I’ve finished the stories nominated for the Nebula Award in the novelette category. Like the nominated short stories, the seven novelettes cover an incredible range of topics and settings, but I must admit I was a little disappoint with novelettes as a whole. I thought they lacked emotional depth compared to the short stories. I’m not suggesting these novelettes were uninteresting or inferior per se, they just didn’t hit me in the gut quite as hard. Where the novelettes stories seemed to excel, however, was in their speculative ideas.
I’m still mulling where my Nebula vote is going to go, but I particularly liked Katherine Sparrow’s “The Migratory Pattern of Dancers.” Ms. Sparrow’s story explored an interesting idea (the cost of species conservation), in an interesting way (genetic recombination within humans), with an unexpected but satisfying outcome. What more could you ask for from speculative fiction? For sheer cleverness, Charlie Jane Ander’s “Six Months, Three Days” was a fun read, but the ending felt flat to me, which was a disappointment after a such a good ride.
If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out these seven novelettes. Links to them can be found here—except for Brad Torgerson’s “Ray of Light,” which doesn’t seem to be available in its entirety online. If you do read any of these, I’d be interested in your thoughts on them.