Category Archives: Books

Hugo-Nominated Short Stories

Ah, the lonely life of a Bureau42 book reviewer. Lots of people here have watched the relevant shows and movies and are willing to share their views; not so many have read every novel or short story. I’m skipping the standard review system, dividing 42 points among the five Hugo-nominated stories for 2003, and providing links so you can find and read’em. All of the linked sites have reproduced the stories with permission. Enjoy.

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The Scar

Imagine science and technology came to Middle-Earth. Now imagine that it’s not Middle-Earth, but Bas-Lag, and in place of hobbits, orcs, elves, and ents, you have steam-cyborgs, crays, cactacae, and ab-dead. Instead of epic heroism, imagine people so morally murky that Sauron would walk away from the worst of them in disgust. Mix SF, fantasy, steampunk, and traveller’s tale, people the result with psychologically complex (and complexed) characters, and have an extraordinarily gifted writer tell their stories. The book is The Scar by China Mieville, and I suspect it will receive my vote for best novel at this year’s Hugo Awards.

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The Years of Rice and Salt

Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Years of Rice and Salt has been nominated for a Hugo this year. Robinson’s intellect cannot be denied; he has created alternate history on an epic scale. As an engaging work of fiction, however, its 658 pages make a decidely uneven read.

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