All right! So apparently there’s a category of story shorter(?) than “novelette” and that’s “short story” (if their order in the list is by length, and who comes up with this stuff anyway??) so I decided I’d tackle them next. When I opened the packet, there were only three entries, so too bad, so sad, for the entrants whose publishers are Evil Corporations (and abusive business partners). And yes, I am going to call them out on it, because you guys need to grow a spine and get out of a bad relationship, I am telling you right now, why are you staying with the partners who metaphorically beat you? (One of the authors begged, actually begged, on his blog, for his fans not to make a fuss at his publisher for their decision not to include the nominated work in the Hugo voter packet, because otherwise he would get into trouble. GO INDIE. NOW.)
“Selkie Stories Are For Losers” – I was hoping this piece was going to be as humorous as its title, but alas, it was actually a snippet of narration from a mentally disturbed teenage lesbian who’s pining after another psychologically unstable young woman and basically pulling the Nice Guy Creeper routine on her: “I’m secretly sexually attracted to you and obsessing over you while pretending to just be a good friend.” Girls don’t like that behavior for a reason, yo. Also, this story isn’t actually fantasy, since the maternal abandonment in question could just have easily been a case of Eat, Pray, Love and the story wouldn’t change in the slightest.
“Ink Readers of Doi Saket” – wow, okay, that was a huge waste of time. First off, if you’re going to use footnotes – in a @#$! short story! – at least make them entertaining. If most of them are going to be literal translations of the names of the characters, just use the literal translation as the name. Rather than, you know, using a phonetic equivalent. I’m not impressed: if you’re going to go all “culturally imperialistic” (read: use English because that’s the audience you’re writing for) and not use the Thai alphabet for your Thai villagers’ names, just bloody well translate the sodding nicknames. Also, the writer is obsessed with sex, but not in any fun way.
“The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere” – this would be a great story – as the plot of a daytime soap opera. The only thing it’s not? Sci-fi or fantasy. Oh, sure, the water that falls on you from nowhere whenever you tell a lie is a “sci-fi”-ish thing, but the thing is, it’s just a plot device to increase tension and show the purity of the gay love of the two main characters. Everything in the story revolves around the narrator coming out to his parents (who knew already) and his entirely dysfunctional relationship with his psychotic older sister. And like “The Waiting Stars,” this story ends without a satisfactory conclusion to the conflict introduced earlier, namely with the sister. The author should definitely write for the daytime soaps. That way I won’t ever have to read some sappy dysfunctional-family romance trying to disguise itself as sciffy again.
The fourth nomination (not included in the voter packet) in this category is “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” which has become a byword over on Vox Populi. I attempted to find one particularly entertaining comment thread wherein the most appropriate guns for hunting T-Rex was discussed in detail, but unfortunately my Google-fu is weak and I failed to locate it, so you’ll have to be content with the other entertaining thread I did find.
Therefore, given that the nominated works consist of three things that should never have seen the light of day in the first place, and a single soap opera, my “slate” for short story for the Hugo Award will read “No Award.”
Someone please file a request with Larry Correia to find a worthy short story for Sad Puppies 3 next year. Please?