Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 Paperback – May 22, 2012
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- Publishers Weekly starred review
"[A]n impressively diverse collection...You want the best of the best new science fiction and fantasy? It's right here."
- Explorations: Barnes and Noble SciFi and Fantasy blog
"...if Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 represents the genre as it stands today, the future has never been brighter.... These stories are singularly brilliant and immensely creative."
- Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
"No science fiction collection should be without this definitive survey!"
- The Bookwatch
“As one expects, the Nebula Awards Showcase is a volume of splendid stories covering the gamut of genres.... there are several fine examples of genre poetry; there are excerpts from two delightful novels...”
“Attesting to the high quality of contemporary imaginative fiction, this is an important tool for readers’ advisory, collection development, and expanding readers’ sf and fantasy horizons.”
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- "Introduction" by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel -- the editors -- describes the state of the art in comparison to the past.
- "Ponies" by Kij Johnson tied for the Short Story Nebula. It relates a mythical tale about girls and their ponies.
- "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoff Landis was nominated for the Novella Nebula. It exposes the heir to the wealthiest family in the Solar System.
- "Map of Seventeen" by Chris Barzak was nominated for the Short Story Nebula. It considers the abyss that follows graduation from high school.
- "And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" by James Tiptree, Jr. is a 1972 tale that demonstrates why she won the Solstice Award. It presents a peril in dealing with aliens that had escaped the notice of her peers.
- "In the Astronaut Asylum" by Kendall Evens & Samantha Henderson won the Rhysling Award for the Best Long Poem. Its thesis is that astronauts are susceptible to many unexpected stresses that will drive them into psychosis.
- "Pishaach" by Shweta Narayan was nominated for the Short Story Nebula. It follows the life and influences of a young Hindu girl and her obsession with snakes.
- "Blackout/All Clear" excerpt by Connie Willis won the Novel Nebula. It was one tale released as two novels about a family of time travelers.
- "Bumbershoot" by Howard Hendrix won the Dwarf Star Award for the Best Very Short Poem. It considers an umbrella.
- "Arvies" by Adam Troy-Castro was nominated for the Short Story Nebula. It takes a different look at birth and life.
- "How Interesting: A Tiny Man" by Harlan Ellison tied for the Short Story Nebula. It divulges the trials of a man who created a tiny person and the troubles that ensued.
- "The Jaguar House, in Shadow" by Aliette de Bodard was nominated for the Short Story Nebula. It is an Alternate History of the Aztecs and their religion.
- "The Green Book" by Amal El-Mohtar was nominated for the Short Story Nebula. It tells of a book that fascinates its readers.
- "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone shows a young Mormon dealing with a lifeform at the middle of the sun.
- "I Shall Wear Midnight" excerpt by Terry Pratchett won the Andre Norton Award. It notes the nature of a witch. This award may be the belated recognition of one of the funniest writers in the fantasy genre.
- "To Thea" by Ann K. Schwader won the Rhysling Award for the Best Short Poem. It consoles us for the world we lost.
- "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky won the Novella Nebula. It tracks a sorceress through betrayal and summons for millennia.
- "2011 Nebula Award Nominees and Honorees" lists those who were nominated for the awards in the past year.
- "Past Nebula Winners" lists the persons who have won this award from 1965 to 2009. One wonders what happened in 2010.
- "About the Cover" names the artist -- Michael Whelan -- and lists his works and honors. He received a Solstice Award in 2012 for his contributions to the field.
- "About the Editors" contains biographies/bibliographies of the editors of this volume.
These tales somewhat define the state of the art in SF and Fantasy. However, one of the major themes in this volume is the way the nominees are confounded by their works. The editors mention the fluctuations and random directions in speculative fiction and the improbability of predicting trends. These nominees seem to agree wholeheartedly with that thought.
These are the stories that the SFWA finds worth honoring. I found a few very interesting tales in this volume. Others might find authors previously unknown who present plots and characters of interest.
Highly recommended for SF/Fantasy fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of unknown worlds and strange characters. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
It is tricky to write reviews of speculative fiction books because reader's preferences range so widely from poetry fantasy, vampires, witches, wizards, and Star Trek through hard science fiction physics and cosmology. I'm sure there are readers out there that might love every story in this collection. I was, sadly, not one of those people. If you prefer hard science fiction and perhaps also enjoy Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, Jasper Fforde or Tom Holt, you are probably not going to enjoy this collection. If that is the case, save yourself from all manner of literary suffering and read any one of the other scores of fine speculative fiction anthologies that have been published over the years. Out of the 16 stories and poems contained within I only read one story I truly enjoyed--the excerpt from Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld) . This collection was, sadly, the least enjoyable speculative fiction anthology I have read over the past 53 years.
Instead, please do yourself a favor and check out any one of the 29 volumes of "The Year's Best Science Fiction" anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois (I have most of the volumes), or read the exceptionally good Best American Fantasy edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (2008). For decades I read only hard science fiction but "Best American Fantasy" really opened my eyes as to how really really good well-written fantasy can be.
And overall, I think that's true of most collections like this one. Each reader will like some stories, and be unmoved by others - but the categories will differ from person to person. So I don't know if a book like "Nebula Awards Showcase 2012" is worth buying, but it's probably worth checking out of the library.