SUMMER SHORT READS: WONDERFUL WOMEN WRITING SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
By Marla Desat
I love short fiction. I love when a story that takes me mere minutes to read sticks in my brain, and captures my imagination for days, invading quiet moments to reveal its depth. I particularly love short science fiction and fantasy stories. These stories pack so much into just a few pages. This summer, I'm also trying to add diversity to what I read, and to read more work written by women. So, I took to nomination lists for literary awards to find some great writers that I haven't read before. Here are two great short stories you can read right now!
RACHEL SWIRSKY – "IF YOU WERE A DINOSAUR, MY LOVE"
The strength of this story rests in Rachel Swirsky's deft interplay of science fiction, fantasy, love, and grief. Swirsky's imagery is vivid without being overdone. As the story slowly reveals itself, you are swept up in the emotions of the narrator. The tragic truth behind the desperate fantasy of this story lands hard and heavy, and left me tearing up thinking about it for days. "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" won the 2013 Nebula Award for Best Short Story and has been nominated for the same category for the Hugo Awards, which will be awarded this August.
The selkies of myths and legends live as seals in the sea but can shed their skin to become human on land. If a person steals their skin, the selkie is forced to remain in human form and is under their power, until they can regain their skin and return to the sea. Sophia Samatar's "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" tells the story of a young girl dealing with the grief of her mother's disappearance. Her friend, Mona, also struggles with a broken family, and the two girls bond. This lovely short story about the effect on children of parental breakups, be they mythological or mundane. "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" was nominated for the 2013 Nebula Award for Best Short Story, and has also been nominated for the Hugo Award in the same category. Samatar is also up for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which recognizes new professional science fiction and fantasy writers.
Marla Desat is a recent University of Waterloo grad living and working in Ottawa. When she isn't playing the latest video games, she's geeking out over comic books, board games, tabletop roleplaying games and science. Marla also writes for The Escapist as a freelance news writer. You can follow her on Twitter @mrdesat.