Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 / Author: Kij Jackson / Publisher: Prometheus Books / Release Date: June 13th
The year’s best contributions to American science fiction and fantasy are presented in the Nebula Awards Showcase, with the winners of ‘Best Novel’ and the Andre Norton award for the same category having excerpts included. Stuffed to the gills with inventive ideas, this book tells us that neither genre, even after so many years, is showing any signs of slowing down.
Our favourite piece, Nancy Kress’ novella After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, is easily the best thing in the book (as well as being by far the longest thing in it). It’s a touch above 100 pages but it will keep you engrossed throughout its well-plotted time travel story. It is a bit heavy-handed at times, but in the same way that the best Twilight Zone episodes are; it’s so well done that you don’t care. Our second favourite piece is Fair Coin, with its intriguing premise and its selection of well-developed characters. It’s a shame it’s an excerpt as we’d like to read the whole thing and we suspect a few readers will feel that way too.
The creators of this anthology have served Gene Wolfe fans well this year as he is honoured with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. To celebrate this, there is an essay from Michael Dirda, a funny tribute from Neil Gaiman that talks about ways to read Wolfe’s work and a story from Wolfe himself (Christmas Inn, first published in 2006).
With each of the entries it’s easy to see why they won as the overall standard is superb. We don’t expect everyone to enjoy every piece in this book, but all of them are worth your time and attention as examples of some of the best science fiction and fantasy today.