Obviously by now it should be clear that Sippys are going to replace all other awards as the premier short fiction award. Already I can imagine awards nights and packed convention centers with writers arriving in limos and--okay maybe I exaggerate. But hey, the award that no one wanted continues! Relationships have been shipped and the lights are all blazing lest the creatures of horror find me, so that means it's time for the next Sippy category. Third up is--
The "There's Something in My Eye" Sippy
for Excellent Making Me Ugly-Cry in Short SFF
Maybe I cry a little too much when it comes to reading fiction. Perhaps. I know society at large is a bit focused on real men not crying or some bullshit, but good stories are good stories and there is just something about reading certain ones that just gets to me. That wrecks me. And I love that, in part because it's such a release of emotions, one part catharsis and one part just really fucking good prose. Of course, some of the stories featured elsewhere in the Sippys also made me cry, but the five below did it with the most gusto. The winners are...
THE BIG SIP:
This is a story about family and about the inheritance of abuse, how a place can lead a person to hate and how people can have the strength to resist. There are also hallucinatory dinosaurs and a mother trying desperately to find her son while growing as a person and finding that a lifetime of conditioning is no reason to reject or hate a person. The voice is great and the story is beautiful and sad and happy and all the things. Seriously, it's a great read but keep a box of tissues handy.
THE REGULAR SIPS:
Exploring the morality of libraries, of books, and the responsibilities of librarians to both give access to books at also, maybe, to protect people from them, this story is powerful and heartbreaking. The main character is built slowly, their want to do the right thing, their drive to stand by their beliefs. The story is romantic and complex and then there comes the moment of utter despair and hurt and...well, just read it.
I will admit to not really being a huge time travel fan but this story nails it, about a young man from a family of time travelers dealing with parental rejection and the simultaneous freedom it gives him and the limitations it imposes. The rules are careful explained and never broken and the story has such a momentum to it, building to a point that never really happens, that final promised confrontation that doesn't need to be shown. It's a complex and emotionally resonant story.
About old age and self determination and the love between two people that can overcome anything, this story pulls no punches when it comes to hitting at the feels. The concept is surreal and fresh, that people can become houses upon death, that they leave behind that for their loved ones, and that for one couple looking at the ends of their lives it's not enough to just consider what would be easier for their family. Instead they look to each other, their love not faded by time but tempered by it. It is sad, it is hauntingly beautiful.
Suicide and tragic queer love are perhaps easy triggers for getting people to feel deeply. But this story isn't cheap or obvious, treats the subject matter with the respect and weight it deserves and delivers a devastating look at guilt and privilege and community and how all these things can shape a person, can shape shame and shape violence and shape hatred. It is the most outwardly violent and tragic of the stories on this list (perhaps because it appeared in a spec horror pub), but it is also a story that lodges in the brain and brought a great many tears to my eyes.