Thanks to a long drive for work followed by a trail around a warehouse sized supermarket I had the time to listen to the opening story in one sitting (or, in fact, sit-then-walk-ting).
What a treat! The clean prose and clear reading were a great combination. The narrative here rattled along, and the classic Big Dumb Objects crushed my normal objection to space-ified police procedurals into pulp.
The actual award winner was OK, but not so much fun. I can see the jury responded to the central idea. Who hasnt had that strange compulsion to photograph interesting foreign doors? But I thought the story itself lost its way from about the middle on.
These monster episodes are killing me – I’m way behind!
Having said that – both stories hit the spot, for different reasons. The first really harks back to Golden age SF while the second (and eventual winner) has an interesting SFnal conceit at its centre, but it’s ultimately about people and their relationships.
You’re behind! I’m only half way through now. (That’s what I get for taking a week off to sail an 18th Century square rigger. Oh well).
Jim! Fantastic science article as always. It sound as though you are not familiar with the work of Richard Scarry. (Huck is indeed a cat). I loved his work as a kid and am enjoying it again as an adult with kids of my own. “Best Storybook Ever” is the highlight for me. His artwork and in particular his use of colour strikes an emotional note that resonates with me and can even now bring me to tears.
The Paradise Aperture was okay, and the central idea was quite an interesting one, but it didn’t really float my boat.
Contact Authority, on the other hand, was superb. As Gonzalo said, above, it really does hark back to the Golden Age, but does so in a way that is thoroughly modern and genuinely gripping. I was hooked from beginning to end.