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NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2012 by James Patrick Kelly


edited by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61614-619-1
Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

The 2010 Nebula Award winners, as voted in 2011 by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (after a preliminary sieving), finally served up in 2012.

The short-story winners, following a tie: Kij Johnson's "Ponies," a razor-slash across the jugular illustrating the unthinking cruelty of young girls; and Harlan Ellison's "How Interesting: A Tiny Man," something like a modern take on the point J.G. Ballard made long ago with "The Drowned Giant." Novelette winner Eric James Stone's "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" features colossal energy-beings that live inside the sun, and—really—Mormonism (I know, I know—but read the story anyway). "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window," Rachel Swirsky's winning novella (concerning a matriarchal society whose chief wizard is betrayed by her monarch into perpetual enslavement) suffers from its staccato pacing and unfinished air. There are excerpts from Connie Willis' Blackout/All Clear (best novel) and Andre Norton Award winner Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight. The Solstice Award (for impact on the field) was claimed by the late James Tiptree Jr. and illustrated with a devastating story of alien sex, "And I Awoke And Found Me Here On The Cold Hill's Side." Other ballot finalists are represented by Geoff Landis, Chris Barzak, Shweta Narayan, Adam Troy-Castro, Aliette de Bodard and Amal el-Mohtar, and there's poetry from Kendall Evans and Samantha Henderson, Howard Hendrix and Ann K. Schwader.

Not a banner year, all things considered, with greatest likely appeal to the younger section of the audience (but is it the audience that's getting younger, or the writers, or the voters?), and too often pallid, especially—perhaps unfairly—contrasted with a true heavyweight champion like Tiptree.