Note: this is the third review of the World Fantasy Award nominees for short fiction. You can see the list of nominees here and scroll down to find the earlier reviews.
“Little Widow” by Maria Dahvana Headley is a treat from the school of weird fiction. In addition to Nightmare Magazine, the story also appears in the anthology, What the #@&% Is That?, edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, from Saga Press.
Readers are introduced to the story through the eyes of the youngest wife of a religious zealot who’s just organized a mass suicide that he conveniently misses. Not so different from the world we inhabit? Well…it gets a little more bizarre before the end, yet the main characters’ emotional terrain is spot on.
The recently re-named Natalie and her sister wives Reese and Scarlett have been taken in by a couple for no better reason than the availability of spare bedrooms. Their adoptive parents have no real positive qualities noted except for the fact that they don’t ask the girls to go to church, and that’s good enough for the sister wives. The girls are perfectly aware of the oddity of their cult upbringing. On the outside and alone after the deaths of their mothers, it seems at first that their training as “Heaven’s Avengers” is not going to serve them well. Continue reading
The short story “I Can See Right Through You” by Kelly Link has not only been nominated for the 2015 World Fantasy Award, it is also one of the stories in her collection Get in Trouble, which was published by Random House early this year. The collection was much heralded in the press, so I bought it and read four of the stories, including the nominee.
Will is an aging actor known for his leading role as a sexy vampire in a film made years earlier. When the story opens he is seeking out Meggie, a former lover and former co-star in their famous hit movie. Meggie is now the host of a ghost-hunting reality show. Will arrives at a supposedly haunted lake side where Meggie’s crew is shooting an episode and trying to find signs of a colony of nudists who disappeared in the 70s. Everyone is carrying on in the nude, believing that they haven’t been able to get any readings on the nudist ghosts because they are scared of showing themselves. Yeah, it’s a wonderfully absurd story set up.
Will knows he’s going to seed and even if he’s not really comfortable with the notion, he is full of self-depreciating humor. Meggie, who he can’t quite admit is the one and only love of his life, seems to have expected him to show up and treats him with the warm dismissal of an ex-lover, further adding to Will’s pathos. Meggie’s current boyfriend Ray (who looks like a younger Will), another medium who doesn’t like Will and a producer who has a crush on him all vie for the reader’s attention. This helps delay the ghostly surprise at the end, but it also dilutes the story’s tension. 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