2016 Nebula Ballot Includes “Things With Beards”
The rest of the ballot is pretty incredible, with tons of friends and heroes on there. I would be super excited to lose to my BFF Alyssa Wong AGAIN this year, or to anyone else in my category, because they are all fucking fantastic writers.
I wrote this story after the thousandth time I watched John Carpenter’s The Thing, and started debating with some friends about whether or not the people killed and replaced by the alien actually knew that they were aliens. I think the general assumption is that the Things know what they are, and are consciously acting like humans in order to better isolate and then assimilate other humans – but what if they didn’t? What if, as Blair says in the film, “here is an organism that imitates other life-forms, and it imitates ’em perfectly,” to the point that every memory and aspect of identity is intact? How would such a creature behave? And if you were one, how would you know the difference? And if you couldn’t tell… does that mean there is no difference? Besides the fact that maybe you were killing lots of people?
The result is a piece of gay fanfic that used an 80’s horror film to tell a story of AIDS, passing, masculinity, and Black resistance to police brutality! This nominations is ON TOP OF being included FOUR different best-of-the-year anthologies! Specifically: THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION, V.34 (edited by Gardner Dozois); THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR VOL.11 (edited by Jonathan Strahan); YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY, 2017 Ed. (edited by Rich Horton); and BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR – VOL. 2 (edited by Neil Clarke)!!!