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Hugo Nominations 2016: Best Short Story (Fantasy)?

The god gave his keys to my brother, but I knew it was a mistake. Keys are a woman’s domain.

The Secrets of the Universe, a flash fiction by Kat Otis, is published today by Daily Science Fiction. It’s
Renaissance fantasy, but executed with exceptional grace, polish and style.

Go away and read it. Then come back.

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The plot isn’t original. Young woman escapes arranged marriage by magic and defines her own destiny is old as the hills. The Secrets of the Universe does the whole story in 627 words, without losing its impact. That’s pretty incredible.

On a political level, this is a tale of women’s liberation. Men don’t get stories where they dream of science, but are forced to marry against their will. Unlike ‘victimhood’ fiction, though, this story focuses on women’s agency and power. The narrator gets the keys to the god’s kingdom by her own talents and her brother’s recognition of them.

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5-star and a Hugo nomination from me.

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