It ain’t easy picking out six nominees for the Pushcart Prize from The Fabulist’s 2020 lineup — we’d have selected more if the rules permitted, but such are the constraints before us.
We’re honored to have supported the authors of these fine, fantastical stories. They represent a cross-section of what The Fabulist is all about — and their work also provides a starting point for where and how we want to grow in the year to come.
A nomination is not the same as winning any awards, but these stories are all prizewinners in our book.
Thank you for reading.
“Zenith (My Fantasy America II)”
By Elizabeth Gonzalez James
In this deadpan, hilarious and biting work of social satire, Elizabeth Gonzalez James takes full advantage of the fantastical genre — whatever the heck that is — to paint a tellingly true vignette of a wealthy city of dirigibles, and the self-deluding, aspirational underclass that keeps it afloat.
“Nobody Ever Has Before”
By Jesse Sensibar
What could be a genre cliche — a ghost story revolving around a tragic car crash on a desert highway — is instead rendered eerily poignant by Jesse Sensibar’s fully realized, deeply sympathetic characters, which he conjures into being in just a handful of paragraphs.
“A Dark Sage”
By Alpheus Williams
In this dreamlike tale of otherworldly visitations, strange loss and equally strange deliverance, Alpheus Williams reaches into the murky depths of childhood fear and fantasy, and pulls out a narrative that is dark, creepy and provocative.
“Age of the Cuttlefish”
By Lawrence Coates
With its prominent inclusion of an enigmatic, tentacular sea creature possessed of a sentience that spans eons, one might be tempted to call this tale “Lovecraftian.” But the heart of its insinuating horror is Lawrence Coate’s depiction of a priest’s surreal slide into moral and evolutionary capitulation.
“I Will Work For Love”
By Heather Sager
A naively earnest domestic cyborg yearns for a life of connection and commitment, but is purchased for entirely different reasons, in Heather Sager’s compelling and deeply sad allegory of injustice and exploitation.
By Julieta Vitulo
The war literally comes home in Julieta Vitulo’s slow-burn, reality-bending American tragedy of PTSD, disaffection, division and the bitter cost of our techno-consumerist obsessions.