Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on Nebula Nominees 2009: Novellas

The Spacetime Pool” - Catherine Asaro (Analog, Mar08)
“Dark Heaven” - Gregory Benford (Alien Crimes, ed. Mike Resnick, SFBC, Jan07)
Dangerous Space” - Kelley Eskridge (Dangerous Space, Aqueduct Press, Jun07)
The Political Prisoner” - Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF, Aug08)
“The Duke in His Castle” - Vera Nazarian (Norilana Books, Jun08)

Sadly, I am just not going to be able to finish this category off before the Award is presented this coming weekend. As such, I’ve only been able to read two of the stories nominated.

Actually, I’ve read a previous story from Charles Coleman Finlay (“The Political Officer”) which featured Maxim Nikomedes and I don’t remember being too excited / impressed by it. Given that “The Political Prisoner” is set in the same world as that earlier story, I’d be surprised if I’d liked the new one. Unless “The Political Prisoner” wins the Nebula, I don’t plan to read it. I DO, however, want to read “The Spacetime Pool”. I don’t think I’ve read anything published in Analog before (unless reprinted in an anthology I’ve read).

My thoughts on "Dark Heaven": It conveys information without being flashy and kicks the story along without getting bogged down with jargon or aliens. "Dark Heaven" is science fiction, don't get me wrong, but it is science fiction about an investigation - about a possible murder. The story is key here and that's what makes it work.

My Thoughts on "Dangerous Space"
: This is a story to get excited about. It's just good, in the sense that Eskridge has skill enough to make the characters, setting, music, everything real. Readers will want to know more about Mars and Duncan and the band, and will get it. "Dangerous Space" starts out interesting and then just gets really good.

In this two horse race the clear winner is “Dangerous Space”. If I had a vote, I Eskridge would get it. Quite honestly, I would not expect any of the three stories I haven't read to be as good as what Kelley Eskridge wrote.

Previous Nebula Thoughts
Short Stories

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