Thursday, February 09, 2012

Two MRK Novellas and Hugo Considerations

Mary Robinette Kowal has two novellas I would like to bring some attention to, especially since we're in the Hugo nominating period.

The first is "Kiss Me Twice", originally published in the June 2011 issue of Asimov's and now available on her website.  MRK has a great voice for the detective story and the use of the AI personality actually works here rather than seem an unnecessary anachronism as it might in other stories.  I like it.

The second is "Water to Wine".  I love this story.  It's not the first time Kowal has built a story around wine, and I don't drink wine or understand anything about it, but she does a fantastic job in telling this story that isn't really about wine.  This is a lock for my Hugo ballot.  There's just a big question about its eligibility.

See, "Water to Wine" was originally published in the audio anthology METAtropolis: Cascadia in November of 2010.  In the author's note for the print edition of the story on Subterranean, Kowal writes

Because I wrote the story specifically for audio, I had given “stage directions” for how I wanted lines to be read by the actress, Kate Mulgrew. For the Subterranean version, I went back through the story and wrote additional material to cover the emotional content that a narrator’s voice can deliver. The story is the same, but it is adapted for a different medium.
I couldn't find anything concrete regarding the eligibility status of the story (since fiction tends to go from print to audio, not the other way around), I reached out to Kevin Standlee, the former Hugo Administrator who can often be counted on to provide sage advice and clarification regarding details of the Hugo Awards. 

Unfortunately, I seem to have run into a grey area that won't / can't be answered unless it becomes an issue.
Well, I don't have a definite answer to this. It might be eligible, if the Administrator were to rule that the revisions were sufficient to make it a new work. Unfortunately, the Administrators are loathe to make rulings without a specific case before them. That means that they probably won't tell you in advance, and they won't rule at all unless the work receives enough nominations to appear on the short list.
As such, I'm just going to put the novella on my ballot, recommend "Water to Wine" to you for the same.  After all, it doesn't take many votes to get on the ballot.  I'd love to see a ruling on this (and that the ruling state that Kowal's story is eligible).  If it isn't, well,  you just got to read an awesome story.

Now, if only METAtropolis: Cascadia was available in a print edition like the original Metatropolis ended up being.  I'd totally buy that. 

Dear Subterranean Press: Make it happen.

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