Rachel Swirsky’s Short Story Nomination & Recommendation List for the 2009 Nebula Awards

Rachel Swirsky here again with another guest post.

I recently blitzed through a number of short stories so that I could finalize the short story portion of my Nebula ballot. I wanted to post about the ones I decided to nominate, and also some of the other excellent ones I encountered in my reading. I hope people will check out these stories, possibly for award consideration, but mostly because they’re cool.

First, methodology for creating my reading list: I had a few short stories from my year’s reading that I already wanted to nominate. Then, I asked a few authors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past to send me copies of their eligible stories. I volunteered to read stories by Codex Writers Forum authors who wanted to email me their eligible work. I added stories from the lists by Joe Sherry and Jason Sanford. Editor Sean Wallace gave me his 4 of his favorite stories from Fantasy Magazine, and his 2 of his favorites from Clarkesworld. Editor Scott Andrews sent me 5 of his favorites from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Then I went through the list of stories that have been recommended for the Nebula so far, copied over all the titles that have received three recommendations or more, and then went through the ones that have received 1 or 2 recommendations to pick out ones by authors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. From that reading list, I picked stories to nominate and recommend.

Except for what I read over the course of the year, I did not read stories that I could not easily find online, or find within a few minutes of searching in the SFWA fiction archive. This is certainly not the most comprehensive reading I could have done — if I had more energy, I’d probably try to read all the stories Strahan, Horton, and Harrison have liked this year — but I’m resolved not to fall into the trap Cheryl Morgan describes of disqualifying myself based on too little reading, and unfortunately that means that my nominations will inevitably be imperfect.

My short story nominations
“Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh, Asimov’s Science Fiction
Remembrance is Something Like a House” by Will Ludwigsen, Interfictions 2
The Mermaids Singing Each to Each” by Cat Rambo, Clarkesworld
“The Godfall’s Chemsong” by Jeremiah Tolbert, Interzone
Non-Zero Probabilities” by N. K. Jemisin, Clarkesworld

Highly Recommended Stories
Tio Gilberto and the Twenty-Seven Ghosts” by Benjamin Francisco, Realms of Fantasy*
Nine Sundays in a Row” by Kris Dikeman, Strange Horizons**
Reading by Numbers” by Aidan Doyle, Fantasy Magazine
Spar” by Kij Johnson, Clarkesworld
Marsh Gods” by Ann Leckie, Strange Horizons**
Superhero Girl” by Jessica Lee, Fantasy Magazine**

Recommended Stories
Turning the Apples” by Tina Connolly, Strange Horizons
“The Score” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Interfictions 2
A Song to Greet the Sun” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Fantasy Magazine
“Endangered Camp” by Ann Leckie, Clockwork Phoenix 2
…That Has Such People In It” by Jennifer Pelland, Apex Digest
Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” by Cat Rambo, Strange Horizons
Water Museum” by Nisi Shawl, Filter House
The Moon Over Tokyo through Leaves in the Fall” by Jerome Stueart, Fantasy Magazine
Light on the Water” by Genevieve Valentine, Fantasy Magazine
Bespoke” by Genevieve Valentine, Strange Horizons
The Olverung” by Steven Woodworth, Realms of Fantasy**

Tiptree Nominated Stories
I also nominated three of these stories for the Tiptree — “The Mermaids Singing Each to Each” by Cat Rambo (Clarkesworld), “Godfall’s Chemsong” by Jeremiah Tolbert (Interzone), and “A Song to Greet the Sun” by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Fantasy Magazine)

*This story would have been one of my five nominees except for the conflict of interest created by its appearance on PodCastle during my tenure as editor.
**These stories also appeared in PodCastle during my tenure as editor.

1) I will almost certainly have forgotten something I wanted to recommend. I reserve the right to update this list.
2) Because of the way I tracked my reading, I am vastly more likely to have recommended short stories I looked at in the past few days than ones I saw earlier this year, as a reader or as an editor. (Particularly as an editor: as the editor of a reprint venue, it was difficult for me to keep track of what was eligible and what wasn’t.) That doesn’t mean these are higher quality; it means they were at my fingertips for the post.
3) To all writers whose work I looked at and didn’t include here — I might still have enjoyed it. I just wanted to highlight the work I found most exciting.

The Mathematics of Faith” by Jonathan Wood, Beneath Ceaseless Skies — deleted from a previous version of this list because it is a novelette.

19 comments on “Rachel Swirsky’s Short Story Nomination & Recommendation List for the 2009 Nebula Awards

  1. Sean Wallace says:

    “Suphero Girl” should be “Superhero Girl.”

  2. Oh wow – thanks so much for including me on this. Seems like there are way too many talented people here for me to have been added. Shiny happy moment.

  3. Rachel Swirsky says:

    Sean: Fixed! Thanks.

    Jonathan: I’m glad it’s shiny happy! I particularly enjoyed the mathematical interludes where he writes equations that seem perfectly logical to him, but don’t work scientifically at all, and the first few scenes where he rolled the films.

  4. Skellyrocker says:

    I heard a rumour that podcasts were to be included in the semi-prozine and fanzine categories. Is this true? If so StarShipSofa should be collecting an award for an excellent podcast.

  5. For the reasons specified in my entry, above and those cited in Amy Sturgis’s note, below, I’m recommending a nomination for the podcast site, http://www.starshipsofa.com/

    This would be an historic moment. The first time a podcast received recognition for what it is: a place that foments new users of the form, a place that is the matrix for community and a place where the next generation of writers, editors, publishers, et al will be gathering…


  6. pdaackerman says:

    I feel that podcasts are rejuvenating the genre and are free. Personally I love the StarShipSofa, it has the greatest writers plus interviews, essays, reviews, poetry, science news and beautiful art. What more could you ask for and it is free :-)

  7. Julie D. says:

    I agree … StarShipSofa is like taking one of the old-school magazines, translating it into modern media and then improving it? And free. Seems to me that a Hugo nomination would be warranted.

  8. Rachel Swirsky says:

    Nominating podcasts seems like a good idea–though I’d probably nominate Escape Pod–but I’m not super clear on why this conversation is happening on this post.

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  10. Ryuzaki says:

    “Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh, Asimov’s Science Fiction was probably one of the best short stories i ever read!

  11. Ryuzaki says:

    “Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh, Asimov’s Science Fiction is the best short story i ever read!

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