Note: This is review number five of the six short stories nominated for the Nebula Award in 2017. You will find the full list of nominees here, and the other reviews this year in the most recent posts.
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wild Flowers” by Alyssa Wong is about two tragic sisters with great love for one another despite their differences. They have the power to bend space and time. When one of the sisters dies, the other feels compelled to try, try and try again to change the circumstances leading to her sister’s death.
The depictions of the sisters feels true, if not extremely deep. There are some sweet descriptions of their closeness as young girls and the pain of separation when they’re older. Sibling relationships are subtle and powerful in their own right, and the notion that the balance of the universe might depend on the harmony of two sisters is an attractive idea. The story’s strongest feature is the emotional frenzy surrounding the main character’s emotions. Continue reading
World Fantasy Award ballots for works published in 2015 have been announced. The awards will be presented during the World Fantasy Convention, to be held October 27-30, 2016 in Columbus Ohio. Below are the finalists for short fiction:
- “The Neurastheniac”, Selena Chambers (Cassilda’s Song, collection)
- “Pockets”, Amal El-Mohtar (Uncanny 1-2/15)
- “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History”, Sam J. Miller (Uncanny 1-2/15)
- “The Deepwater Bride”, Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
- “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15) Reviewed here.
I’ll get started on reviewing these just as soon as I finish chapter 38 and get my backlogged reviews posted, which means it will probably be a couple of weeks. I’m having trouble keeping track of time this summer. I suspect I may have been cursed by a daayan while in India. It’s either that or blogger’s block, and I will take a witch’s curse over that any day.
Note: If you are worried about spoilers stop right now because I can’t promise to avoid them. This is the third review of the short story nominees for the 2015 Nebula Award. Spanish translation below by Daniela Toulemonde.
Alyssa Wong’s horror story “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” is bittersweet wonderful–like chewing on coffee beans dipped in white chocolate. The story begins with a bad date that flips the notion of vulnerable female on its head. We see a cute female shapeshifter suck the vilest, most horrible thoughts imaginable out of her deserving victim. Just like that, bam, Wong establishes a rock solid bond between reader and character.
This shapeshifter (called Jenny by most, but Meimei by her mom) considers herself a monster. She literally feeds on people’s thoughts, specifically their dark and negative ones, and takes on their form for a short time, which certainly helps avoid getting caught. This isn’t a split-personality story, but the character is definitely conflicted. Jenny boldly stalks her prey in Manhattan and walks out on a girl who loves her for another shapeshifter who’s even more powerful than she is. Meimei misses her father, maintains a tenuous contact with her mother in Flushing, and can’t forget the girl who loves her. Continue reading
Correction: There was a change in the World Fantasy Award nominee list below on July 11th. Kai Ashante Wilson’s story, reviewed below, was moved to the novella category. Ursula Vernon’s “Jackalope Wives” was added to the short story nominees.
The World Fantasy Award nominees have been announced, and I’m reviewing the short story nominees here, just as I did this year’s nominees for the Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Awards will be presented at the World Fantasy Convention in November. Nominees are selected by a combination of votes from registered members of the Convention and the discretion of the judges. Winners are ultimately selected by the judges. And the nominees are
- Kelly Link, “I Can See Right Through You” (McSweeney’s 48)
- Scott Nicolay, Do You Like to Look at Monsters? (Fedogan & Bremer, chapbook)
- Kaaron Warren, “Death’s Door Café” (Shadows & Tall Trees 2014)
- Kai Ashante Wilson, “The Devil in America” (Tor.com, April 2, 2014)
- Alyssa Wong, “The Fisher Queen” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2014)
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve already reviewed Alyssa Wong’s “The Fisher Queen” here. Among the other nominees for the World Fantasy Award, the first I read was “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson, who reportedly abstains from social media, so check out this interview with him at the blog Push–voices into the spotlight. Continue reading