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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).

Friday, June 05, 2015

Steven Diamond and Kary English stories - Hugo Awards Voting

Among the items nominated in the "Best Short Story" category of the 2015 Hugo Awards are "A Single Samurai", by Steven Diamond, and "Totaled", by Kary English.

I'll be quite brief about these. "A Single Samurai" is a fantasy story involving a magical samurai warrior's attempt to halt the path of a mountain-sized kaiju monster. Leaving aside a couple of small verbal infelicities, it is a well-written, well-crafted piece told in the first person by the samurai, whose character - one marked by honour, tradition, and invincible determination - is conveyed effectively. So vast is the kaiju that the samurai's efforts appear ineffectual and futile, but read on... All in all, this is a solid short story, if marred by something of a deus ex machina style of ending. By all means give it a try and see what you think.

"Totaled" is a more innovative and sophisticated story, and I think it's a genuine contender for the award. It's difficult to describe this one without giving away too much and spoiling the effect. Suffice to say that it's told - mainly in present tense, and for good reasons - from a very unusual point of view. Kary English was not previously on my radar but appears to be a noteworthy talent.

After writing the above, I checked and found that both of these stories were on the Sad Puppies slate, as was Lou Antonelli's story, "On the Spiritual Plain", which I reviewed a few days ago. The remaining two stories were not, although they do appear on the slate issued by the (Zeus help us!) "Rabid Puppies". I'll get to those soon. Meanwhile Kary English's "Totaled" seems most deserving of the award of three short stories that I've read so far.

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