The following are the nine finalists for the Hugo and/or Nebula Award for Best Novelette of 2017. A novelette is defined as a work of fiction between 7,500 and 17,500 words. The works are from a variety of authors of different genders and different backgrounds, and the works themselves are diverse, from horror through to hard science fiction. A delightful batch of reading.
My favorite of the below group, and probably my favorite finalist overall for this year, is “Wind Will Rove”. Reading it wound me up, in all the best of ways.
I hope you do your own reading and find a story that winds you up in all the best of ways. Enjoy!
Children of Thorns, Children of Water by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017). Hugo
A fantasy set in an alternate war-town Paris, about love and loyalty.
Dirty Old Town by Richard Bowes (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction May/June 2017). Nebula
A character study, with the surrounding family, set in what I believe is a magical realism world. Interesting.
Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, February 15, 2017). Hugo
A caper story with a competent former assassin, language issues, cultural issues, and a determined sexual partner. Fun.
A Human Stain by Kelly Robson (Tor.com, January 4, 2017). Nebula
Horror. Not my type of story at all.
The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017). Hugo
Artificial intelligence, and robots, is apparently on everyone’s mind these days. There are a number of stories in this year’s finalists that address the issues of bots with more or less independent action. This little bot, old and outdated, uses outdated logic to cause trouble. That the trouble has other consequences is important. I’m loving these bot stories!
A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld January 2017). Both
More of a science fiction caper story than anything else, this is a fun look at the world of 3D printing forgeries. The Asian (China) setting, which would usually turn me off, was incidental to the fun. Helena and Lily are a lovely couple and the final twist is lovely.
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny May/June 2017). Both
A vampire story with a twist, this is a fascinating examination of identity, choice and consent. Disturbing.
Weaponized Math by Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3). Nebula
Grace is a sniper from the future. The story shows a day in her life, protecting her fellow Marines from enemies, and watching far too many day. Not my usual cup of tea, but the story is well done.
Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s September/October 2017). Both
As I said, this is my favorite. A science fiction story, set in a generation ship, after the cultural databases were wiped, and the travelers have been recreating what they had. It’s an examination of art, education, history, and copy errors, and the love necessary for all of it. Dear to my heart and well-written.