Here are my impressions of five of the six Hugo award Novella Nominees for 2011. Although there are normally only five nominees in any given Hugo category, this year the Novella category had six nominees due to a tie in the nominations. However, since I have not read the novel that it follows (and spoils), I did not read the sixth nominee, Deadline by Mira Grant.
Interestingly, all five of these stories were also 2011 Nebula Award Nominees as well, with a sixth story also nominated due to a tie.
Impressions, comparisons and thoughts on the five nominees reviewed follow.
SYNOPSIS: From an alternate history with both a moonbase and a global thermonuclear war, a band of stranded astronauts seek a new parallel earth to escape to.
PROS: Excellent use of space science; doesn’t overstay its welcome; solid prose.
CONS: An ending that feels a bit forced even given its symbolic power.
VERDICT: Interesting premise with solid, if not quite perfect, execution.
The USSR and America have ruined the world in a thermonuclear conflagration. The fate of astronauts stranded on a moonbase, their return capability extremely limited, seems to be to slowly die even as the Earth did. But fortunately, they have a Nazi wonder weapon: a device to move an area into a parallel timeline. And so the search is on for a timeline which has not died in nuclear fire, and has a space program far enough along to help them get off of the Moon. But even when such a timeline is found, the technical challenges in getting back to Earth are not the least bit trivial, to say nothing of the psychological strains of their ordeal…