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The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  238 reviews
In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to "come out" to his traditional Chinese parents.

This story is also included in Some of the Best From Tor.com, 2013 Edition: A
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ebook, 22 pages
Published February 20th 2013 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,359 ratings  ·  238 reviews


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Elena May
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tor-shorts
This story raised some controversy when it won the 2014 Hugo Awards as apparently some readers thought it's not science fiction. Before I address this, let me just say the story is absolutely lovely.

Some time in the near future, water starts falling on people whenever they tell a lie. It can be just a bit of water, or a downpour, or a simple humidifying of the air, depending on the intensity of the lie. And all this weaves into the story of Matt, a Chinese-American man, struggling to come out to
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karen
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I love you, Matt” doesn’t count as a powerful statement that holds true for all time and space. Except when Gus says it, apparently.

this tor shorty is getting a lot of reactionary frowns and cranky reviews because it won a hugo award for best short story back in 2014 and it's not really sci-fi.

which is a perfectly legitimate complaint, but one that didn't stop me from loving it because i didn't even know about the "scandal" before i read it, and because i actually prefer things that are more
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Elyse  Walters
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Water falls from the sky if you lie"............... is a creative means to tell your parents (or not) if you are gay. If you lie --water falls from the sky! --
Love is love is love! To hide it is a lie --don't ya think?

Family complexity -relationships tender! .......and love between Matt and Gus is pure as water!

The cover and title caught my attention! It can be read online --for free.

Every Sunday morning I need to sit upright -or stand -for an hour after taking my bone density
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Nat
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to “come out” to his traditional Chinese parents.

“Coming out would have hurt less a decade ago and it’ll hurt less now than a decade from now. Unless I just keep quiet and wait for my entire family to die off. Now there’s a cheery thought.”

I've been on the
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Julio Genao
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
fun and mysterious, with a great sense of style.

dinged a star for the condom thing. don't normalize war-time best practices in a time of peace. it's not normal to treat your fiancé the same way you'd treat a grindr hookup.
David
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gay Chinese dudes, liars who get wet a lot
I read this as part of the Hugo nomination packet, and am somewhat baffled. It's well written, I suppose, and there is a nominal science fiction element, though I'm tempted to instead check the box to shelve it as "magical realism." Apparently a few months ago, water started falling on people from nowhere whenever they tell a lie. If you're a little evasive, you get damp. If you tell a whopper, you get drenched. This just happens and there's no explanation, and it serves no purpose in the story ...more
Lata
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I started crying partway through reading this beautiful story.
Althea Ann
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
My book club read a selection of short stories this month; this was one of them.

This is a very well-crafted piece; and all the relationships in it ring very true. It's the story of a gay man struggling with coming out to his family during a holiday visit (this is a great story to read for Christmas!)

I like that just about nothing here is idealized or sanitized - people are difficult, hard, irrational - but at the same time, the overall mood is sweet and hopeful.

However, I disagree with this
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Jokoloyo
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I first read this in new year minutes before some family relatives come to my house, so this story has an impact due to read it at the right time.

But I barely found any science fiction or even fantasy element of this story, except the brief concept of a child of gay couple in one of the dialog. I found the family drama and MM romance were okay, but the main issue for me: the drama was not gripping my emotion, it felt like a regular family time. Compared to my own family-time, not much
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Sofia
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it

Chu looks at family both the blood one and the other ones we make as we grow. Families that we love and hate at the same time, families that pulls us here and there but the ropes that tie us cannot so easily be untied and we would feel adrift if they're cut.

Don't know if I can call this sci-fi or fantasy anyway what's in a name. The premise and it's permutations are very very interesting and the piece is very well written, so much so that eventhough I'd have loved a translation to all the
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Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
There's something clever about this story. Water that falls on you from nowhere...when you are fibbing. The conceit is the narrator is an in the closet gay, at least to his parents, and without the ability to lie to them since the water started falling, is faced with the conflict of how he is going to keep up the facade in front of his aged parents over the Christmas holidays when any lie he tells will be given away by...water, falling out of nowhere.

Clever, right?

Right. But science fiction?

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Komal
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
After the title of this story grabbed my attention, the art-work and synopsis enticed it further.

The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere is a drama that can categorize into the genre of Bizarro. The simple fantasy theme belying it is that there's a downpour on every person who utters a lie and, depending on the severity of a lie, can turn into a drizzle, humidity, or even a torrent. The science and visual information behind this phenomenon has been denied to the readers because the sole focus
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Celia
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Celia by: Elyse Walters
Shelves: 2017-read, elyse
What a concept: water falls from the sky if you lie. It's cold too. And if your lie is to your lover, he gets drenched too. Is that what love is? Sharing the cold and chilling, as well as the warm and comforting?

I loved this short story. It had a structure to it that this math major appreciated.

Thanks Elyse for sharing your review so that I could share the story too.

I found this story on tor.com by entering John Chu in the search box.

