NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2017 ed. by Julie E. Czerneda. Pyr/Prometheus Books (www.pyrsf.com), 2017, 336 pp., $18.00. ISBN 978-1-63388-271-3. Click here to purchase
What makes a story resonate with me is simple: high emotional impact and very strong characters. I don’t need a gosh-wow plot or a lot of clever, whoop-do-doo scientific extrapolation: I need a compelling, emotionally satisfying story with real characters.
I heavily anticipate and often find my patience tested while I await the next volume. It doesn’t take me long to put NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE at the top of my must-read pile each year.
Again, without exception, I think this is the best anthology of the year.
Here are some favorites:
Best short-story nominee: “Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar. One woman has the ability to travel to the past, literally, in a type of dream-state, vividly reliving her memories. She does this with ease until one day she meets someone in her “past” that she doesn’t recognize, and slowly comes to understand the role the person will play in her future.
Best short-story nominee: “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer. An internet artificial intelligence knows exactly what people need and how to help them, if only they’d listen to its advice. Really, the only thing the AI would like in return are new “cat pictures.”
Best short-story nominee: “When Your Child Strays from God” by Sam J. Miller. A deeply religious parent has her own reasons for rescuing her child from the demons of the present day, and develops a deep appreciation for what she can save and what she can’t.
Best short-story nominee: “Today I am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker. A medical-care android is programmed to be the caretaker of a woman in a senior care assisted-living facility. The android has the ability to be chameleon-like, changing color and shape, with strong emulation programming that allows it to absorb and redeploy/replay select distinct personalities of the people the woman, whom it cares for, knows; and can enhance and protect the woman’s life. The android does its job oh so well for too many people.
Best short story winner: “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong. Jen is special, because she has the ability to consume and destroy the dark and disturbing thoughts and behaviors of others. Jen can do these things at times with diabolical, devastating ease – until of course she meets her match.