I haven’t had time to do reviews of the nominated novels this year, though I reviewed Iron Council back in September, and I’m hoping to review Charles Stross’s Iron Dawn before the end of August. Meanwhile, you can find the entire list of nominees here and the winners, posted at the link below.
In addition, my thoughts on the nominated short stories follow, along with links to each.
The Best Christmas Ever by James Patrick Kelly
This would receive my vote, if I were voting this year. A bizarre, satiric reflection on humanity set in a relatively near-future, this story deals concerns Christmas for the last man on earth. Kelly writes well; some readers may be a little disappointed with the conclusion, but this is a strong entry.
Decisions by Michael A. Burstein
The story begins with a familiar time-travel paradox, but then, in a couple of surprise twists, veers into entirely different clichés. It’s a fun story; you may find yourself matching each development with stories and Trek episodes where you’ve seen them used before.
A Princess of Earth by Mike Resnick
On Christmas Eve, a man grieving his deceased wife meets a wandering nude who claims to be John Carter of Mars. It’s an original premise, though I found its development less satisfying.
Shed Skin by Robert Sawyer
This story functions as a kind of draft of Sawyer’s recent novel, Mindscan. Its plot goes in its own direction (it also includes an entirely unnecessary final line, for the benefit of those who need a theme to hit them on the head. Sawyer does this sort of thing way too often).
Travels with Cats by Mike Resnick
Resnick fares better with his second nominated story this year, a reflection on loneliness, literature, desire, and hope.
UPDATE: this story won.