If you look back on my grades, you’ll see that this is a pretty easy category for me. I enjoyed all of the stories, as I have most of what I’ve read this year (I’d say the main dividing line between a B- and C+ is whether I enjoyed a story more than I disliked it), but most of this category is pretty flat. I’d say that the common theme of all of my B/B- stories is that they’re rather sketchy. All four either need more character development or more plot structure. Despite the extra wordcount, I think the novelettes were, on average, richer.
Of course, none of this holds true for the standout, Rachel Swirsky’s “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window.” I loved it more than any other nominee I’ve read/watched. I’d rank the others, but I think Swirsky will be the only thing I put on my ballot. Any of the other stories are better than “no award,” but if “Lady” doesn’t win, I don’t really care which one does.