I’m dreadfully tardy in pushing my Rongo Award agenda. Sorry about that. To remind folks, the Rongo’s are my own personal attempt to deal with the weirdness that’s been caused by the various forms of puppies and their push on the Hugos (which are kind of like the People’s Choice Awards, only limited to those who go to the World Science Fiction Convention).
You can read this if you want a little more background on the incredibly important award.
Today I’ll reveal another winner–this time in the short story category. But first, let me remind you of our current “slate” of winners.
Unlocked: John Scalzi Tor.com
The observant of you may note that there is already one short story winner, so why add a second? I mean, how can you have two “best” in a single category? Very good question.
The Rongo is not really hung up on categorization so much as it is on enjoyment. The Rongo goes to stories that are “among the best,” because the Rongo knows that quality is subjective and that it is impossible to truly measure “the best.” Beyond that, I guess, the Rongo heart wants what the Rongo heart wants.
And with that, let’s get to the big reveal
The third-ever Rongo Award goes to …
Rongo Category: Short Story
Story: “A Meaningful Exchange” (Published by Lightspeed)
Author: Kat Howard
Here are things I found admirable about “A Meaningful Exchange.”
First, it’s slippery. The story follows two characters, one is pretty much as he appears and the other is (in many ways) just the same. They circle each other, both wanting something from the other that isn’t quite obvious. Second, it’s very tight. Very simple. Kat Howard is a writer of short stories that I’m growing to really admire. She can take her time, describe things wonderfully, and still get to the point and keep the narrative growing. This story does that. Third, it is quite short (1800 words or so), and yet in those 1800 words, she plays with some very deep concepts of who we are as people. The story is about lies and love, and maybe even some element of the truth. It is quite evil in that way.
Finally, it’s a story with a punch, and a punch that’s strong enough that I can still get a sense of the piece today–many months after having read it. I figure that with the number of stories I read, when one stays with me like that, it’s clearly worth a Rongo.
So, for these reasons, I am more than pleased to present “A Meaningful Exchange” with the third-ever Rongo Award for being among the best short stories of 2014.
I should add here that I have become more than a bit of a Kat Howard fan over the last couple years. I recently read her collaborative novella “The End of the Sentence” (written with Maria Dahvana Headley). Have I mentioned I love novellas?
It was very nearly a Rongo Award winner, itself … which, of course, is saying something!
If you enjoy darker, contemporary/urban fantasy that plays with mythology and legend it would be well-worth the $2.99. [grin]