The 2013 Mariner Awards
with Bill Kowaleski
Thanks! I am very much honored.
If you had chosen a Story of the Year, my vote would have gone to S. L. Scott's “Zombies are Easier.” I was very impressed with the point of view in that story, and how the two-level narrative revealed in such an engaging way what was really going on. When I finished reading it I just said, "Wow!"
And congratulations to you, Bill, for “Critical Mass,” which is also one of the editors’ choices for the 2013 Mariner Awards and winner of the Order of Merit for Short Stories in the Third Quarterly Review. “Zombies Are Easier” won the Order of Merit for Short Stories in the First Quarterly Review.
As you say, “Zombies Are Easier” is quite powerful for being a double story: it contrasts fiction and reality starkly and ironically, in this case the virtual reality of video games versus real life. We see not only how Michael has been affected but how his mother and others have been, as well.
“Zombies Are Easier” bears out one of our mottoes: “There is no story so truly bewildering as reality.” It appeared in Bewildering Stories on January 28, 2013, about six weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut. The story must have been written earlier, but it hardly seems to matter. Schools are traditionally safe havens, but in the U.S. they are only relatively safe; memories of Columbine and others won’t go away.
I find it significant that in “Zombies Are Easier” young Michael defends himself and his schoolmates not with a gun but with a hand weapon. Such an act requires courage; he must get very close to the shooter.
Some say, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” S. L. Scott’s story implies a refutation: “Maybe so, but why do you want to make it so easy?”
Copyright © 2013 by Bill Kowaleski
and Bewildering Stories