What is the best science fiction or fantasy story you have read this year?
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have Nebula Awards have released the nominees for the annual Nebula Awards. We found a few free short stories and novellas you can read online. Click on the links and quotes below to explore some of the nominated stories.
“The Sounds of Old Earth” Matthew Kressel: “Earth has grown quiet since everyone’s shipped off to the new one.”
“Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar: “I hate selkie stories. They’re always about how you went up to the attic to look for a book, and you found a disgusting old coat and brought it downstairs between finger and thumb and said “What’s this?”, and you never saw your mom again.”
“Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” by Kenneth Schneyer: “Latimer painted Three Women while still a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. It is the earliest completed painting that displays the hyperrealism characterizing the first period of her work.”
If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky: “If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you.”
“Alive, Alive Oh” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley: “The waves crash onto the blood-red shore, sounding just like the surf on Earth: a dark rumbling full of power. It’s been seventeen years since we left.”
Paranormal Romance by Christopher Barzak: “This is a story about a witch. Not the kind you’re thinking of either. She didn’t have a long nose with a wart on it. She didn’t have green skin or long black hair.”
The Litigation Master and the Monkey King by Ken Liu: “The tiny cottage at the edge of Sanli Village—away from the villagers’ noisy houses and busy clan shrines and next to the cool pond filled with lily pads, pink lotus flowers, and playful carp—would have made an ideal romantic summer hideaway for some dissolute poet and his silk-robed mistress from nearby bustling Yangzhou.”
“In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” by Sarah Pinsker: “‘Don’t leave.’ The first time he said it, it sounded like a command. The tone was so unlike George, Millie nearly dropped her hairbrush.”
Trial of the Century by Lawrence M. Schoen: “It’s a story that occurs after the end of the first Amazing Conroy novel, Buffalito Destiny but before the beginning of the second novel, Buffalito Contingency; a story that answers a question more than a few fans have asked me, which goes something like: Hey, Reggie’s in a coma at the end of the first book but fine at the start of the next one… what happened?”
‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages: “Wakulla Springs. A strange and unknown world, this secret treasure lies hidden in the jungle of northern Florida. In its unfathomable depths, a variety of curious creatures have left a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end. Twenty-five thousand years after they disappeared from the face of the Earth, the bones of prehistoric mastodons, giant armadillos, and other primeval monsters have been found beneath the seemingly placid surface of the lagoon.”
‘‘Burning Girls” by by Veronica Schanoes: “dark fantasy novella about a Jewish girl educated by her grandmother as a healer and witch growing up in an increasingly hostile environment in Poland in the late nineteenth century. In addition to the natural danger of destruction by Cossacks, she must deal with a demon plaguing her family.”