So far the only short story (and therefore my favorite) I’ve read from the Nebula nominees is “Don’t Stop”, by James Patrick Kelly. Well, actually I’ve listened to the excellent reading and discussion of the story available at Free Reads. (The text is now available at Asimov’s.)
Lisa Schoonover loves to run, but she is haunted by ghosts. She’s an engaging person, and her story is told with lots of convincing techie detail about running. Except I’m a walker, so I found the first half of the story a bit slow, except for a wonderful line about running as if a tiger were chasing you.
About halfway through, as I understood that the ghosts both drive her toward and away from her boyfriend Matt, I grew more interested. Lisa unravels the lies she’s been told, and finally bursts through into a new way of looking at things. The image of the tiger re-emerges into a surge of emotion for an ending that feels true and right.
And yet, I’m not sure that the ending explains the rest of the story. It’s silly, but I couldn’t work out the rules for the mix of friends and strangers who haunt Lisa. Her mother’s role also seems contradictory, dealing out both ensnaring falsehoods and redeeming truth. Matt seems nice, but why is he the one? I guess Lisa will find out.
An interesting story that makes you feel good at the end.