Okay, maybe calling it a “slog” is a little unfair. There’s just sooooooooo maaaaaaaaany categories! I’m probably not going to vote on some of them on the grounds that I just. Don’t. Care.
To begin with, though, I’m starting with the novelette section, because I’ve already read “Opera Vita Aeterna” – and novelette is a quick read so I can run through a bunch of them quickly. I’m building momentum before I tackle the novels!
So far, I’m ranking “The Exchange Officers” above OVA, mostly because when I think of the “ideal award candidate” – a piece that sci-fi or fantasy fans could be proud to have representing them to the outer world of non-fans – TEO is more quintessentially good sci-fi than OVA is quintessentially good fantasy. This isn’t to say OVA is bad – it’s actually pretty good – but it’s not exactly what I’d recommend to somebody who’d seen The Hobbit in theaters and was wondering what to read next in the fantasy genre. OVA is far more rewarding to people who have already read other works in the Selenoth universe, particularly Summa Elvetica.
“The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling” – and, uh. First off, it’s a good… something? Sci-fi, definitely that. But weird. It’s actually nothing like what I’d expected from the title; it’s actually a kind of “introspective examination” of technology that doesn’t exist yet, but can easily be extrapolated into the near future. Twenty years before it’s real, tops. Handled well, too; examining the cultural differences produced by changing technology in a deliberate, straightforward fashion. This piece reads kind of like an extended essay/blog post written by a fairly decent journalist; not so much a story as an examination. Third.
“The Waiting Stars” will not be appearing on my ballot – for the cardinal sin of not actually having a satisfying ending. The preachiness was a little much, but could have been forgiven if the damsel in distress had actually been RESCUED at the end, with the spaceships dashing away from the “graveyard” pursued by a hailstorm of ray guns and space missiles, etc. I feel cheated of an epic space chase scene. Boo hiss.
“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” is so boring, I only read 1/3rd of it before I decided that yes, it’s bad, and no, it’s not even good enough to be worth a full read. The narcissistic ramblings of a selfish old woman, to whom every little thing in life is about HER, devastating personal tragedies of others included, even if she IS a Mars colonist, are not interesting. Waste of perfectly decent data packets, that work. Ugh. I need to go give my brain a shower now.
I’d like to point out that at no point did I actually go out and research the authors in question in order to rank them by politics (although I am aware of a few of them due to their presence in internet social circles I frequent) and I resisted the temptation to blacklist Tor writers and ignore them totally on the grounds that their publisher is an Evil Corporation, for realz.