FeatherPenClipArtI gather the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies plan to game the Hugos came up fairly quickly, leaving the perpetrators searching for suitable “traditional” works to submit. Still, I have to complain about what ended up on the ballot. Hugo-worthy hard SF stories, for example, should not make errors about low gravity. Stories should present believable setting and characters. They should have conflict and resolution. They should provoke thought. Essays should have a visible structure.

Regardless of the Sad/Rabid Puppy’s efforts to stamp out literary elements, a couple of literary type stories did make it onto the ballot. These include Heuvelt’s “The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” with its allegory and The Three Body Problem with its highly creative hard SF presentation. Both of these have that bright, creative spark I’m looking for. These authors have taken some risk. Cixin Liu has especially taken some, expecting that his readers will enjoy orbital mechanics and nano-tech applications. Significantly, both these stories were written by people outside the mainstream English market. If hard SF these days was all like The Three Body Problem, I’d spend more time reading it.