Nebula nominee review: “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik / Reseña del cuento nominado al premio Nebula: “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” de Usman T. Malik

Note: This is the sixth of seven reviews of this year’s short story nominees for the Nebula Awards.

Usman T. Malik’s short story is altogether different in nature and atomic structure from the other Nebula nominees. I doubt I’m capable of doing justice to this story, and I probably should have just read other reviews, but I didn’t, so here’s my take.

fusion-core2“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” (first published in Qualia Nous (2014) edited by Michael Bailey) is many things, but most of all it is a warning–knitted together in science speak and religious philosophy with a satisfying, if enigmatic, ending. Though it is not the easiest story to digest on the first read, I felt my effort was very well rewarded. Continue reading

Nebula Nominee Review: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon / Reseña del cuento nominado al Premio Nebula: “Jackalope Wives” de Ursula Vernon

Note: This is the fourth of the Nebula Award short story nominees to be reviewed on this blog.

Full of desert magic, “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon is a story about wishes, choices and sacrifice. I read it quickly the first time even though there is a lot of dialogue in the second half. The writer has such command over the story that I never questioned where she was taking me.

JACKALOPEIn a nutshell, the story describes the mysterious lives of jackalope wives, who shed their skins and dance under the half-full moon. Sans their rabbit skins, these beautiful human-looking creatures attract young men like magnets though they’re very rarely seen much less caught. Still, a boy manages to catch one, and things don’t work out the way he wanted. It’s up to his grandmother to take care of things as best she can. Continue reading