This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so.
Novella is a length I tend to struggle with as a reader. Often I find them either rushed, or stuffed with filler. This year has several I enjoyed, though.
- All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing) - 4 Stars. Top of ballot, one of my favorite novellas ever. The narrator is excellent.
- “And Then There Were (N-One),” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017) - 4 Stars. A murder mystery at a convention where everyone is the same person. Another excellent example of the right amount of plot for the length. This works really well. I didn't even mind being ahead of the narrator in solving the crime.
- Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing) - 3.5 Stars. Well written, but has some of my usual issues with serialized ficiton.
- The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing) - 3.5 Stars. Great worldbuilding, but not as solid across all elements.
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing) - 4 Stars. I am surprised by how much I liked this given how underwhelming I found the previous novella in this series.
- River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing) - 3.5 stars. Great characters, but this felt incomplete. Like the first 30% of a great book, but not quite enough content to be satisfying.
So, obviously All Systems Red will be at the top. Followed by And Then . . and Sticks and Bones. Black Tides next, then Home, and River of Teeth. This is a very solid selection of novellas.