Its even appropriate for Christmas Day as the story takes
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Richard Eyres
Aug 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-reads_2014
This short was nominated for a Hugo in 2014. This award is for science fiction and fantasy. I saw very little of this in this story. In fact, i think it was just added to make a 'coming out story' accessible for an award.
The story was boring and i had zero interest in it. The only fantasy element was water appears if a lie was told.
The writing may be good, but the story is boring.
Vishakha ~ ReadingSpren ~
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I love you, Matt” doesn’t count as a powerful statement that holds true for all time and space. Except when Gus says it, apparently.


I have always felt that crafting a short story is far more difficult than a full-length novel. You have so much to say, so many people to introduce and so many ideas to explore in such a small number of words. But it also means, that no word is wasted. Everything is profound. Huge amounts of genius and creativity compressed in such a small space, a good short
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The Captain
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there mateys! This 22 page 2014 Hugo award-winning short story was absolutely wonderful. Of course as it is from Tor.com I was expecting it to be. In this version of the future, telling a lie causes water to fall from the sky. How much water depends on how big the lie. This phenomena brings Matt a whole additional set of concerns about coming out to his traditional Chinese parents. I really enjoyed this quick read and absolutely loved the ideas and thoughts around telling lies. What crazy ...more
Cathy
One of the more effective approaches to writing a speculative fiction short story, it seems, is to come up with one clever element and then speculate on how that would influence every aspect of life. Ted Chiang does this very well in his story The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling, which was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette this year (2014). Aliette de Bodard did it very well in her story Immersion, which was nominated for a slew of awards last year. And John Chu does it very well ...more
Ctgt
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A Hugo nominated short with a very cool premise, when you tell a lie, water falls on you. The author uses this idea to tell the story of a gay Chinese man as he comes out to his family. Wonderful story of love and the many shades of lies we tell throughout the course of our days and lives.
James Adams
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a neat little magical-realist story with an interesting base premise: If you lie, water falls on you, more water the bigger the lie. And the main character is a gay man struggling with coming out to his traditional Chinese family.
It has all the ingredients for a culture-clash screwball comedy, but this story is about the pain of lying to yourself and the ones you love, and the pain only they can inflict, both intentionally and not. It is also very sweet, and shows the relief in owning
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Estelle
Jan 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hate-list, fantasy
Didn't like this at all. I was expecting fantasy or even some science fiction elements to make it original and interesting, but instead this was just another (boring) story about relationships, coming out and family.
Maybe I completely missed the point and this is "too deep" for me, but frankly I had no interest at all in it.
Good thing it was short.
Paula Bardell-Hedley
Every so often I like to read a stand-alone short story; one that isn't necessarily part of a writer's collection or taken from a multi-author anthology. A case in point is a 6,655-word composition I chanced upon while skimming Goodreads recently. It piqued my interest sufficiently for me to take time out from the novel I was then reading.

The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu first appeared on Tor.com in 2013 – a “publisher neutral” website aimed at sci-fi and fantasy readers –
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Ami
3.75 stars rounded up

Purists Lovers of science-fiction might not fully agree with this short story having strong science fiction / fantasy element. There's element of speculative fiction, with water coming down on people who's lying; no explanation about it though.

But for me, the core of this story how Matt loves Gus, and he's struggling to come out to his traditional Chinese family, and tell them that he's not going to find a good Chinese woman to marry and have kids with. Instead he will have
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Maria
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I only picked this up because of the Around the Year challenge to read a Hugo Award winner or nominee. The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere won the award for best short story in 2014.

The premise of this story is that water rains down on you when you lie, no matter where you are. I'm not sure that's enough to make it science fiction? No matter, I thought this story was really well executed. Even though it's a short story the characters were well developed. It would have been a full five stars
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Kaetrin
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kind of melancholy but ultimately happy short story about a Chinese American gay dude who comes out to his family, over the particular objection of his sister. It was only 22 pages but it was able to convey the deep love and affection between Matt and Gus and the fraught relationship between Matt and his sister (who was a little one note in my opinion, but then again, it's a very short story). I liked his parents and the way the water or lack of it was the ultimate truth serum.
Mindy Reads
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: brb-reads
I found the fantastical element intriguing, but wasn't really into the actual story. It was good enough, I just found that such an interesting occurrence could have been used in a more interesting fashion.
Jana
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
A powerful, lovely story about complicated family relationships. The device of "water falls from the sky if you lie" is used to excellent effect, but never overshadows the interpersonal drama.
Antonella
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Excellent writing, believable internal dialogue, original idea. It's powerful and emotional. I'm glad it won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
John
Jun 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Surreal short story--the conceit being that telling a fib gets you doused in water that falls from nowhere. Too weird for me.
c,
Rep: Taiwanese(?) mcs, gay mc, gay li

CWs: abuse and homophobia from sibling
Talal
Interesting premise.

3.5/5
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John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer by night. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at Boston Review, Bloody Fabulous, Asimov's Science Fiction, Apex Magazine and Tor.com. His story "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.