Voting closed last Thursday for the 2014 Hugo Awards and 1939 Retro Hugo Awards. I managed to read for some of the categories, and here are my thoughts.
BEST NOVELLA OF 2014
My ranking order (best to worst):
- “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)
- Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
- The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
- “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
- “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
Two of the stories in this category were so good they put a goofy grin on my face like a fiction-based narcotic. If you want to be pinned to the couch for most of an entire day, read Six-Gun Snow White (I’m starting to think that Valente can write anything), and “Wakulla Springs” (gorgeous and brilliant, and kind of not really SF, which is the best kind of SF). If you can ignore the terrible art and RPG background that supports The Butcher of Khardov, it’s a basic premise, but well-written, and I enjoyed the characterization. As much as I appreciate Stross’ jabbing at Lovecraft’s limp attempts at horror, “Equoid” is too colloquial and superficial (like a bare-bones, British version of The Dresden Files), and “The Chaplain’s Legacy” was so terrible, shoddy, and formulaic, it made me angry. Had I not been on vacation, my Twitter feed would have been filled with venomous expletives about this story.
It was tough choosing between “Wakulla Springs” and Six Gun Snow White. Ultimately, my top choice is “Wakulla Springs,” which dances at the fringes of imagination like a horror movie that won’t reveal the monster. Both are excellent reads, though.