The novelettes on offer this year seem to cover the trends in sci-fi lately. Understandable, since these get nominated by readers in the first place. I had read one of these before (I have a long-standing subscription to Analog) and I think it stands favorably with its competition. Leviathan won the Nebula in this category already, so I’m interested to see how it fares in the Hugos. So, here is my ranking again:

  1. That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (Analog, September 2010)
  2. Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, December 2010)
  3. The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)
  4. The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, July 2010)
  5. Eight Miles” by Sean McMullen (Analog, September 2010)
  • Eight Miles was interesting, but I found it flawed and, more damning, it was in the same issue as Leviathan, and I have no recollection of reading it.
  • Jaguar just didn’t do anything for me.
  • I think if I was writing this two weeks ago when I first read (or re-read) the five stories, Emperor would be higher on the list, as it is poignant, and reminisces on golden age Martian sci-fi, but the spell didn’t last.
  • Plus or Minus was taut and tense for the last half of the story, but I found the buildup overly long. If it was 2000 words shorter, I would have probably given this the number one spot.
  • Which leaves me with Leviathan, which left me asking more questions when I finished it than I usual do (especially with an Analog story (no offense, Analog! As I said above, I’ve been a subscriber (on and off, I’ll admit) for the last 25 years!)). The setting was interesting, the problem was interesting, the resolution was interesting. I’ll not discuss the nuts and bolts, but as before, it’s linked above so you can read it yourself and compare your thoughts.