Jul 122013
 

There are three entries in the Best Short Story category for the 2013 Hugo awards.

  • “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard ( Clarkesworld, June 2012)
  • “Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
  • Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

The short story category has only three nominees as, to be nominated:

3.8.5:
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.

So, either there were no other nominees with 5 or greater percent of the vote or these were the top three.

In “Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu has crafted a very good story about life, death and sacrifice. We see the story from the point of view of Hiroto. Hiroto tells us of his present in a lightsail generation ship launched from Earth. Hiroto tells us of his past as a child and learning of the disaster in an asteroid that is going to strike Earth. People react both poorly and well and Hiroto tells us something of what he thinks it means to be Japanese.

I am not sure I would really term “Mantis Wives” a short story and I’m not sure that I wouldn’t. It anthropomorphizes the Mantis and various sorts of the mating habits of the female. It is very short and may have been saying something else, but then maybe not.

“Immersion” is a decent story about the effects of technology and cultural impingement. It is set in the same universe as Bodard’s “On a Red Station Drfting.” It didn’t really succeed in sparking my interest. That doesn’t mean it won’t be of interest to someone else, of course.