Friday, July 07, 2017

A Hugo Review: John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer - Kelly Robson

The packet includes three stories by Robson: The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill, Two-Year Man and Waters of Versailles.

I read them in that order, and the first two hit me fairly hard. The third was less of a shock to me for some reason. Perhaps because the death involved in it happens fairly off-camera to a person we haven't been introduced to yet. In any case, I was impressed that a person thought to capture a mythical creature in order to handle a very mundane job, but beyond the concept I didn't have much feeling for the story.

The first one, Jessica Churchill, was incredibly painful to read with horrible events throughout. The choice of the date was interesting, and made the rest feel more painful. I've read stories where this exact thing happens but the end result is happy - having one like this seemed much more logical. The ending was really a punch in the gut. I had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around the story on the first read-through, and had to read it again.

The Two-Year Man was a glimpse into a strange world. I very much liked the world-building and the implications of the world that were presented, even while I'd hate to live in that world. Mikkel thinks he isn't smart because of the way his society has raised him, but he's got what he needs to get by. This is a terrifyingly sad story, like the first, and also included some gut-punching.

Overall, nicely crafted stories, but not really my cuppa. I found them difficult to enjoy even while I admired the craft that went into them.

Conclusion: Right now, second spot on the ballot.