The 2014 Nebula nominees were just announced, so this seems like a good time to start something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile, namely push more short fiction at people. Even people I know who are fairly well-read in the genre (i.e. have read, or at least heard of, most of the Nebula nominees before they’re nominated) don’t read much short fiction or have heard of the authors.
Though I’d hope that most have heard of Aliette de Bodard, whose On a Red Station, Drifting was a previous Nebula nominee. In any case, you can read her nominated short story “The Breath of War” at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. As is usual with de Bodard’s stories–some of which I’ve had the privilege of reading in draft form–the level of craft here is exceptional. The author weaves the details and functioning of this world into the story so that the seams hardly show, and the characters, their relationships, and their concerns remain front and center. Families are often a prominent feature of de Bodard’s work, and such is the case here, but this is no mere character study. There is a broader canvas here, as is also the case with her other stories, and it rewards close reading.