Reading the Hugos (2018) Fandom for Robots

Fandom for Robots, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, is a 3530-word short story. It’s about fan fiction and fandoms, but I’m not sure it’s trully about robots. Some things happen, the robot-protagonist watches anime, fan fictions is described and ¿satirized? and the story ends with the (human) protagonist becoming Internet-popular.

These preceding sentences stood alone, in the draft version of this post, for a few days before I managed to write the rest (800 words,) which I have just deleted. Reading this short story was like a sort of reverse writer’s block, for although I had thousands of things to say about it, there’s was no point in doing so. This short story is harmless, annoyingly so. Even if you shaped it like a knife and tried to stab someone in the eyes with it, not even the UK government would consider it a dangerous weapon. Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) Fandom for Robots”

Reading the Hugos (2018) The Martian Obelisk

Someone must have let his guard down because this story, The Martian Obelisk, by Linda Nagata, is an actual science fiction story, with bits of astronomy, space travel, technology, and all that jazz. Yes, unbelievable isn’t it? A Hugo story which is an actual science fiction story?! You could give this story to a random person whose only understanding of sci-fi is “stuff with rockets and futuristic gadgets” and he would concur with you: yes, this is, indeed, a science fiction story. Unfortunately, it overextends, misses the mark, and fails at it.

Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) The Martian Obelisk”

Reading the Hugos (2018) “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”

This is a tough one. When I read the, what at first seemed like a wonderfully nonsensical first sentence, of this story “There’s a ticket booth on my tongue” I felt that this was it, the Hugo story of this year, and if you have read my 2017 Hugo reviews, you know that’s not a compliment. But then I read the story, and I was seriously confused, first because it is, indeed, quite confusing, but also because it wasn’t what I was expecting. My fault, really; my PSTD from reading some other Hugo finalists, encountering this story’s jumpy, fragmented style and narrative, and the use of (oh-my-god) second-person narrator  (and the title! I mean, come on!) made me think that this was one of those artsy literary experiments (and it may be, to some extent.) And with that in mind, that’s how I read it… and I understood nothing. Then I read it again, without expecting anything, and I understood it a bit better. Finally, I read it a third time, and ah, then I got it (I think.)


Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand””

Reading the Hugos (2018) Carnival Nine

I regret to inform you, dear reader, that after reading the first Short Story nominee for this year’s Hugo Awards, I have come to the conclusion that Carnival Nine, for that is its name, is Not Awful. That may seem an uninformative score, but… not really, at least for me, as it is quite significant since what I usually expect is Awful.

Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018) Carnival Nine”

Hemingway didn’t write like you think he wrote.

If you have spent more than a few seconds following the writing blogosphere, searching for writing tips and stuff like that you will have found variations of these two statements: “Write short, clear sentences“, sometimes followed by a “like Hemingway did.” Either as an example of simple, clear writing or as a description of his style, the universal, known-by-everybody message is the same: he wrote short sentences, and that’s the style to emulate.

Continue reading “Hemingway didn’t write like you think he wrote.”

Reading the Hugos (2018): Introductory remarks

The 2018 Hugo nominees have been announced. Ahh,  the most prestigious Award in the most marvelous genres of fiction! Science, Fantasy, the marvel of cutting-edge technology, future societies, mystery, wonder, and… No, not really. This is the Hugos we are talking about. You won’t find much of that there.

Going in somewhat blind and not knowing what to expect, a year ago I reviewed the 2017 short-story finalists, and with one or two exceptions, they were all pretty bad, and hardly science fiction or fantasy at all. I don’t expect much of a difference this year, but I have skimmed the stories and, well, there may be a glimmer of hope, but, really, don’t get your hopes up — the bar was set too low anyway.

Continue reading “Reading the Hugos (2018): Introductory remarks”