Can we please let the best novelette category die? Of the five nominees, three are or appear to be part of a serialized story. Of the other two, one or both is really just a slightly longer short story. The speculative fiction market for stories in the short story-novel gap just isn’t what it used to be, either quantitatively or qualitatively. A proposal to merge the novelette and novella categories proved to be short-lived though. Notably, the criticism of the proposal had little to nothing to do with the merits of the stories being written or reader preferences.
- The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale by Rajnar Vajra
- The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt
Advantaged by being a short story in disguise. Disadvantaged by reminding us how lame and self-centered we all were when we were young.
- Championship B’tok by Edward M. Lerner
Championship B’tok suffers the most from serialization (and the author appeared in the comments to my review to confirm that this is part of a larger story). It’s well written and crafted but just too complex a story to work in so thin as slice. And unlike a nominated novel that is part of a series, it’s often no simple task to pick up the preceding volumes.
- Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium by Gray Rinehart
Ashes is another work that, if it isn’t part of a larger story, would work better if it were. I was also thrown off because I thought it was a different sort of story at first.
- The Journeyman: In the Stone House by Michael F. Flynn
This is the only nominated novelette-ized story I plan to track and finish in full. That’s the strongest praise I can give.