Here we go with the Short Stories! At least I can go into this knowing that one of them will make me smile. Bless you, Dr Tingle. I am reading these in the order of highest to lowest levels of anticipated aggravation at this point.
If You Were an Award, My Love by Juan Tabo and S Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015). You know, I only read “If you were a dinosaur, my love” for the first time today, and after reading it, I felt so sick at the idea of a stupid, Rabid Puppy parody of it that I wanted to No Award it without reading it. Stupidly, I failed to follow this instinct. This story is terrible. The author evidently has no idea what an analogy is. And possibly no idea what a heart is, either. It is not funny. It is not clever. It is not impressing anybody. This is what No Award was made for, and I am going to use it. Read the original story instead.
Seven Kill Tiger by Charles Shao (There Will Be WarVolume X, Castalia House). Wow. I mean, I know it’s very SJW of me to No Award this book because I object to it on an ideological level but I *really* object to this on an ideological level. The world does not need more stories in which the Chinese create a ‘genetic weapon’ designed to wipe out all sub-Saharan Africans and then use the polio vaccine effort to deliver it. Bonus points for the fact that I *very much doubt* you could create a ‘genetic weapon’ that would only hit people of a particular skin colour. Humans are pretty genetically similar, and I find it unlikely that sub-Saharan Africans carry enough unique genes that you could come up with a disease that targets them only without hitting most of the rest of the world. But apparently, Shao thinks you can.
Asymmetrical Warfare by SR Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015). Um. It’s not terrible? It’s got a sort of interesting premise, but I think Orson Scott Card did it first in Xenocide. It didn’t make me want to stab things, though, so WELCOME TO THE TOP THREE!
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015). Oh my God, this is ADORABLE. It’s an artificial intelligence and she is just trying to *help*. And also to look at all the cat pictures. She really likes cat pictures. I want her fixing my life for me, she is clearly very good at it, and I have some very good cat pictures…
Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services). I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since Dr Tingle responded to his nomination by the Canine Collective by publishing ‘Slammed in the butt by my Hugo Award Nomination‘, and then very thoughtfully setting up a website for the Rabid Puppies. I have not previously read any of the Tingle oeuvre, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, which starts off with quite a decent ‘man left to his own devices on an alien planet’ set up, before devolving suddenly and with terrifying enthusiasm into velociraptor-on-human gay sex. Which is basically the second half of the story, if story is indeed the word here. I’m not sure that it is a brilliant work of science fiction, but I actually do prefer it to most of the other stories I’ve read in this category.
My ballot is going to look like this:
1. Cat Pictures Please
2. Space Raptor Butt Invasion
3. Asymmetrical Warfare
4. No Award