The elf union won’t allow us to give them them work for at least 30 days following Christmas, so now we’ve got to deliver the results of the December 2013 Fiction Contest by ourselves. I hope you appreciate what an inconvenience this is for me. I mean, the blisters are unbearable. Anyway, don’t mind me, just take a look at the winning stories while I catch my breath.
The Third Place Award goes to The Vilkacis, by Konstantine Paradias. This story took us completely by surprise. What started out feeling like a silly hill-billy werewolf story (which is unexpected enough) morphed into a serious and moving tale about family relationships and the demands they place on us. Plus, Konstantine has a great way with words.
Second Place goes to Promised Land, by Rebecca Ann Jordan. In many ways, this one defies description, at least in a single sentence. And that’s part of what we loved. It feels like there’s so much packed into this story, including a coming-of-age story, a fantasy epic, a post-apocalyptic history lesson, a mysterious love story, and a few other things. Though it’s hard to sum the whole thing up, there is a cherry on top of this speculative fudge sundae that can be accurately summarized in one word: Bugshot. Just read it.
And finally, the First Place Award goes to The Thrashed Wheat of Yellowed October, by Jacqueline Kharouf. We like a story that requires something of the reader, that doesn’t lay all its cards down face up. This story is a beautiful tale about lies and desires, family and foes that wraps around on itself nicely. It was a close call, but the quality of writing and the believability of emotions put this story on top.
This is the last issue of the year, but we’re not done talking about our favorite stories. We’ll be revisiting the best stories of 2013 next month, and you can vote for your favorite stories of December and the whole year in a set of upcoming Reader’s Choice polls. So stay tuned.
And if you see the elves, tell them I need a drink and some band-aids, and I don’t care about union regs.