Just because a story is nominated for both the Nebula and the Hugo doesn’t mean I’ll like it. And if I don’t, who cares? But if such a story was also written by someone I have known, however glancingly (she was the previous organizer of my SF Meetup), I do care. So I put off reading “Non-Zero Probabilities,” by N.K. Jemisin. After reading some of the other nominees, I peeked at the first lines and decided to save it for last. Like dessert.
Adele is surrounding herself with every bit of good luck she can manage because all the one-in-a-million chances have become inevitable.
They should have known better. The probability of a train derailment was infinitesimal. That meant it was only a matter of time.
Some people think it’s the end-times. Adele sorts out her own response, gathering lucky charms, walking the most fortunate routes, bartering at the farmers market, getting to know her neighbors. Punctuated by witty asides, even the scary moments are fairly low key. It’s a lovely story, from beginning to end, in a way that doesn’t get in your face and demand you read it and leaves you glad that you did.
The story ends more in a decision than a resolution. It leaves you wishing for just a bit more. After all, unlikely things are happening, and some of them are good.