Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Short Story - "Seasons of Glass and Iron", by Amal El-Mohtar

"Seasons of Glass and Iron", by Amal El-Mohtar is about two women from folk tales meeting and figuring life out together.

The notion of characters from different fairy tales meeting has been done lots of time in various ways. I actually like this one a lot, because it involves a woman who is doomed to travel meeting a woman who is doomed to sit still. And that's it. There isn't another setting, they are still in their folk tales, they presumably still have their kingdoms/families out there... but they also have a chance to chat with one another. Just chat.

The good: Both Tabitha and Amira are neatly drawn through their thoughts and actions. They both have reasons for what they are doing, but it isn't until the are forced to see those reasons from someone else's point of view that they think to question them. I enjoyed the ending, particularly when Amira insists that Tabitha also give up her burden.

The bad: It's a very good story, but it feels oddly slight. That's probably down to the conceit of being based on two folk tales, which are often extremely slight.

Conclusion: It's good, but maybe not the best I've read in this category this year. It will probably be third or fourth on my final ballot.

So, for the record, my ballot will have either "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies" or "That Game We Played During the War" in first place, with the other in second. Third and fourth will be "Seasons of Glass and Iron" and "The City Born Great", but not necessarily in that order. In fifth place is "A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers". After that I will put "No Award" and leave the final spot blank. I have not decided the exact order I'll be putting each finalist in, and I probably won't be sure until the final day of voting. I'll be happy if any of the five win, as all are deserving.

Best Short Story: I've read all the entries in this category I intend to read. Check them out in my Reviews of 2017 Hugo Finalists