The novella nominees aren’t strong, as a whole, but then the short fiction market for speculative fiction isn’t what it used to be.
- Flow by Arlan Andrews
Flow suffers in comparison to the other novellas because it isn’t a self-contained story. It’s not going to overcome that handicap when, with one exception, it’s otherwise weaker than the other stories.
- One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright
That exception is One Bright Star to Guide Them. It’s a story that I would like to have enjoyed, being a great fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, and it’s a good concept to revisit such a story decades later. But it doesn’t grapple with the most interesting implications of that and has a pretty unbelievable ratio of tell to show.
- The Plural of Helen of Troy by John C. Wright
The Plural of Helen of Troy probably could have been Hugo-worthy. The main section is very strong, but Wright throws most of that away with incoherent later sections.
- Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman
Kratman has a good concept, there are several good battle scenes, and the book wrestles with important issues intelligently and insightfully. Something is lacking in the execution, though.
- Pale Realms of Shade by John C. Wright
Wright’s noir ghost story is beautifully (if unevenly) written and deeply concerned with questions of love, forgiveness, and faith.