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1. "Six Months, Three Days" by Charlie Jane Anders
This is one that I nominated-- I adore time travel, and this story really delves into all the things I adore most about it. It's a perfect way of smashing two concepts of time together, but it's also a way of exploring two different people, and two ways of approaching life, and how those differences emerge. I adore it.

2. "What We Found" by Geoff Ryman
Quiet, but engrossing and compelling. Beautifully-realized. It doesn't feel like science fiction for a while, but once it does, it becomes a perfect reflection of the story itself.

3. "Fields of Gold" by Rachel Swirsky
Compelling, despite the fact that I disliked everybody in it. Reminded me of A Brief History of the Dead, but mostly in a way that made me want to re-read the other story. But, well-crafted, never generic, and fully-realized.

4. "Ray of Light" by Brad R. Torgersen
Well-written and well-conceived, but somehow less substantial than the others. The characters felt more like sketches or placeholders than people in their own right. And somehow it felt a little too pat for the sun to have returned after less than a generation, especially given the comparison to previous ice ages. But I liked it.

5. No Award

"The Copenhagen Interpretation" by Paul Cornell
Nearly unreadable. I gave up. I'll assume, generously, that this is part of some kind of series, and that's how it got nominated despite giving so little context I was surprised to discover that we were in a spacefaring future a third of the way along. It's good for a story to subtly interweave its novel elements into the story, rather than doing infodumps or belaboring the details, but you still have to put that information in somewhere near the beginning. By the time I'm three-quarters done with the story, I should have some idea of the restrictions of the setting and the probably consequences of the characters' choices.
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1. Hugo
I was blown away by this film. I did like it a tiiiny bit better before I found out it wasn't an original work, but based on a book-- but it's still astounding. Creative, intelligent, and reaffirming of the joy of stories. The SF element isn't quite as central, in the sense that the doll could be any McGuffin and work in a similar way-- but the old films almost take on their own SF qualities, in the historical setting. And the film is about technology, in its own way. It's also beautiful, well-acted, emotional, and something I still remember and think about. And something of a rarity, a SF movie that doesn't focus on the action to the detriment of thoughtfulness-- the kind of SF movie that I want more of.

2. Source Code
Reading detailed recaps, I think I'd really enjoy this (though not enough to pay $15 to own it, so I'm going off recaps). It combines a lot of elements I really like (Groundhog Day scenarios, splitting timelines, explosions) in a way that looks interesting and thoughtful. It doesn't really bother me that the program itself is obviously impossible and a little illogical-- that's what makes it SF. SF is all about "what if?"-- the postulate doesn't have to be plausible. It doesn't seem to have inspired the same kind of feverish online dissection as, say, Inception, but I think that's more because not very many people have seen it, rather than a suggestion that there's nothing to think about.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Harry Potter created something amazing. This is the payoff for all of that. It definitely rates as "haunting"; I've probably rewatched bits of it more than any of the others on this list. It was also beautifully-made, though my very favourite part of the Deathly Hallows (the infiltration of the Ministry) was in Part 1.

No Award

Captain America: The First Avenger
I've watched this several times, and I love it. I love Tiny Steve. I cry every single time he throws himself on the fake grenade, which is honestly kind of embarrassing. But I think the story loses something once the sci fi elements come in-- which is the opposite of what should happen in a Hugo-worthy movie. Big Steve is charming, but the whole Red Skull storyline is light. It tries to prevent you from thinking about what is happening-- also the opposite of Hugo-worthy. I think I actually nominated this one, but now I'm just not feeling it.

Game of Thrones (Season 1)
Talking to people who have seen it, its biggest selling point seems to be the incredible depth of history that George R. R. Martin has created. I'm sure it's exciting and interesting, but I'm not convinced that it's saying something bigger. Except that everybody dies.
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1. "Remedial Chaos Theory" (Community)
This is the only episode of Community I've ever seen, and it was AMAZING. Amazing! I immediately wanted to re-watch it. It somehow managed to be thoughtful and lighthearted at the same time. I was also really impressed that I could show up at episode 4 of season 3 of a TV show I knew nothing about, and have no trouble whatsoever following the story. I like that it avoided the easy ending of having any of them be a "real" timeline, while still avoiding getting too tragic with the darkest one. Definitely great TV, but also great sci fi. Humor isn't easier than melodrama, and a short episode isn't easier than a long one-- rather the opposite. And, I feel like it means more when a non-SF show does a SF episode. It's a bigger risk, and it has a bigger impact on their audience. I want more shows to do stuff like this.

