2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Novelette

Today I’m looking at the Best Novelette finalists.  All six of them were also nominees for at least one other award this year.

“Children of Thorns, Children of Water” by Aliette de Bodard is part of The Domain of the Fallen series.  It was also a nominee for the Locus Award.  De Bodard has four previous Hugo nominations for short fiction.  She was a 2009 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

“Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee is a prequel to The Machineries of Empire books.  Lee’s Raven Stratagem is also a finalist for Best Novel this year.  Both were nominees for the Locus Awards as well.  The first novel in the series was a Hugo finalist last year.

“The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer was also a finalist for the Sturgeon Award.  This is Palmer’s first Hugo nomination.

“Wind Will Rove” by Sarah Pinsker was also a nominee for the Nebula and the Locus Award.  Pinsker’s “And Then There Were (N-One)” is a finalist for Best Novella.

“A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad was also a nominee for the Nebula and the Sturgeon Award.  Prasad’s “Fandom for Robots” is a finalist for Best Short Story.  She is one of this year’s nominees for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara was also a finalist for the Nebula Award.  This is Szpara’s first Hugo nomination.

I had read all these before the announcement of the finalists.  Pinsker and Palmer’s stories were my own nominees.  “Wind Will Rove” is a lovely story about stories and music.  “The Secret Life of Bots” was a cute and clever story about an outdated but innovative bot.

Although de Bodard and Lee’s stories are part of their respective series, they both stand on their own.  “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” makes me want to explore more of that world.  I was happy to see a familiar character in “Extracurricular Activities.”

I didn’t nominate “A Series of Steaks,” but it impressed me enough to nominate Prasad for the Campbell.  Szpara’s “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” was original and funny, but too dark and explicit for me.

We have one previous Best Novelette finalist, two first-time nominees, and three who made the ballot more than once.  Here’s how I ranked them on my final ballot:

  1. “Wind Will Rove” by Sarah Pinsker
  2. “The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer
  3. “A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  4. “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” by Aliette de Bodard
  5. “Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee
  6. “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara

These are all available online.  So go read them if you haven’t!  Then tell me your thoughts.

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