Monday, December 14, 2009

Nisi Shawl's Nebula-Elligible Short Stories, Good Boy, Water Museum, and Bird Day, are Online

I come to you bearing recommendations for excellent fiction distributed across the web. The first three things are Nebula-elligible stories by Nisi Shawl. Nisi is an amazing, Seattle-based writer who helps coordinate the Clarion West Workshop and is fun to hang out with -- but what *you* need to know is that her fiction is awesome.

Last year, her short story collection, Filter House (Aqueduct Press) won the James Tiptree award. Publisher's Weekly wrote that, "This exquisitely rendered debut collection of 11 reprints and three originals ranges into the past and future to explore identity and belief in a dazzling variety of settings... he threads of folklore, religious magic, family and the search for a cohesive self are woven with power and lucidity throughout this panorama of race, magic and the body."

Nisi is one of those exquisitely talented writers who works slowly. She has a few prestigious sales to her name, but she doesn't get nearly the acknowledgement she deserves. I'm mad about her work, though, so this year when the Nebula eligibility questions came up, I said to Nisi, "Hey, Nisi! What work of yours is eligible for the Nebulas?" She confessed to me that three stories of hers were eligible, but that they were not available in electronic form. That would not do! said I, and convinced her to let me coordinate their web posting so that readers can look at her work and enjoy it -- and if you're in SFWA, consider nominating it.

Good Boy:

As a child on their outbound ship, Kressi had enjoyed the lessons on Benjamin Banneker, George McCoy, and technology’s other black pioneers. She’d wanted to be Ruth Fleurny, maverick member of the team that perfected the Bounce. It was because of Fleurny’s stubborn insistence on cheap access for all descendants of enslaved Africans as a condition of the “star drive’s” sale that the Neo-Negroes and a handful of similar expeditions had gotten off the ground.

Bird Day:

We sat in a circle on the side of the street. Some of us had lawn chairs, or folding chairs we’d brought out from our houses. Stepstools, even. We had a bunch of different kinds of seats we were sitting in.

This was the day to commune with birds.

And The Water Museum

When I saw the hitchhiker standing by the sign for the Water Museum, I knew he had been sent to assassinate me. First off, that’s what the dogs were saying as I slowed to pick him up. Girlfriend, with her sharp, little, agitated bark, was quite explicit. Buddy was silently trying to dig a hole under the back seat, seeking refuge in the trunk. I stopped anyway.

Take a read. It's worth it.

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