It’s Wyrd & Wonder time! My favourite annual blogging event, celebrating all things fantasy, is back, and I’m so excited for all the sweet, sweet fantasy content I’ll be able to read around the blogosphere this month.
Most years I give myself a TBR for Wyrd & Wonder, but TBRs haven’t really been working out for me over the past few months so this year I’m going to stick with the annual ‘challenge’ I like to set myself: reading the short story and novelette categories of this year’s Hugo Awards!
I love reading the short fiction nominated for the Hugos; it’s a brilliant way to find new authors whose work I’d like to keep an eye on, and a wonderful way to celebrate short fiction which is often overlooked in favour of novels and novellas. This year I am also planning to read the novella shortlist as it turns out I’ve read half of the nominees already, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to read the other three this month! I don’t want to pay £7.99 for a digital copy of a novella and two of the nominees I don’t own…
Best Short Story
- “Mr. Death”, by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, Feb 2021)
- “Proof by Induction”, by José Pablo Iriarte (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021)
- “The Sin of America”, by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
- “Tangles”, by Seanan McGuire (Magicthegathering.com: Magic Story, Sep 2021)
- “Unknown Number”, by Blue Neustifter (Twitter, Jul 2021)
- “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
I’ve been reading the short story and novelette shortlists since 2019, and I don’t think there’s been a single year where Sarah Pinsker hasn’t made an appearance. I’ve heard good things about her story this year, so I’m looking forward to trying it! I’m also looking forward to “Mr. Death”—Alix E. Harrow is one of my favourite authors and I haven’t disliked anything I’ve read by her, so I’m expecting good things from this story, too. It’s interesting to see a story published on Twitter and a story from Magicthegathering.com on this year’s shortlist – I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering, so I’m wondering how much of Seanan McGuire’s story I’ll really get – and it’s clear from this shortlist that the spring issues of Uncanny Magazine were very strong.
- “Bots of the Lost Ark”, by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, Jun 2021)
- “Colors of the Immortal Palette”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
- L’Esprit de L’Escalier, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
- “O2 Arena”, by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Galaxy’s Edge, Nov 2021)
- “That Story Isn’t the Story”, by John Wiswell (Uncanny Magazine, Nov/Dec 2021)
- “Unseelie Brothers, Ltd.”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021)
Caroline M. Yoachim, Fran Wilde and John Wiswell are all authors whose work I’ve read on previous shortlists – I remember not liking Yoachim’s story much and I found Wilde’s previous story a little forgettable, but I’m looking forward to reading more from all of them – and it’ll be interesting to see if I prefer Valente’s short story or her novelette. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki or Suzanne Palmer before, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I think of their work!
Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
- Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
- The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. Valente
- A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
I was pleasantly surprised to discover I’ve already read half of the novella shortlist! While I enjoyed A Spindle Splintered it’s probably my least favourite of Harrow’s stories that I’ve read and Fireheart Tiger didn’t work for me at all, but Across the Green Grass Fields was a 5 star read for me and I’d love to see it win even though I’m sure it won’t because most people who love the Wayward Children series didn’t like it all that much. I would love to see fewer Tordotcom novellas on the shortlist in future, but they’ve done a great job at finding a space in the market and other publishers need to catch up. I bought the kindle edition of Elder Race – it was only a few quid – and my library has been able to get A Psalm for the Wild-Built for me. I’m hoping they’ll be able to get The Past is Red, too! I have a feeling either A Psalm for the Wild-Built or Fireheart Tiger will win, but we’ll see…