stormsewer: (the rock)
[personal profile] stormsewer
Not all of these were terrible.

5. "The Journeyman: In the Stone House" by Michael F. Flynn
Plains warrior Teodorq sojourns among the ironmen.
This one was a bit a of head-scratcher for me. Nothing much happens. It's clearly a fragment of a larger tale, which to me makes it unsuitable for awards as a standalone piece unless it really does stand alone, which it doesn't. The tone vacillated between the pseudo-high-medieval voice of the narrator and the broken English of the main characters; I don't know if it was supposed to be funny, but it was tiresome. The main character doesn't seem to want or care about anything, which makes it pretty hard for me to care. But I am truly impressed at how the author made swordfighting seem as interesting as reading patent claims.

4. "Championship B'tok" by Edward Lerner
The aliens called "Snakes" are plotting something, but our hero isn't quite sure what it is, and something else seems to be going on as well.
It wasn't terrible. The first part turns out to have only the most tenuous connection to the rest, which is kind of annoying. The thing as a whole reminded me a great deal of Larry Niven's Known Space universe (perhaps not coincidentally, it turns out this author has co-written a lot of things with Niven). There was a definite feeling of déjà vu while reading it (do Puppies like that feeling?). It both started and ended in the middle of things, which I don't necessarily have a problem with, but again this feels like a fragment of something larger that doesn't quite stand on its own.

3. "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium" by Gray Rinehart
Human colonists on the planet Alluvium struggle under subjugation by aliens who arrived shortly thereafter.
I dunno, it was okay. Not particularly memorable. I'm skeptical of the weakness the aliens supposedly have. Reminds me too much of "and oh, the invincible aliens were felled by the common cold!" That trick worked once, people. ONCE.

2. "The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale" by Rajnar Vajra
Military space explorers have to figure out what the deal is with some possibly intelligent aliens.
It had some clever bits. It reminded me a bit of an updated version of "A Martian Odyssery", and I do in fact mean that as a compliment. I actually liked this one.

1. "The Day the World Turned Upside Down" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt trans.
A man is dumped by his girlfriend, and the world turns upside-down.
This story follows the standard literary SF template of baldly using some fantastical occurrence as a metaphor for the emotional state of the main character, but this was really well done and demonstrates how much kick you can get out of that format if you do it right. It was so horrible and so funny and so compelling. I've been less than impressed with some of the other things I've read by this author, but this piece is great and actually deserves an award.
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