Short Story Reviews
I’m not going to get around to reading all the Hugo nominees. Considering just how many categories there were, that was never going to happen. But, there really isn’t any excuse not to read the short stories. Not only are they short, but some of them are available to read free online.
Of course, this is a category that got swept by the Puppies’ slate this year. At least originally it did; Thomas A. Mays withdraw his story The Commuter, and it was replaced by Cat Pictures Please. I will be reading and reviewing The Commuter in this post even though I can’t vote on it, because I admire Mays commitment to keeping the Hugos’ fair; plus the cover looks really fun.
Reading these stories – especially Seven Kill Tiger and If You Were an Award, My Love – really drove home the point that the Rabid Puppies are not a good thing for these awards. Hopefully next year we get a better range to choose from. Still, this has been fun.
Cat Pictures Please – Naomi Kritzer
Read it here.
I Love this story. An AI tries to help people and looks at lots of cat pictures. A cute story, that really reflects on the strange tendency of humans to purse self-destruction and/or ignore help. I suppose some of the AI’s ideas on what is good for us and its wish to let us give it control over our lives are a bit disturbing, but I feel that makes the AI a more believable character.
If there are any benevolent AIs out there that are looking for humans to help, then here is a picture of my cat Squeak with a silly outfit on. Isn’t he cute? Unfortunately, Squeak is no longer with us anymore, but he was such a photogenic cat.
It makes sense in context.
Asymmetrical Warfare – S. R. Algernon.
Read it here.
A good, really short story about aliens that are completely different to us. The narration is from the point of view of an alien leading an invasion of Earth. At first it seems they are a stereotypical Proud Warrior Race that just want to slaughter everyone, but as we learn more about their biology and their motivations, we see them in a different light. It is short, but it says all it needs to.
Space Raptor Butt Invasion – Chuck Tingle
A guy gets fucked in the arse by a Velociraptor. In space. Written by the author of such classics as Pounded in the Butt by my Own Butt, Leonardo DiCaprio Finally Wins His Award and it Pounds Him in the Butt, Pounded in the Butt by my Book “Pounded in the Butt by my Own Butt”, Schrodinger’s Butt, and Pounded in the Butt by my Book “Pounded in the Butt by my Book ‘Pounded in the Butt by my Own Butt’.” Funny stuff, though not quite as silly and hilarious as I was hoping. It is nice and kinky, but maybe too silly to be a true erotic masterpiece.
The night I got this story I had some friends over and we played Bring Your Own Book .I used Space Raptor Butt Invasion for the game, and won quite easily. I see that there is also a sequel out, called Space Raptor Butt Redemption.
Sorry if you were expecting more from this review, but there just isn’t much to say. It is as ridiculous and dirty as one would expect from the cover and the blurb. Though I think I found the existence of this story and its spot as a Hugo Finalist funnier than the story, even if it was a troll move intended to damage the reputation of the Hugo Awards. Best of all, is that Tingle has counter-trolled the Puppies who are using his work for their own agenda. I’m not going to go into the details here, but you can read about it all on the Daily Dot, here.
If You Were An Award, My Love – Juan Tabo and S. Harris
Read it here.
Well, that was a waste of three minutes. I haven’t read the original story it is taking the piss out of (If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachael Swirsky) but I doubt that would make me appreciate this more. I mean, appreciate this at all. It’s just a bunch of whining about the Hugos and Social Justice Warriors. The comment section under this story does little to convince me of the good intentions or maturity of the Rabid Puppies.
Seven Kill Tiger – Charles Shao
Interesting concept, but very poorly executed. Characters aren’t that interesting, and even though the plot could have gone in many interesting directions, it ended up going no-where. Literally no-where; there was no action or drama, no tension, just these people talking about how they’re going to commit genocide. Might have worked as the beginning of a longer story.
The Commuter – Thomas A. Mays
This is undoubtedly my favourite story on the Puppies’ slate, and possibly even more enjoyable than Cat Picture’s Please. Maybe I’m just saying that because I have just finished reading this story whilst Cat Pictures was read last week, but Commuter is fun and set in an interesting world. I love stories that have mobile phones and elves together. It’s funny and cool, and I really want to read more stories set in this world. For more information on this story and why it was withdrawn from the ballot, click here.
I’m still thinking about how I want to vote. I think I’ll refrain from placing a No Award over all Puppy nominations, though it is tempting. Puppies or no, I’m glad I started reading this list, since my short fiction diet last year consisted entirely of Analog stories. Not that there’s anything wrong with Analog; I wouldn’t be reading it so much if there was, but it’s nice to see what else is out there. Now I just need to keep up with this year’s crop of short stories.
Happy reading everyone.