And onto the short stories! Like the novelettes, I’m going to make these short and sweet.
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”, E. Lily Yu
Another author who I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t gotten around to reading yet. I need to start reading more short stories again, or at least making a rule to read the Year’s Best anthologies and not just let them gather dust on my shelf. This one just blew me away – it’s absolutely like nothing else I’ve ever read before. Amazing.
“The Homecoming”, Mike Resnick
This one wins for making me cry. I think that makes it a contender pretty much on the basis of this. Clearly, I am a reader who is motivated by emotion (in case no one has figured that out before), and if you make me feel something, especially in a short story, you’re damn well doing something right.
“Movement”, Nancy Fulda
And another one that made me cry. I don’t even have the words for how damn beautiful and heartbreaking and hopemaking this story is, all at one time.
“The Paper Menagerie”, Ken Liu
And another one that produced tears, dammit. I’d actually been meaning to read this one for ages and ages, since Jonathan Strahan talked it up on the Coode Street Podcast. I even bought the hard copy of F&SF it was published in, and then it kind of got lost on my shelves. I think I need to search out all of Liu’s fiction and mainline it for a while. And probably cry a hell of a lot. I am so glad that I got a supporting membership and the Hugo Packet, for nothing else than for making me read some of the authors that I’ve been meaning to read.
“Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue”, John Scalzi
This is one that just isn’t for me, I think. It’s well written and it’s clever and it deserves to be on the ballot, but I think against some of the emotional gut punches of the other stories, it fades a bit.
I feel like the short story ballot is as strong as, if not stronger, than the novellas (which is saying something). And I honestly don’t know where my vote is going to lie here. I think maybe The Paper Menagerie, but I’m really not sure. I see some rereading before I cast my vote here.