Every year I say I’m going to do it. Read all of the available Nebula nominated short works before the awards ceremony. Usually, I get through the short stories. Maybe a novelette or two. This year? Four novellas, five novelettes, seven short stories. I am totally counting this for the SpecFic Challenge.
“Kiss Me Twice” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2011) – A cyber-noir, if you will. Enjoyable, though I found the world-building aspects to be a bit lacking.
“Silently and Very Fast” by Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011) – What if a program achieved sentience? What would they dream? What myths would they make? Could we still use it? I liked this more than I thought I would, though I’m not sure I want to read more if it. (This is part one of a series.)
“The Ice Owl” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011) – I think I would have liked this story better if it were a Western.
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing) – Ken Lui should win something if only because he wrote this and “Paper Menagerie.” This story is as brutal as that one is sweet.
“With Unclean Hands” by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011)
“Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4, Night Shade Books) – I was recently told by the editor of a magazine that stories about the afterlife are what beginners write. Yeah, whatever. Not my favorite of Swirsky’s stories, but still solid.
“Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011)
“Sauerkraut Station” by Ferrett Steinmetz (Giganotosaurus, November 2011) – Lots of “horrors of war” in this one. I do appreciate the female characters.
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com, June 2011) – I had read this story when it first premiered on Tor’s site. Or at least I started to read it; I’m not sure I finished it.Interesting little tale pitting choice vs. determinism.
“The Migratory Pattern of Dancers” by Katherine Sparrow (Giganotosaurus, July 2011) – In its plot points, its a very basic story. While I’m not a fan of dystopias, Sparrow’s worldbuilding in 10k of words is as good as many novels I’ve read. Often, less is so much more.
“The Old Equations” by Jake Kerr (Lightspeed Magazine, July 2011) – What if we embarked upon near-light-speed travel without knowing about relativity? But I don’t know why you’d send a married guy off into this…
“What We Found” by Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)
“Her Husband’s Hands” by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011) – Creepy and disquieting. And another dystopia, this one with an ever-raging war.
“Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son” by Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011) – Definitely presents a pessimistic view of science. Told by absence of details.
“Movement” by Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2011) – An decent tale, socially poignant. Deals with a temporal autistic and the nature of being “fixed” or “evolved.”
“Shipbirth” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2011) – This is from the realm of far-out SF. You just have to go with it. It really is amazing how much backstory/world building can be skipped.
“The Axiom of Choice” by David W. Goldman (New Haven Review, Winter 2011) – Another story about choice and determinism. I like this one better than “Six Month, Three Days.”
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2011) – Another tale that deals somewhat with evolution, but in a more social construct way.
“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011) – A sweet, fanciful, heart-string tugger.