’s Burden colonialist savior narratives and whatnot. []
  2. “She did this. Then this. Then this happened. He thought this. Then did this. They somethinged.” []