Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nebula Awards 2009 - short stories: Nominees & my ranking

Official announcement & opening remarks.

I've read 5 of the 6 nominees. All minor ones, though "Bridesicle" stands out within the group. Two other stories that might be of some interest depending on inclination & mood:

  1. Ahmed's has beautiful language that carries it through first half; later half will likely appeal only to readers interested in magical beasts. It's Arabesque descriptions sounded sort of cliched to me, however.
  2. Jemisin's. We all have some bad days - like, often during monsoon, rain starts exactly as I'm leaving for office, & seems to change time if I change mine! This is the story of a girl in New York who's permanently having a bad day. Or rather, the fear that it's a bad day.

Nominees (6 stories, best first, unread last).

Where I'm aware of an online copy, I include download link too. If I have a separate post on a story, link on story title goes there. For read stories, my rating is in brackets. Links on author or publisher fetch more fiction from source.
  1. Will McIntosh's "Bridesicle" (B); download text/audio; Asimov's, January 2009; zombie: A woman is given a choice - die, or entice a rich man enough to make him agree to marry you! How do you expect her to behave?
  2. Saladin Ahmed's "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" (B); download; Mike Allen (ed)'s "Clockwork Phoenix 2" (anthology), Norilana Books, July 2009; fantasy: Narrator, a "physicker" (medical doctor), gets a house call - a woman is very sick, & needs urgent help. Physicker will end up giving help, but for something he never dreamt of.

    Beautiful language & very good first half. Second half will probably appeal better to someone with a taste in magical creatures.
  3. James Patrick Kelly's "Going Deep" (C); download; Asimov's, June 2009: Mariska, a teenager clone of a woman spacer, isn't happy with the destiny she was born for - to travel hibernating to far away stars as a pioneer.

    Readers who prefer jargon-filled stories will probably like it more than I did. It's set on moon. Not unreadable, but I generally found it not very engaging.
  4. N K Jemisin's "Non-Zero Probabilities" (C); download text/audio; Clarkesworld, November 2009; non-genre: A girl in New York city is worried over improbable accidents that happen in the city with regularity, like a train coach derailing or she being hit by debris accidentally sent flying in a park, ...
  5. [winner] Kij Johnson's "Spar" (C); download text/audio; Clarkesworld, October 2009: A woman is stuck with an alien aboard an alien lifeboat - after their ships collided head on, an event that killed her male partner! Now she's constantly having sex with the alien, & nightmares.
  6. Michael A Burstein's "I Remember the Future"; I Remember the Future, Apex Publications, November 2008: Not read.


  1. Other short fiction categories in this year's Nebula awards: novelettes, [novellas].
  2. Last year's Nebula awards: short stories, novelettes, novellas.
  3. Competing awards that recognize "best" fiction originally published in 2009: Aurialis (Australian authors), BSFA (fiction published in UK), Million Writers (global, online short fiction).

    Note the scope of Nebulas is 1.5 years - later half of 2008 & all of 2009. All other awards only care about 2009.
  4. Anthologies that collect "best fiction originally published during 2009": Dozois', Hartwell/Cramer's, Horton's, Strahan's.
  5. My "best fiction originally published during 2009, 2010" lists (also list others' best of relevant year lists at bottom).
  6. "Best of" lists.
  7. Fiction originally published in 2008/2009, during 2000s.
Note: I normally update list posts like this when I read a story, find new links, etc. This post was last updated 13 March 2010.