The Hugo 2020 winner of best novelette
Title: Emergency Skin
Author: N.K Jemisin
Series: The Forward Collection
What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award–winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.
An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind—hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out eons ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.
N. K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
This was such an awesome short story. I have been dipping into this collection when ever I have a lull between books or a quick readathon prompt I need to fill and it has been awesome for that. I think this has to be my favourite of the whole collection so far.
This tale is told in second person through the narration of an "overseer" communicating with the main character. I choose to listen to the audio as it was narrated by Jason Issac and that was the best choice. His narration made this story even more enjoyable, adding the appropriate pauses and beats that just really worked with how this story flowed. I would highly recommend listening to it if you can (It if free for Kindle unlimited subscribers both as ebook and audio).
For a short story it has fantastic structure, introducing you to the world, revealing and twisting your view of it over the course of the story. It is very apt with the worlds current politics and personally I found its dark humour and jibes at particular political standings to be very good. It is a fun and elegant little story and it is very clear why it won the 2020 Hugo for best novelette.