Review: Best Short Story – The Hugo Awards 2017

Best Short Story

1275 ballots cast for 830 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 87 to 182.

  • The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (, September 2016)
    • ‘I don’t stink, but these people can smell anybody without a trust fund from a mile away.’ – HA. Excellently described. A lone homeless guy loves to paint. He’s told to listen, and he can start to hear something out there in the city. He’s told that if they’re not careful, their city (new York) will die  like Pompeii, and Atlantis… or turn into a shell like New Orleans. Jemisin also notes that libraries are safe places. There are lovely notes throughout that give this short story depth and warmth and a fill of our character, as well a his hardships, and though he’s resistant at first he’s then there to help their city through her pains. A rewarding a nice short story with simple depth.
  • A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (, March 2016)
    • Personally not for me, and a little triggering. Lovely writing, but I’m not in the best frame of mind for this currently. I do love things that are clever and play with time, but just a little painful.
  • Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
    • Absolutely amazing. An empowering revenge piece where an awful man hurts the wrong woman, who turns out to be a fearful goddess who returns with her sisters to rip him apart and leave him crying and begging. All in about two pages. This takes an awful event and presents it in a way that’s strong, and vengeful and returns the power to the victim.
  • Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
    • Another empowering piece of how women and their friendship can help with the unjust demands of men. Tabitha is cursed to walk until she wears out seven pairs of iron shoes, which would surely demand such a huge length of time and miles I can barely perceive it. In a way it seems okay – the magic also helps with her hunger, sleep, and keeps her from freezing or burning… so… could be worse? And then we find to be stuck on the ground when she belongs in the air… Brilliant, brilliant piece.
  • That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (, March 2016)
    • A field medic is in enemy territory – though the war is now over. She attracts stares and suspicion, but she carries on doing what she’s there to do – visiting someone in a hospital. She’s Enithi, surrounded by Gaantish who are telepathic, which makes things interesting as there’s no point in ever lying to won. Certainly changes things when you’re in war, and have been captured. The two previous shorts I’ve read for this were important and excellent, but this is gripping and character driven – my favourite. Now voting will be dang hard.
  • “An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)
    • Failed to hold any interest, and certainly not at the level of those above.

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