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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium" by Gray Rinehart - Hugo Award voting 2015

This is another work nominated in "Best Novelette", and again we have a competent, thoughtful, but not especially distinguished, space adventure. The underlying theme involves conflict between humans and technologically advanced aliens, in this case the Peshari, a lizard-like bunch with a taste for open skies and a morbid distaste (or more than that) for anything to do with digging into the ground.

By my standards, which are not binding on anybody else, "Ashes to Ashes" suffers from being far too talky.

Be that as it may, having now read three (out of five) of the stories nominated in the "Best Novelette" category, I can't say that its list looks especially strong this year. Notably, all three nominees that I've read appear on both the "Sad Puppies" slate and the "Rabid Puppies" slate, and they give me no confidence that the people running the respective "puppies" campaigns looked very far to find high-quality alternatives to work by whomever they think are the well-networked, much-promoted usual suspects. I have not yet found a plausible winner in this category, but perhaps I'll be blown away by one of the remaining two novelettes on the Hugo ballot.

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