Two parallel stories, one about an understandable, but impetuous act during World War 2 with potentially devastating personal and political consequences for all involved, and the other about a 30 something librarian who suddenly finds themselves enmeshed in the hidden bureaucracy of the supernatural come together in some excellent world building.
Novellas are almost exclusively short novels, self contained and fully fleshed out. I was expecting good things given that one is a sequel to a novella I liked last year (A Heart Shaped Door), another by an author I liked last year (Sarah Gailey), and a third is the sequel to a 2016 winner (Binti).
I didn’t intend to write more about the Orville, yet here we are. Command Performance shares 95% of it’s DNA with a lower tier TNG episode. It starts with the ship receiving a distress signal from a freighter and arriving to find that the ship is carrying Captain Mercer’s parents. Since the third in command […]
A loyal commander teams up with a traitorous general to crush a rebellion through a combination of super advanced weapons and manipulation of the calender.
Weird is easy. Believably, coherently and off-puttingly weird is much harder…
A member of the filth finds his calling as the police’s newest, and nearly only, wizard.
Peter Grant is not your typical urban fantasy protagonist. For starters he’s a cop, and an extremely junior one at that. More importantly, at the beginning of the series, not a very good cop: better than a hanger, but lacking in the instincts and discipline that would make him stand out. He’s also black, which matter less then it might have in the past, but certainly carries varying degrees of baggage in the Police, London, and England respectively.
The first book is in this series is pretty close to the platonic ideal of Napoleonic ships and Dragons. As the series continues however, Novik sets her sights on bigger things, and does something laudable that many fantasy authors never do – thinks through the consequences of her premise. Over the course of the next five novels, she examines the extension of the franchise, slavery, colonialism, mercantilism, and the conflict between honor and duty, through the prism of a world where power is shifted by the existence of Dragon’s weighing 10’s of tons.
As mentioned before this is not strictly a Hugo category, it just uses the same voting system with the same electorate and is given out at the same time. It’s also an odd duck, as novels duke it out with short stories and mixtures of both. Still, the Campbell Award often ends up being my favourite slate – in previous years I have preferred the novels represented here to those in the novel category.
The Novelette and Novella are the ugly step children of the Hugos, novelette being a long short story, and a novella being a short novel. Nonetheless, they are often have the most diversity in offerings of the categories. This slate of novellas is particularly strong, with five of the six stories being excellent and deserving of award.