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At the time of writing, I've actually read all the short stories, all the novelettes, and five and a half of the novellas, and one thing I'm struck by is how still, even after the rule change, nearly all of the nominated works seem to have been conceived as bullets for the culture war, just rather more biased toward the other side this year. I recognize that all fiction is political, that attempting (or claiming) to be apolitical is still a political statement, and that it's probably just a sign of the times (I don't expect next year or the year after will be any better), but I'm a little tired of being preached at.

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." –J.R.R. Tolkien

Alright, let's get on with it. )

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