I’ve read three of the novels on the 2011 Hugo Awards shortlist that was announced yesterday, including The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, which is my top choice so far. I have yet to read the Connie Willis and the Lois McMaster Bujold. When I have finished them I’ll give my rankings in a post on this blog.
In the novella category, I’ve read all five of the nominees and I think this is a solid category. Four of these stories are very strong. "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" is an easy choice for me. The story is beautifully written. Its dovetailing stories are nostalgic and wonderfully poignant. My ballot ranking:
1. "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand (Stories)
2. “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
3. "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean)
4. "Troika" by Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines)
5. "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov's)
The main omission on the novella list is "Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance" by Paul Park (F&SF), which would have given “McCauley's Bellerophon" competition for the top spot on my ballot. "Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance" is a challenging story, and popular-vote awards don't usually reward stories that take a little effort on the part of the reader. Gratifyingly, "Ghosts" is on the Nebula Award shortlist.
I haven’t read enough of other nominees to comment just yet. If the creek don’t rise, I will comment on each of the fiction categories, and perhaps some others, too.
2011 Hugo Award Nominees
2011 Hugo Nominations: Novella