I decided that I was going to read the Hugo-nominated fiction works despite the whole Rabid Puppies thing because for me, it seemed important that I have read them and be able to comment on their worth, as well as the politics around their nominations. I don’t expect everyone to agree with this stance; I’m not suggesting other people should do the same, or need to. This is very simply MY perspective.
The short stories.
No, no, no, no, and no.
In my opinion, none of these stories are worthy of a Hugo nomination.
“On a Spiritual Plain,” Lou Antonelli: I don’t mind the premise, of a world somehow able to keep part of a ‘soul’ after death. But the execution (…heh…) is just boring. A great big meh.
“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds,” John C Wright: an attempt to be the new CS Lewis? Gets a bit grandiose at points and quite eye-rolly at points and made me hope that other Christian writers could be a bit more subtle – either that or not try at all to be subtle and just come right out and examine ideas less circuitously (Wright does kinda get there in the end).
“A Single Samurai,” Steven Diamond: there is no story here.
“Totaled,” Kary English: interesting idea – a woman’s brain used after a car accident in an experiment – but no character development, no explanation for how or why this came about (that made sense, I mean), and only average prose.
“Turncoat,” Steve Rzasa: I didn’t loathe it. It’s still not Hugo material, but it’s an interesting enough take on the AI/ human / how you live together question. I can see why it speaks to some: it is after all basically two battle set-pieces with a wee bit of philosophising/ religious musing along the way. Competent… but not award-winning