Puuhhh. That’s me blowing the dust off the blog. Rather than wallow in self incriminations, or even your incriminations, Dear Reader, let’s get to the point. The World Fantasy Awards are just around the corner. Lots of great fiction has been nominated, and we have looked closely at the finalists for best short fiction.
Nominees for the 2017 World Fantasy Awards are out and the list doesn’t hold many surprises though it seems Tor.com has cornered the long fiction category. The anthology category is missing Nightscript II, which was my favorite this year, but I look forward to checking out the ones listed. Below are the short fiction nominees, including a couple of favorites already reviewed here for other awards — Brooke Bolander’s wild Harpy ride and Amal El-Mohtar’s sweetly rebuilt fairytale.
- “Das Steingeschöpf,” G.V. Anderson (Strange Horizons 12/12/16)
- “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
- “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
- “Little Widow,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Nightmare 9/16)
- “The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me,” Rachael K. Jones (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
Harpies. That’s all you need to know about “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander. Published in Uncanny Magazine, this short, short story is barely more than 1,000 words, and it just screams from start to finish. Which is what you would expect in a story about a Harpy.
There’s no reviewing this. The main character doesn’t give us her name, because we couldn’t pronounce it or do it justice anyway. She barely describes herself except for those telltale, feathery appendages that were so rudely stolen from her, but it is the theft that motivates this brief episode in our character’s immortal existence. The world is charming and righteous with a muscle car and cosmic scenery providing the color for a simple act of revenge.
My favorite sentence: “I was playing at being mortal this century because I love cigarettes and shawarma, and it’s easier to order shawarma if your piercing shriek doesn’t drive the delivery boy mad.”
Why don’t we see more stories about harpies? And what’s the difference between angels and harpies? They’re both associated with righteousness and retribution, aren’t they? I’d take a screaming harpy sister over those pasty-faced emissaries from God any day. The narrator of Bolander’s story is so cool, I could see her striking up a friendship with Dean and Sam. Well, okay, probably Dean. On the other hand, I don’t really see this short story winning the Nebula. Still, I’m glad it was nominated. If there was a category for micro fiction, I’d say it had a really good shot.
Thumbs up and 4.8 stars out of 5.
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