Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

2012 Hugo nominees: best novella

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Countdown, by Mira Grant

This was just as good as the novels it connects with, and it adds useful backstory to those novels.  It tells the story of how an attempt to cure cancer and an attempt to cure the flu resulted in the unintended consequence of a zombie apocalypse.  Though, honestly… I can’t help thinking it might be worth it.  No cancer and no flu… zombies is a reasonable prize to pay, maybe.


“The Ice Owl,” by Caroly Ives Gilman

Poor Thorn.  Sometimes, even when you love your mother, you can’t depend on her.  And sometimes, fundamentalists burn down your school and the only way to get an education is to follow a smart person home and demand to be tutored.  Life can be full of hard lessons.



“Kiss Me Twice,” by Mary Robinette Kowal

It’s a mystery story.  A cop has to find the kidnapped police-department AI.  Who has taken Metta?  And why?  And is Metta sentient?  I get a kick out of genre-straddling, and this is good SF and a good mystery.




“The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” by Kij Johnson

Civil engineers: the unsung heroes of the universe!  A country is divided by the Mist.  What is the Mist?  I’m not exactly sure, but it isn’t possible to get from one side of the country to the other without crossing the Mist, which involves persuading a ferryperson to take you in a boat.  Terrible things happen, crossing.  People die.  Often.  The best solution is to just not cross.  And here comes Kit.  He’s a good leader.  He’s a good engineer.  And he’s going to need all his skill to bring the country together by building a bridge.  This is an awesome story, and you should be reading it right now.

“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” by Ken Liu

Why is Ken Liu determined to make me cry?  Does Ken Liu hate me for some reason?  Did I unintentionally offend Ken Liu?  Did I give his child an ‘F’ in English, or cut him off in traffic, or something?  Is it just chance that both of the Liu stories nominated for the Hugo are stories that make me cry?  The story is about time travel, and Japanese atrocities in China.  I made the mistake of reading it at the end of the night, and then I couldn’t go to sleep.


Silently and Very Fast, by Catherynne M. Valente

The rise of an artificial intelligence, and the family of humans to which it is inextricably linked, told as a myth.  A very carefully written myth, with lots of beautiful sentences.


Written by Contented Reader

July 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Reviews


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