2016 Nebula Award Nominees

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SFWA has announced today the nominees for the 2016 Nebula awards. This post provide the complete list of the nominated works, their synopsys, and a handy link or where to buy or find them for free.

Novel
    

Everfair by Nisi Shawl
(Tor)
Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.
Buy: [Amazon]

The Obelisk Gate by N.K.Jamesin
(Orbit)
The second installment of the Broken Earth trilogy is incredibly good (even if not as good as the first one). In The Obelisk Gate the focus changes on the relationship between Essun and her daughter Nassun: the book explores how oppression changes and destroys regular family dynamics, when the only instrument of a mother to protect her daughter is to harden her to be able to survive an harsh reality, and its kyriarchy. This is also the story of Castrima, a city free of oppression in times of plenty, but on the bring of sacrificing the most unpopular of its citizens in time of crises. And this is the story of Alabaster, that broken by loss it may have started the end of the world.
Buy: [Amazon]

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
(Tor)
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families. But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them.
Buy: [Amazon]

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
(Solaris)
Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.
Buy: [Amazon]

Borderline by Mishell Baker
(Saga)
A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.
Buy: [Amazon]

Novella
  

  

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
(Tor.com)
An interesting version of a classic coming out story, set in the beautiful and fascinating world that Kai Ashante Wilson introduced us to in The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. I will not say much to avoid any spoiler, but I loved reading this story (even if I was a little disappointed by the ending).
Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods. Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. in defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.
Buy: [Amazon]

Runtime by S.B. Divya
(Tor.com)
The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.
Buy: [Amazon]

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
(Tor.com)
Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her.
Buy: [Amazon]

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
(Tor.com)
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
Buy: [Amazon]

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
(Tor.com)
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
Buy: [Amazon]

The Liar by John P. Murphy
(Fantasy&ScienceFiction)
Curmudgeonly Greg lives alone in New Hampshire, and has a special hidden talent that he is called upon when a dark secret about the local community comes to light (there’s always a death in the town on November 5th…..). Greg investigates and has to use his way with words to convince the person responsible that the time has come for this annual event to stop.
Buy issue: [Amazon]

Novelette

      

The Long Fall Up by William Ledbetter
(Fantasy&ScienceFiction)
A man heads out in space to destroy a mother about to give birth. He changes his mind but his AI ship has been programmed to obey higher authorities. The ship hints ways the man can override protocol.
Buy issue: [Amazon]

Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker
(Lightspeed)
This is the story of Bay, a scavenger living in solitude on scraps washed ashore by the current, and a rock star, that washed ashore among the scraps. We slowly learn about this post-apocalyptic world, and about the characters, and their past. It is a memorable story, with sublime writing, and well-rounded fascinating characters. I just wish the ending was more satisfying… and I really hope the author will come back to this fictional world and tell us what happens next.
Buy issue: [Amazon]
Read on-line: [lightspeed]

The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde
(Tor.com)
The kingdom in the Valley has long sheltered under the protection of its Jewels and Lapidaries, the people bound to singing gemstones with the power to reshape hills, move rivers, and warp minds. That power has kept the peace and tranquility, and the kingdom has flourished.
Buy: [Amazon]
Read free excerpt: [Tor.com]

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong
(Uncanny)
I am usually not fond of stories with a western flavor, but Alyssa Wong managed to write one I did like, and quite a lot. This is the story of Ellis, a young boy with a very deep connection with his land, the desert, and with mysterious powers. Ellis is being raised by Madame Lettie, the owner of the local brothel, and the second wife of his dead father. In the brothel, Ellis make himself useful with odd jobs, and sometimes as a ware for the not always straight customers.
The story starts three months after a mysterious incidents at the mines, that were the economical fulcrum of town, and three months after the violent death of Ellis’ father…
Buy: [Amazon]
Read on-line: [Uncanny]

Blood Grains Speak Through Memories by Jason Sanford
(Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Our future Earth have been saved from Human greed, and ecological destruction by a miracle that may be technological, or may be magic: the grains. The grains choose few humans, the anchor, to be their vessels to protect the land. The other humans are forced to wonder, forced to spend a life without a home, where each stop cannot last more than few days.
A magical and touching short story, with a solid and original world building, and memorable full rounded characters.
Buy: [Amazon]
Read on-line: [Beneath Ceaseless Skies]

The following story was initially listed as a finalist in the novelette categories, but it was then ruled ineligible because of its length. While discussion was under way to move it in the proper category (short story), the author declined her nomination to avoid displacing some other lesser known author in that category, that would benefit more of the nomination. The story was Red in Tooth and Cog by Cat Rambo, published in Fantasy & Science Fiction. The story is set in a near future, where all appliances comes with advanced AI, and are able to recharge themselves, and self-repair. One day Renee, taking a lunch break from work, decided to talk a walk in a nearby park, and eat her food outside. She sits on a bench, and she puts down her smart phone to open her food, when something grab her phone and run. Was it one a rogue appliance, one of those appliances that were discarded, but refused to be recycled, and ran away to live in the park?
This story explores the eternal question: what is life, in an original, and moving way. You can buy the magazine that includes it here: [Amazon], or read it on-line for free at [Cat Rambo’s website].

