2015 Hugo Nominee: The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale by Rajnar Vajra

Every time I let my subscription to Analog expire, like I did in the middle of last year, a story from the periodical gets nominated for an award and I end up kicking myself. Rajnar Vajra’s The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale is one such story. Nominated for the 2015 Hugo in the novelette category (a story between 7,500 and 17,500 words in length), I read the story so fast I barely realized it wasn’t a short story.

The Triple Sun has all the elements of the kind of stories I love. Quirky but likable characters. A mystery to solve. Space age exploration and a cosmopolitan setting where aliens from Venus and Mars have joined with man to explore the galaxy…

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it doesn’t resemble Star Trek, both past and present. Huh.

Even if there are echoes of “to go where no man has gone before” in Vajra’s “Golden Age Tale” (and it’s not intended as an homage), The Triple Sun is a well written story. Vajra has clearly given thought to the implications of the various gravities and atmospheres on alien races, how nano technology might be leverage to enhance space exploration and, yes, this: how all that might play out in a bar fight with a bunch of leatherneck space Marines.

Vajra does a great job of weaving story with science (fiction), imagining how change in physiology might play out in evolutionary development, and then allowed his characters to walk through their choices in that environment. It’s an interesting and satisfying tale that demonstrates, to me, what science fiction should be about.

I’ve still a lot to read before I get through the 2015 Hugo nominees, but I’m adding Vajra to a short list of “to watch” writers. If he can replicate this, he’ll have me hooked.

Other 2015 Hugo nominees that I’ve looked at include Totaled, Big Boys Don’t Cry, and Flow.

Originally published at www.attackofthebooks.com on April 20, 2015.