Hugo 2014: Best Short Story

There’s a weird effect in Hugo voting where the longer the work is the more popular and less literary the nominees get. In the shortest category, short stories, all the nominees are very literary and tend toward magical realism. There isn’t a hard or even soft SF story in the bunch:

  • “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
  • “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (, 04-2013)
  • “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (, 02-2013)

They’re all extremely well written, and on the boring side. (I.e. heavy on literary flourishes and character; light on plot.) I honestly can’t remember which I voted for now that the voting has closed. While I admire the craft of these authors, I think the Hugos have lost something by expanding their focus away from science fiction and into almost any genre fiction (except superheroes) with the slightest speculative element.

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