Despite being dated 2013, this edition of the Nebula Awards Showcase presents the winning and nominated stories as voted by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for the year 2011. Better late than never.
Ken Liu deservedly won the short story award for “The Paper Menagerie,” a delicately wrought magic-realist tale of a Chinese girl purchased and brought to America as a bride, which packs enough emotional power to melt a heart of stone. Best novella winner Kij Johnson offers an engagingly populated and artfully rendered story of an engineer bridging a most peculiar and dangerous river. “What We Found,” by Geoff Ryman (best novelette), takes a single scientific principle and integrates it, perfectly and tellingly, into real life. Connie Willis was presented with a Grand Master Award, and her story of political correctness run amok, “Ado,” illustrates the comic brilliance found in much of her work. For the other winners, there are excerpts from Jo Walton’s best novel, Among Others, and Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze (Andre Norton Award), with poetry (Rhysling Awards) represented by C.S.E. Cooney (long) and Amal El-Mohtar (short), and an essay from Solstice Award winner John Clute. Elsewhere, E. Lily Yu's smart, predatory wasps draw intricate, exact maps and enslave anarchist bees; Carolyn Ives Gilman writes of genocide, education, and mothers and daughters; Ferrett Steinmetz describes life in wartime aboard a space station; Nancy Fulda writes of a “cure” for autism; David Goldman offers a multiple-choice story that both is and isn’t; Brad R. Torgersen describes how compelling our memories of sunlight can be; and Katherine Sparrow weighs in with a sort of futuristic They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
Essential fare for short story aficionados, even though some of the contents have appeared in other collections.