The Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 is the first anthology of shorter fiction that I’ve read in a while and it completely sparked a new addiction. This is a great way to get to try out a bunch of authors that you probably haven’t read before and while you might not like all of them, you’ll definitely find something new to love I suspect. Some of these shorts I honestly wish were full novels since the worlds introduced are so interesting!
Note: I received an advanced copy of Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Aliette de Bodard, Andrew Robert Sutton, Ann Leckie, Christopher Barzak, Deborah P Kododji, Greg Bear, Henry Lien, Ken Liu, Kenneth Schneyer, Matthew Kressel, Nalo Hopkinson, Rachel Swirsky, Robin Wayne Bailey, Samuel R. Delaney, Sarah Pinsker, Sophia Samatar, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Terry A. Garey, Vylar Kaftan
Published by Pyr on Dec. 8th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
The editor of this year's volume, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Greg Bear, author of over thirty novels, including the Nebula Award-winning Darwin’s Radio and Moving Mars.
This anthology includes the winners of the Andre Norton, Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars Awards, as well as the Nebula Award winners, and features Ann Leckie, Nalo Hopkinson, Rachel Swirsky, Aliette de Bodard, and Vylar Kaftan, with additional articles and poems by authors such as Robin Wayne Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Terry A. Garey, Deborah P Kolodji, and Andrew Robert Sutton.
(I’m going to structure this review a bit differently than I normally do so that I can discuss each story briefly individually :).)
- “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Winner) – I remember seeing this story discussed this past year and being a bit confused about why people were so excited/unhappy about it (it was rather controversial among some aspects of fandom). When I first cracked open this anthology and started on it, I thought it was weird. Then I got to the end and everything changed. I might have cried at Starbucks. Just read it okay?
- “The Sounds of Old Earth” by Matthew Kressel – I think one reason I shied away from short stories for so long was that I thought they always had to have some clever message. While Sounds of Old Earth probably does have a message about conservation, it’s also just a good story about a man’s life as his home is taken away in the rush to space.
- “Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sophia Samatar – Ummmmm… this wasn’t the oddest of the stories, but I think this is one that just wasn’t for me. I didn’t get it ya know? I love selkie stories too so that put us off on a bad foot ;-).
- “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Edition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” by Kenneth Schneyer – Okay, this is where I got lost for a bit. I really didn’t see the point of this story and don’t really feel that it qualifies as science fiction. The one this that makes it sort of is that the dates on some of the captions read 2025, etc.
- “Alive, Alive Oh” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley – But then I hit this story and was back on board. Heart-breaking but lovely! And made me never want to volunteer for scientific missions in space if we ever get there, ha.
- “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard (Winner) – I completely didn’t recognize de Bodard’s name when I read this story, but I just finished her novel from this summer (The House of Shattered Wings) and can definitely see a similar style. I loved this story since it focused on a culture I’m not familiar with and discussed how important it is to realize differences are not a bad thing.
- “Paranormal Romance” by Christopher Barzak – This is my favorite of the stories in this collection! There is a bisexual main character and she’s a witch! I basically just want to read a whole series based on this.
- “They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass” by Alaya Dawn Johnson – So I didn’t do well with Johnson’s Summer Prince despite liking the setting, but I think I like her short fiction more. I found the discussion of abortion in sci-fi to be an interesting addition that I don’t think I’ve seen before, but once again I wish I could read a full novel in this world and find out more.
- “Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters” by Henry Lien – This was an odd story. I didn’t really buy into the pearl ground that requires skates to navigate and was just a bit confused about what was going on in the world. The main character was an entertaining if spoiled and entitled brat though, ha.
- “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” by Sarah Pinsker- I’m still not sure how I feel about this story. We don’t get a lot of details about what is really going on, just something bad that George has to deal with at the end of his life. I think this story would have done well as a longer version that could have been developed a bit more.
- “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” by Ken Liu – Whoa, this one gets graphic. At first I was digging it since it is mostly historical with a dash of hallucination, but wow, get ready for some intense stuff.
- “The Weight of the Sunrise” by Vylar Kaftan (Winner) – I definitely see why this novella won, it is wonderful! I loved the exploration of historical Incan culture and the confrontation with Americans traveling south. I’m not sure I would really classify this as fantasy though.
There was also an excerpt from the Novel winner, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I assume it was chapter one? It definitely convinced me that I need that book in my life, sounds so interesting!
“Finding Frqnkie: Remembering Frank M. Robinson” by Robin Wayne Bailey is a brief discussion of Robinson, and I honestly skimmed most of it since I’m not familiar with either Robinson or Bailey and so didn’t find myself engaged with a history of a stranger.
The Andre Norton Award is for young adult sci-fi and fantasy and therefore there was an excerpt of Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson and I completely loved it. I had been thinking that I needed to read this one after seeing a few reviews, but now I’m sold.
The Grand Master Award was given this year to Samuel R. Delany and so his “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” was included. It is…. quite odd. I eventually got into the story, but it took a long while and his writing style just doesn’t work well for me it seems. I had been wanting to check out his stuff for a while though, so that’s good to accomplish and know for sure!
The Rhysling Awards are for sci-fi and fantasy poetry and the 2013 winners are featured in this collection. I’m not in anyway experience with poetry, so I have very little to say about them, but they were definitely interesting if you like cats, Cinderella, and/or flying books :).
The Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 is a great introduction to the current state of short speculative fiction for those of us who don’t read much of it. I’m fully addicted and finding novellas everywhere I can now. I think I always thought that short fiction was all like what I was forced to read in school and didn’t realize that I’d love sci-fi and fantasy short fiction for the same reason I love sf/f long fiction. So go pick up a copy and fall in love with short fiction and a whole bunch of authors.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 edited by Greg Bear
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.
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