In just under a month, as I write this, the Hugo awards will have been announced. One of the two major science fiction awards, it's an event that massively increases the profile of everything nominated, let alone the winners. which, if you're a short story fan, is particularly good news. Let's face it, we pretty much live in the future and as a result it's very easy to find these stories online, legally and free, to read or listen to. So, for the delectation of your brainmeats, here are this year's Hugo Short Fiction finalists:
The Cartographer Wasps And The Anarchist Bees
by E Lily Yu
(Courtesy of Clarkesworld Magazine)
This is a fascinating, often chilling, look at how society changes, told through the tribulations of a bee colony. Smart, satirical, blackly funny and well worth your time.
by Mike Resnick
(Courtesy of Asimov's magazine)
Mike Resnick is the master of carefully considered, character-driven and often tragic SF. This is Resnick at his best, a story that begins with the horrors of being old and infirm in the future and culminates in something richer, stranger and much more hopeful.
by Nancy Fulda
(Courtesy of Asimov's Magazine)
Hannah is a talented young autistic woman who enjoys dancing and has a deep, profound connection with her world despite being unable to communicate that in the accepted way. Nancy Fulda’s story is a beautifully-realised, deeply poignant story about the twin prisons of adolescence and autism, told through the lens of a young girl who lives on another planet. It's one of the best stories on this list.
The Paper Menagerie
by Ken Liu
(Courtesy of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
The fragile creations of origami mirror the fragile constructions of childhood in Ken Liu’s story. Two cultures, and two ages, collide in a story about what happens when origami animals come to life, and what it means for the innocence of the main character.
Shadow War Of The Night Dragons
Book One: The Dead City: Prologue
by John Scalzi
(Courtesy of Tor.com)
Deep within Skalandarharia lies the castle, Smaelkaven. Deep within Smaelkaven lies an experiment involving leeches, chess and a lot of slapping. All of these take place beneath the sort of dark and stormy night that only the best (and worst) fantasy novels start with. John Scalzi, author of the superb Old Man's War , affectionately skewers the heroic fantasy genre with this story of heroic heroism and dirty deeds.
So that's the list. Some you can listen to, some you can read and all of them represent some of the best genre fiction being published today. The future starts here, so go take a look. Believe me it's worth it.