A friend has pointed out that I’m falling down on the reviews for the Nebula Award nominations (now open) so I’m going to look at some of the highest rated short stories on the reading list. Here’s the first, published by Daily Science Fiction with eleven recommendations.

The story is arranged in 17 paragraphs, each labeled as a plot element. For example, it begins with #17, “in media res.” It continues with elements like metaphor, backstory, cliffhanger, etc. Because it starts with #17 and the plot elements don’t order the story correctly, it’s jumbled. You have to read the whole thing and then put it together into a whole story. In plot element #17, the protagonist climbs a tree, seeking for a sturdy branch, and then attempts to hang himself. In #16, he speaks to the readers, breaking the fourth wall. In #15, we learn that the story is about someone else who is the leader of a revolution. The narrative isn’t especially straightforward, includes a bit of the contemporary and plays on the word “alien.” In this way Beamon avoids giving away the key plot element until #1.

Daily SF is mostly very short stories, and this one is no exception. I won’t give away the plot elements, but recommend you read the story online at their website. The format and narrative are very creative and I had no idea of the ending, so I’m impressed. I can see why people like it enough to give it 11 recommendations. However, regardless of this, it’s not much of a thought piece, and not a fully developed story. Also, I’m not sure it’s SF or fantasy, regardless of the play on words. That makes it a hard sell for a Nebula nomination.

Three and a half stars.

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