We would like to congratulate our Nebula Award finalists Veronica Schanoes, Andy Duncan, and Ellen Klages! To celebrate their nomination, you can now download the ebooks of their novellas “Burning Girls” and “Wakulla Springs.”
Written by Veronica Schanoes
Illustration by Anna and Elena Balbusso
Edited by Ellen Datlow
Rachel Swirsky on “Burning Girls”:
I love the characters and their exchanges, the fantastic detail, the clever interweaving of the fairy tale and the history, and I said this already, but the character, who is acidly wonderful.
Carl Engle-Laird on “Burning Girls”:
One of the great strengths of SFF is the license to literalize metaphorical concerns, to physicalize conflicts that would otherwise be social, ethereal, and otherwise harm to grasp. “Burning Girls” by Veronica Schanoes does this for the plight of a Jewish immigrant to America who can’t escape the pressures of the Old World. She travels to America to escape the dangers and depredations of a Poland that doesn’t want her, but finds that America is only superficially more hospitable. And, as she travels, the demon she thought she had left in Poland follows her. Not a metaphorical demon, an actual woman with eyes that are pits of hatred and the tail of a rat. This story also shows how you don’t have to systematize magic to make it feel believable. The main character makes up as many words of power as she memorizes, and improvises rituals when there is nothing better available. Done right, this feels organic, and it definitely feels like that here.
Written by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
Illustration by Garry Kelley
Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Rachel Swirsky on “Wakulla Springs”:
Both Andy and Ellen excel at historical pieces with rich characters and amazing dialogue; together, they create really beautiful language, and I just am bowled over by the dialogue. This is a piece to get lost in the beauty of!
Carl Engle-Laird on “Wakulla Springs”:
The success of “Wakulla Springs” hinges on its ability to imbue an (almost?) purely mundane setting with enough wonder, strangeness, and uncertainty to make it feel like a fantasy or a sci-fi horror. Just as Hollywood turned Wakulla Springs into Africa for their Tarzan movies or made the deep clear water into the Black Lagoon, Duncan and Klages make the Florida panhandle feel like another world, a primeval forest from another time or place. This defamiliarization goes both ways, bringing back our perhaps-forgotten wonder at the magic of movies. But unlike many stories that rely on defamiliarization, “Wakulla Springs” stays grounded. Its characters may not always believe in the reality of the woods and waters around them, or in their own mental sanctity and reliability, but we always believe in them.