Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Novella - A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson is about a critical choice made in the name of love.

While I liked the characters in this, I felt like I couldn't mentally pronounce any names, which somehow confused me. It's was a strange sensation - one I've had before - of not being able to connect with the characters because I couldn't figure out how I would say their names. I wonder if I'm alone in having this problem, or if naming conventions in fiction sometimes bother other people as well.

The good: It's possible to get a complete sense of the main character and his motivations through the story. There's also a nice sense of the entire world and the various nations in it. The fact that there are "gods" and that mathematics is considered women's work are both interesting, and a little strange. But then the reader learns that there's even more to the world.

The bad: And that's the bad, sort of. I felt the ending was far too abrupt, with a soap opera sensibility. It wasn't truly "just a dream", but enough of it was to make me feel slightly betrayed. I wanted more of the first relationship, more of how it turned out, but didn't get it because it didn't work in the narrative.

Conclusion: As good as it was, it wasn't the best I've read. It'll be fourth on my ballot for now, I think.

Best Novella: I've read Penric and the Shaman, The Ballad of Black Tom, Every Heart a Doorway, A Taste of Honey, and This Census-Taker. I need to read The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.