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Worlds Without End Blog

2013 Hugo Short Stories, Unleashed! Posted at 4:36 PM by Rico Simpkins



Perhaps the most popular blog series WWEnd had last year were the ones that covered free Hugo nominated content. With the recent announcement of the 2013 nominees, we are, once again, covering nominated works, including short stories, novelettes, novellas, graphic novels and related works. In the coming weeks, we will be looking in every nook and cranny to determine where you can find all of the stories that you should read in order to have an informed opinion on who should win. Here is what we have found (so far) on the short stories.

First, we highly recommend LoneStarCon 3 (A.K.A. Worldcon 2013) membership. If you can’t afford an attending membership of $200 (as of this writing, installment plan available) or can’t make it out to San Antonio, the supporting membership is only $60, and it will include digital copies of (most, if not all of) the novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories for your perusing. The novels alone would cost more than $60 to buy.  If history is any indication, the reading packets will be out by May.

The first thing you’ll notice about this year’s nominees is the dearth of short stories.  This is apparently because of a clause in the WSFS constitution that states:

No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

I’m not sure what to think of that rule.  It seems to me that it might discourage diversity in the nomination process.  Well known authors are more likely to get a larger concentration of votes, and excluding the fourth and fifth place nominees just because the top three authors are hogging the votes seems counter-intuitive.  Wouldn’t you want to expose more authors rather than fewer?

At any rate, all three nominated short stories can be read for free online right now.  I also included the original publication dates, in case you just want to go out and buy the original book or back issue:

  • Immersion”, by Aliette de Bodard was nominated for Nebula and BSFA awards, so has been online for a while, now.  It was first published by Clarkesworld in their June 2012 issue.  Enhance your daily commute by listening to the audio version, downloadable here.
  • Mantis Wives”, by Kij Johnson is also available in the pages Clarkesworld, in their August 2012 issue.  The audio version of the story is available here.
  • Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu was published as part of an anthology by VIZ Media, engilted  The Future is Japanese.  To read it, go to click on the “Look inside” preview feature from the book’s Amazon listing (or just click here) and scroll down to the first full story.  No, it may not be the most convenient method for accessing the story, but you could always buy the anthology (the Kindle version is only $3.99).  If the publisher makes the story available elsewhere online, we’ll update this page.

It’s a tad disappointing to see such a short list, but maybe it’s enough to keep you occupied until we publish the novelettes list (coming soon).   On the bright side, it won’t be hard to read every nominated short story, so that part of the ballot will be easy for you to fill out.

Next up: Novelettes!


valashain   |   31 Mar 2013 @ 17:03

Three is not a whole lot but given the very low number of votes I think that rule makes some sense.The total is somewhere between six and seven hundred if I remember correctly. Even with the five percent rule, if you can convince your family to buy a membership you’re in. A little clever campaigning got Thomas Olde Heuvelt on the ballot. I have met him on a couple of occasions but I very much doubt many SF readers in the English speaking world have heard of him before. His work that has been translated in English is very limited to say the least (which is not to say he isn’t a good writer, I enjoyed two of his novels an awful lot).

I haven’t read the other two (yet) but Immersion is a brilliant story.

icowrich   |   31 Mar 2013 @ 19:07

That’s a good point. Perhaps a minimum number of votes would work better? I can imagine a scenario where many people vote, but a high diversity of nominees could prevent many worthy stories from hitting 5%.

I can live with just three stories if raw number of nominations was that low. Perhaps we, in fandom, need to do a better job of getting the word out starting in January.

Scott Laz   |   01 Apr 2013 @ 17:59

“Back in the day” it seems like there was much more consensus about what stories might end up on the Hugo ballot, and short fiction was much more central to what fans were reading. Now we have fewer fans reading short fiction, while there is more than ever being published in lots of venues, especially online. We’re not all reading the same stories anymore, and we can’t nominate what we’re not reading… I still subscribe to the magazines, and keep my eye on the online releases, but tend to read only the stories by authors I already like, and so don’t hear about some of the best stories until after the Hugo nominations are done, by reading the “best of the year” books or seeing awards nominations.

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