The Orangery by Bonnie by Jo Stufflebeam
(Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
The story is told by two narrators, both connected to the same place, the Orangery, a special natural preserve that shelters women that escaped from the abuse of men, turning into trees. One of the narrator is the guardian, living a life of solitude and isolation at the center of the orangery. The other narrator is the guide, bringing new people every day among the verdant residents. I liked the story, I liked how it borrows elements from the Greek mythology, and how they are used as allegories for the gender dynamics through history. If the plot has just been a little thicker, this could have been a little masterpiece.
Read it on-line: [here]
Buy: [Amazon]

Short Story

    
A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong
(Tor)
Hannah and Melanie are two sisters, with the ability to bend time and reality. Unfortunately there are limits of what they can achieve, and when one succumbs to self hate, suicide, family transphobia, and hate crime, the other traps herself in a never ending loop of alternative realities, fueled by her sense of guilt, desperately trying to change an unchangeable past.
Read on-line: [Tor.com]
Buy: [Amazon]

Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander
(Uncanny)
A very interesting, and very fine example of message fiction, focusing on women rights, and rape. Given the brevity of the story, it is hard to say anything about it, without spoiling it. I would just say that it is a great piece from a Hugo / Nebula / Sturgeon / Locus finalist writer.
Read on-line: [uncanny]
Buy issue: [Amazon]

Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar
(Uncanny)
This is the story of Tabitha, and Amira. Their stories, and their roles are the archetypal stories and roles of women in fairy tales. The same fairy tales that we still read to our children, often without realizing how misogynistic they are. One day, as Tabitha walks around the world to repent for having revealed to her mother she was a victim of abuse, she meets Amira. Their encounter will deeply change their lives, their way of thinking, and of living.
Read on-line: [uncanny]
Buy issue: [Amazon]

Sabbath Wine by Barbara Krasnoff
(Clockwork Phoenix 5)
A beautiful short story, and Nebula award nominee, set in the America during prohibitionist, adroitly speaking about xenophobia, and the violence it triggers.
This is the story of Malka, the young daughter of a Jewish man, deeply involved in the labor movement, and of David, the son of a store owner, illegally selling alcohol during prohibitionist. David says he is dead, but Malka dismiss the claim as baseless: everybody knows that you cannot touch ghosts, and she has no trouble pinching David.
The encounter of the two young children, and the desire of Malka to introduce David to the customs of her ancestors, will bring the two men together.
Read on-line: [Mythic Delirium]
Buy anthology: [Amazon]

Things With Beards by Sam J. Miller
(Clarkesworld)
A very interesting piece, touching very interesting topics like race relations, queerness, and otherness in America. The writing is quite good, the plot entertaining and interesting to read. I particularly enjoy how the two types of otherness, the one created by centuries of social discrimination, and the fictional blend and reinforce each other in the story. What I found troubling was MacReady’s participation to a terrorist attack, and the fact that the author does not seem to see that act in a bad light. This stained what would have been otherwise an amazing short story.
Read on-line: [Clarkesworld]
Buy issue: [Amazon]

Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0 by Caroline M. Yoachim
(Lightspeed)
An hilarious “chose your own adventure” story, making fun of a future health care system that unfortunately is very similar, from many points of view, to our existing one.
Read on-line: [lightspeed]
Buy issue: [Amazon]

This Is Not a Wardrobe Door by A. Merc Rustad
(Fireside Magazine)
A beautiful short story, written by somebody that grow up reading Narnia, and rebelling against the rule that prevents grown-ups to go through the gate. As other reviewers said, this is a nostalgic revisitation of an old trope, and a rebellion against it. Last, but not least, despite the short length of this work, the characters are well drawn and well rounded.
Read on-line: [fireside]

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4 thoughts on “2016 Nebula Award Nominees

  1. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 2/21/17 Troll, Troll, Where’s My Scroll? Gone To The Pixel, Lol Lol Lol! | File 770

    1. Marco Zennaro Post author

      And what a beautiful story it is! I am even more grateful you shared the link with me. Thanks again!

      Reply

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