Nebula Awards Showcase 54 ed Nibedita Send (SFWA 2020)

The annual Nebula anthology had four different publishers in the last five years, and this volume is published by SFWA themselves. I bought it on and it came to me with Printed in Great Britain by Amazon on the last page, so presumably a Print on Demand publication (I’m a bit out of touch with publishing these days, it’s probably a Locally Produced Fungible Resource rather than PoD.)

Before the stories start, Editor Sen provides a very brief introduction, musing on the problems of producing fiction in strange times. Kate Dollarhyde provides a brief review of computer game writers and their acceptance into the realms of the more traditional writing community. And Brandon O’Brien briefly ponders ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse’ and the role of fandom.

First up, fiction-wise, is Phenderson Djèlí Clark’s ‘The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington’, originally published in Fireside Fiction, February 2019 and still online there. I enjoyed the story/stories when reading it in Jonathan Strahan’s take on the best of the year’s SF&F. I noted also an interesting article about the story. It won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

Second up is Rhett C. Bruno’s ‘Interview for the End of the World’. It is subtitled ‘A Short Story set in the Children of Titan’ series, which prompted me to do a quick google, and clearly there’s a market for his work, and he’s clearly happy to supply that market. I managed a couple of pages, but found it lacking in pretty much anything I look for in a short story, and for my money this story is out of place in this series of anthologies. [15-Mar-2021]

A.T. Goodblatt’s ‘And Yet’ is a haunted house horror story, with an sfnal element in that the adult revisiting the neighbourhood haunted house, and the haunting memories of her youth, is now a scientist researching parallel universes. It felt just a little too like previous stories in a similar vein. [21-Apr-2021]

Alix E. Harrow’s ‘A Witch’s Guide to Escape : a Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies’ was collected by Horton and Strahan for the 2019 take on the Year’s Best SF&F. In the latter, reading just the SF I did make a comment in the review of those books ‘Note to self : come back to read this’. Well, I didn’t go back to it in that volume, but I did read it in this volume and indeedly enjoyed it hugely. Being a librarian (of the warlock variety, the librarian in the story being of the witch variety), and married to a librarian, who like the librarian in the story, was also a children’s librarian (in the halcyon pre-‘austerity’ days, when local councils in the UK employed professional librarians in such roles), meant that the story resonated for me, and it’s so beautifully written. [21-Apr-2021]

More to follow..

And, hmmm, the volume I have doesn’t seem to actually give details of the nominees/winners in each Nebula category, which seems rather a glaring omission. (Mind you I’ve just got my Laptop Glasses on at the moment, so it might be my eyesight at fault). More anon.

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