March has been a lost month in terms of my fiction writing. The day job picked up incredibly and ate into my designated writing time. I’ve written over 100 pages of scientific reports in the past month—which I actually enjoy doing, but it hasn’t left much time or energy for fiction writing. I’m disappointed.
About the only significant writing thing I’ve done this month is work my way through the Nebula Award nominated short stories and novelettes. As a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, I get to vote for the Nebula Awards, which is a privilege, but also something that is important to me. But it also means I have a lot of reading to do every March, and I’m a notoriously slow reader.
I finished the five nominated short stories over the weekend, and I must admit that in general, I was underwhelmed by them. Unlike last year, none of this year’s nominees felt like a sure-fire winner, like last year’s “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard. That’s not to say these aren’t good stories. They are. They’re well-written with rich characters, interesting settings, and compelling plots.
Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s “Alive, Alive Oh,” was a wonderful story of longing and nostalgia and probably my favorite of the five nominees. “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky packs a lot of story into only a few words, and Kenneth Scheyner’s “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” is a fascinating, experimental tale told as program notes for a museum exhibit—yes it sounds weird, but it works.
I think I know which story will get my vote this year, but I’m going to let these five stories stew for a while as I work my way through the novelettes. I have a few days left until the ballot deadline. In the meantime, I have more reading to finish (and I hope some writing to do, too). March may be lost for me, but maybe I can salvage some momentum going into April.