2. "The Girl Who Waited" (Doctor Who)
Now this is good sci fi. Perfectly, beautifully self-contained. Haunting. Completely driven by its sci fi elements, but driven to explore the human condition. Old Amy humanizes the time travel convention of undoing imperfect timelines. Of course it feels like a death to her; of course she would rather be rescued than erased. And of course Rory still loves Amy, and they're both "Amy 1". The only thing I found implausible was the Doctor's insistence that the TARDIS couldn't sustain the paradox, since it's sustained much bigger ones for much longer time periods-- but he's enough of an asshole, in his own way, that it also works to believe that he doesn't want to be faced with the existence of Old Amy, that he actually prefers for her to be erased so he can erase his own failure. And the worldbuilding was fantastic.

3. "The Doctor's Wife" (Doctor Who)
A stunning episode of Doctor Who. Perfect character moments for all our cast. But reflecting, I think the massive love for this episode hinges upon fifty years of love for the Tardis, rather than any particular conceptual heavy-lifting in the episode itself. Then again, is that a problem? Sexy's time-tangled conversations are great sci fi, as are Amy and Rory's time-twisted terrors. I think the episode would still make sense on its own, and carry much of the same emotional heft. The long history just helps catapult it from 'great' to 'unforgettable'-- and, however it gets there, 'unforgettable' has been my primary Hugo criteron so far.

4. No Award

"A Good Man Goes to War" (Doctor Who)
A pretty enjoyable episode of the show, but totally reliant on previous episodes in a way that I don't think allows this one to stand as a singular piece. Lots of beautiful tiny worldbuilding moments but just not that thoughtful.

"The Drink Tank's Hugo Acceptance Speech"
Yes, this makes me cry every time, but seriously? This is not a work of science fiction, and it does not deserve a Hugo. Giving this video a Hugo will not give us a repeat of those amazing feelings. It would actually be kinda dickish.
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1. "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu
I hate magical realism, and I'd already read this story once before, but I still choked up when I re-read it today. It's not fun to read something so relentlessly, senselessly painful-- but it has stayed with me. It's beautiful. And the Hugo is for fantasy, too.

2. "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu
I'm not sure yet how I feel about this one. The world is almost unbelievably inventive, and incredibly compelling. And we get a few hints of characters, and something of a narrative arc-- but less than I usually prefer. And yet, I don't think they were trying to convey a singular narrative. I definitely like it! I just think I'll have to mull it over for a while. Which is a good thing, really.

3. "Movement" by Nancy Fulda
Beautiful, with a neatly-executed story arc. Despite its seeming meandering, it really does have a laser focus, something I appreciate in a story-- it's hard to keep everything so unified. But it almost might have wrapped up too neatly; as fascinating as it was to visit this world, I'm not sure it will stay with me the way others have. Still. Impeccably executed.

4. No Award

"Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue" by John Scalzi
I read this, and loved it, when it first came out. I've read this, and loved it, several times since then. It makes me laugh every time! It does take skill to write funny stories, and also to write "bad" stories in a way that isn't actually bad. But, when I'm not reading it, I'm not thinking about it. Just not quite Hugo material.

"The Homecoming" by Mike Resnick
It's a great concept, and one that ought to have resonated deeply with me, what with the whole my-parents-hate-my-physical-transformation thing, but somehow it just didn't have the emotion. The fighting dragged on repetitively, which is accurate to how these fights always go, except that they also degenerate as each person is in more pain. The ending was believable but somehow unearned; every little detail we get about the father is about how he prefers to be surrounded by things that are exactly as they've always been. He doesn't do minor household repairs because he prefers the familiar reminders. I'm not sure exotic wonder would have such a strong, immediate effect on him. I enjoyed watching the story and relationships unfold, but I think I require perfect execution of my Hugo nominees, and this could have used another couple rounds of edits.

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