2014 Best Novella nominee: “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013).
It is currently FREE in the Kindle store on Amazon.
It is also available for free at the Tor website.
Thoughts, with spoilers, behind the link below [**edited to add a little more 4/26**]:
This novella follows three generations of a family of "water creatures" (in the same sense that I'm a water creature - a human being who wishes they could spend all their time in the water), who are tied to Wakulla Springs. The first generation isn't allowed in the waters of the Springs because of Jim Crow. By the end of the story, our third generation contains a respected scientist who is studying the impact of the surrounding developments on the Springs. Similarly, the story takes us from the grandmother who was saving to go to college and never got to go, through to the granddaughter who is a Ph.D. Along the way, our heroes interact with the filming of one of the Weissmuller Tarzan movies and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
I really liked this story.
From the first few pages, it really grabbed me. The way it's written, I could see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the world we were in.
I only have one reservation about the story. The whole time I was reading it, I was expecting it to get deeper into Fantasy. Yes, we interact with the filming of two classic fantasy films, which was fun and interesting. The rest of the fantasy element seems to be in the imagination of the characters. Though at the end we have a nice "...Or Is It??"
The more I reflect back on the story, though, the more I think it is just as it should be.
I want more of this world, these people, and their stories.
Also, I really, really want to go get in the water now.
Up or down ballot (note for myself): UP, with slight reservations.