The New Hugo Winners (Vol 4) Edited by Gregory Benford
I'm not sure how much work an editor has to do to edit a volume of award winners but there you go. :-)

This book contains the winners of three of the categories of Hugo awards (novella, novelette and short story) from the years 1992, 1993 and 1994.

Most of the stories here were first published in Asimov's science fiction magazine. Thus, regular subscribers to that will find little new in this collection.

I felt that the three short stories were not particularly good.

The first, "A Walk in the Sun" by Geoffrey Landis is traditional SF involving an astronaut stranded on the Moon. I felt that this could have been written thirty or forty years earlier and, after the first four pages, it was simple to see how the rest of the story would progress.

Only one writer, Connie Willis, featured twice and her two short stories were, for me at least, the weakest in the collection.

While none of them stands out as being exceptionally good, the longer works do manage to redeem the collection. The first novelette, "Gold" by Asimov is not particularly memorable but the other two, "The Nutcracker Coup" and "Georgia on my Mind" together with the three novellas, "Beggars in Spain", "Barnacle Bill the Spacer" and "Down in the Bottomlands" tip the balance.

All five of these were interesting stories in settings ranging from contemporary Earth through space adventure to alien worlds and races. TNC and BiS also had something interesting to say beyond their narrative.

In summary then, a readable book which is worth the price of admission but there are better collections around.

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the jpoc rating
Five out of ten. A mixed bunch but worth it on the whole
Detailed Contents
Landis, Geoffrey: "A Walk in the Sun"
An Astronaut is stranded on the moon with a solar powered oxygen recyler. Survival means walking round the moon to stay in the sunshine. SF has moved on since this type of story was in its heyday. 4/10

Asimov, Isaac: "Gold" A rich, famous and successful drama director is appraoched by an author who offers him a substantial sum in gold if he will undertake to turn the author's latest SF novel into a "compudrama." Unless you happen to be an SAF author frustrated at the difficulty of getting your works filmed, this is does not have a lot to say. 5/10

Kress, Nancy: "Beggars in Spain"
Rich parents have the possibility to specify the exact genetic makeup of their children. A new modification becomes available and a small number of people arrange to have children which have no need to sleep. By any standards. these children seem happy and very successful but over time, things begin to change. 7/10

Willis, Connie: "Even the Queen"
Medical advances make menstruation obsolete and the treatment becomes universally accepted. Except by a small group of "Cyclists" who reject the advance. Yawn, so what? 3/10

Kagan, Janet: "The Nutcracker Coup"
Human representatives to an alien world nudge the people towards the overthrow of their dictator in a bloodless coup d'etate. This is achieved through the promotion of satirically carved nutcrackers. It's a bit of a "Star Trek" idea but it is very well written and fun to read. 7/10

Shepard, Lucius: "Barnacle Bill the Spacer"
Set on a space station orbiting the sun beyond Mars, this is the tale of Barnacle Bill, an unloved and unpreposessing worker on the station who becomes an unlikely hero. 7/10

Willis, Connie: "Death on the Nile"
A group of tourists in Egypt seem to be falling out of reality and into an existance detached from the rest of the world. 4/10

Sheffield, Charles: "Georgia on My Mind"
Two men make some startling discoveries in a remote farmhouse on New Zealand's South Island. They seem to hint at the construction of Babbage's "unbuildable" Analytical Engine and also the discovery of an alien race on the South Atlantic Island of South Georgia. A great tale. 8/10

Turtledove, Harry: "Down in the Bottomlands"
Traditional SF adventure on an alien world. In this tale, a group of tourists are visiting the Bottomlands, an isolated but beautiful area. While there, they discover a plot to cause immense destruction to the Bottomlands. Can the plot be thwarted? This is a very well written and gripping adventure. 9/10