Jessica slumped against the inside of the truck door. The girl behind the wheel […] kept stealing glances at her. Jessica ignored them, just like she tried to ignore the itchy pull and tug deep inside her, under her belly button, where the aliens were trying to knit her guts back together.
So begins The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill, short horror fiction in Clarkesworld, and a striking verbal remix of every alien parasite film you’ve ever seen. It’s hard-hitting, unflinchingly grappling with rape and suicide, without trivialisation and in less than 6,000 words.
It’s an impressive achievement and justifiably high ranked on this year’s Nebula Award Reading List. I’ve already used it as an example of ‘good openings’ in a piece of feedback I gave to someone. It’s not remotely ideas-driven, but I’d be happy to see it on a Hugo ballot and may nominate it myself.
The only misstep is that Three Resurrections is set around 9/11. Whatever symbolism the author was going for with the terrorism comparison was lost on me, and – from the comments below the story – many other people too.