Or, Vox Unpopuli, Vox...


1) “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
I loved this - I liked the layered story, I liked the SF "gimmick" that kicks the whole thing off. I'm a fan of unreliable narrators (though struggle to remember that unreliable narrators are /always/ unreliable, particularly after they've just had a revelation), and I liked the way that this explored its moral question ("is it actually better to remember accurately?") without definitely coming down on one side or the other.
2) “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)
So, being a bit thick, it took me a little while to "get" this. I enjoyed it enough on first read, which I took rather at face value. It was only later that I thought about it more allegorically (and it is allegory, without question), and thought that it was a powerful statement about what it feels like to be removed from your own culture and effectively brainwashed in another one, even when that brainwashing is done for (possibly) noble reasons. I quite like the dislocated method of storytelling, but like unreliable narrators, I can imagine people justifiably not liking it.
3) “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com / Tor.com, 09-2013)
Other people seem to have liked this more than I did, which is to say that I enjoyed it, but found that the dilemma element never really convinced me - I couldn't see it ending any other way, and that made it all feel a little pat. I did like the way the characters were drawn, and it is nice to have an old-fashioned SF story with an older women protagonist.
4) “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
Above no award because I felt it wasn't taking the mickey. It's not very good, though - the writing is too "on the nose", to the point of being clunky, the tech gimmick is unoriginal and the politics are stupid and a bit offensive. Oh, and the ending is irritating. But it's not a joke of a story.
No Award
“Opera Vita Aeterna” by Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
Ballot-stuffed. Not good in any way. Dull used furniture, bad religion, worse words. Would not support author if entire genre depended on it. Unintentionally hilarious in places.
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