Reading the 2017 Locus Short Fiction Nominees

The finalists for the 2017 Locus Awards have been announced! Honestly, I’m unfamiliar with most of the finalists for Science Fiction Novel, Fantasy Novel, and Horror Novel. Based off of the few that I’ve read, I’m rooting for After Atlas for science fiction and Certain Dark Things for horror, since I’ve adored both of those. For First Novel, I’m hoping for Roses and Rot or Ninefox Gambit, two of my favorite reads of 2016.

I’ve actually read more in the shorter fiction categories. For Novella, my picks would be The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe or Every Heart a Doorway. In the Novelette and Short Story categories, I’d already read a number of the stories thanks to the amazing venues that provide stories free online. But I wanted to take the chance to familiarize myself with the other stories easily available online.

“The Art of Space Travel” by Nina Allan

This novelette includes a manned mission to Mars… but it centers around a woman who works at the hotel the astronauts will be staying at before their trip. This story has a science fiction setting (sometime in the future), but the sci-fi elements aren’t involved in the heart of the story: the protagonist’s relationship with her mentally failing mother and the secret of her father’s identity.

“Red as Blood and White as Bone” by Theodora Gross

This novelette is a darkly enchanting fairy tale. The narrator is a young girl, working as a lowly kitchen girl in a castle. But she’s always loved fairy tales and dreamed of playing one small part in them. When a beautiful woman shows up naked and alone on the doorstep of the castle kitchen, she knows that the woman must be a princess, here to dance with the prince at the ball. As it turns out, our narrator has become wrapped up in a fairy tale, but one of the older, bloodier kinds.

“A Salvaging of Ghosts” by Aliette de Bodard

This story is set within de Bodard’s Xuya universe, where the dominant culture is Vietnamese based and sentient mindships travel the stars. In this story, a woman dives into unreality to plunge a wrecked mindship for her daughter’s remains.

“Afrofuturist 419” by Nnedi Okorafor

A new 419 email is making the rounds, but it has an unusual twist. Instead of a down on his luck prince, the letter contains a Nigerian astronaut stranded in space. As it happens, there may be a grain of truth to the story.

“The Story of Kao Yu” by Peter Beagle

Kao Yu is an honest judge with the honor of sometimes being assisted by a unicorn. When he begins to fall for a beautiful criminal, his honor begins to become undone.

At this point I’ve read the majority of Novelette and Short Story finalists. I’ve reviewed them at other points in my blog, mostly in my short fiction reading round ups. For Novelette, my favorites would be “Foxfire, Foxfire” by Yoon Ha Lee and “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik. For Short Story, I’d be hard pressed to pick between “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander and “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal el-Mohtar.

What are your favorites among the finalists? Any books I need to catch up on?

 

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