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Wakulla Springs

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  741 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Wakulla Springs, in the deep jungle of the Florida panhandle, is the deepest submerged freshwater cave system in the world. In its unfathomable depths, a variety of curious creatures have left a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end. And that's just the local human beings over the last seventy-five years. Then there are the prehist ...more
Kindle Edition, 139 pages
Published October 2nd 2013 by Tor Books
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Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it

Most girls who grew up in Shadeville knew the piney woods as well as they knew their own kitchens—the snakey places to watch out for, the shortcuts, the swimming holes and sinks, the back ways into everywhere. So it was a only matter of minutes before Vergie stopped at a narrow break in the dense green wall, and they stepped off the wiry grass and disappeared from view.

i have had this one on my to-read radar for a long time, but each time i considered it for my weekly tor-short journey, i would
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
First things first: Yes, you may be fooled thinking you are reading a sci-fi/fantasy novella - and you can't be faulted for that given the nominations for Hugo and Nebula and the World Fantasy Award. But honestly, the closest this story came to drinking an afternoon tea with even just magical realism, let alone any kind of SFF, would be the last paragraph only (and what an awesome paragraph it was!), and even then its flight of fancy is little but a tease.

Yes, despite the nominations and publica
Richard Derus
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

**2018 UPDATE The gents at PS Publishing have made a gorgeous hardcover of this lovely tale available here**

If I could afford $30 for a book I've already read and really liked, I'd put my card where my keyboard is and get this.

I read Nebula-nominated novella WAKULLA SPRINGS and gave the original a good going-over.

Lots to think about, said in lush prose, and plotted beautifully.
Cathy (cathepsut)
A tale of three generations of an African-American family, segregation and racism, Tarzan movies, swimming, glimpses of an underwater world and maybe the Creature of the Black Lagoon.

Difficult to rate, as it wasn‘t what I expected. More historical than speculative fiction.

A HUGO and Nebula Award Nominee, winner of an World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. “Ranging from the late 1930s to the present day, "Wakulla Springs" is a tour de force of the human, the strange, and the miraculous.“

I expected
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hollywood monsters in rubber suits, swimmers in segregated springs
This was an excellent multi-generational story, set in Wakulla Springs, Florida. Starting in the 30s, Hollywood stars visit the (segregated) resort to film jungle scenes, from Johnny Weismuller's Tarzan to Creature from the Black Lagoon. Magic, mostly of the Hollywood sort, permeates the tale, but only towards the end does it truly intrude upon the characters' more or less mundane existences.

This is a story about growing up black in segregated Florida, and growing up starry eyed with Hollywood h
Boring. It isn't speculative fiction, it's historical fiction. And although the historical fiction elements are enjoyable, the story is very slow paced and not in a good way. It wasn't a lazy, that's what life was like in that part of Florida in the heat kind of pace, it was just dull. If I was looking for a nice historical fiction story it wouldn't have bothered me quite as much, but I kept waiting for the interesting part to happen and it didn't and it was frustrating. And even though the firs ...more
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, racism
Why is this even nominated for a Hugo?

I'm all for stretching the definition of speculative fiction and FSF as far as it can. However, apart from the last couple lines, this could all simply just be historical fiction, with no fantastical elements whatsoever, not even on the verge of fantastical realism.

Mind, it's not a bad story, but I certainly would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been expecting for a fantastical element to turn up somehow.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wakulla Springs was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novella. The publisher made it available for free.

First of all, it was a well-written and enjoyable story that spanned several generations and was particularly evocative in its descriptions of the Jim Crow era in Northern Florida and the filming of a couple of different old Hollywood movies on location there.

But...why, why, why do people keep nominating works that aren't SF/fantasy for SF/fantasy awards? There are exactly two places in
Beth Cato
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, fantasy, historical
This novella can be read for free on, and is currently a free download on Amazon as well. I read it because it's on the current Nebula shortlist.

This is an exceptionally well-written story that doesn't have an outward conflict. Really, it's about the love of a place and the impact it has on people, racism, and how a family changes with changing culture. It spans four chapters and three generations, and has firm grounding in the real setting of Wakulla Springs, Florida. It begins with the
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
... But is it sf?

Not really, no. There are a couple of Maybe Moments, but they are fleeting.

However, it is a fabulous novella. Seriously fabulous. The different voices are wonderfully distinct, clearly telling one multi-generational story but clearly individual. Wakulla Springs in particular is so evocative it ached. The incidental details felt right, although I'm sure as heck no expert on the period or place. And I'm not sure how to phrase this without it coming out wrong, so please forgive me:
Nancy Meservier
Wakulla Springs focuses on the lives of multiple generations of one family, and their relationship to Wakulla Springs. The result is a beautifully written novella that covers a wide variety of topics, from race relations in the south, to classic monster movies. The story moves at a sedate pace, but the characters and subject matter as so interesting that you don't really mind. It's true that it can feel a little unfocused, with large sprawling chapters followed by short ones where you don't get ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2014
Wakulla Springs has much going for it. A multigenerational tale with protagonists of color. A strong sense of place. A nostalgic look at retro filmmaking. Historically accurate portrayals of racism. Clean yet occasionally lush prose. But as much as I could appreciate certain elements of it, I never fully got into it, largely because it's bafflingly light on any sort of SFF element, given its Nebula and Hugo nominations. It's closer to magical realism than sci-fi or fantasy, and so I kept waiting ...more
Ian McKinley
This novella begins with an interesting character caught in the Jim Crow era of 1941 Florida who lives in an interesting setting. The book puts her into the biggest trouble she would ever have seen in her life, and then largely drops her to pick up the story of a less-interesting character navigating uninteresting problems. It would have been a stronger work had it stuck to the first character it depicts.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary
I read this because it's a Hugo-nominated novella. I didn't feel like there was a real story being told. It's just quick sketches about multiple generations of a family with connections to Wakulla Springs in Florida. I was surprised this was nominated for a Hugo because it didn't seem like speculative fiction to me (science fiction or fantasy). I would classify it has historical fiction. Overall, I thought it was good, though not a type of story I'm naturally drawn to.

I feel a little guilty givi
3.5 stars. Hugo nominee. Cute, but really more historical fiction.
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was really good, a tale of four generations of family, growing up in the Wakulla Springs area.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I live in Tallahassee, FL (20-30 minutes away), grew up visiting and swimming there, and actually got married at Wakulla Springs in 2013! So after seeing a popular GR reviewer read this short story (and even included a link to read for free!), I knew I needed to read it! It spanned 4 generations of one family, from approximately 1940-2011-ish (these are my own approximations, as the story doesn't specify), from Wakulla Springs to LA and back to Florida. It was an easy read, but it was written so ...more
James Adams
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story, telling of multiple generations and the Florida waters sacred to them. Beautifully written, but, as many will tell you, not SF/F. What little that is even remotely supernatural is, most likely, metaphor. Still, that shouldn't turn you off of this and, despite no unnatural doings, this is still some kind of fantasy.
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is composed of four chapters, each set in a different period in time, that, together, tell the story of one African-American family in North Florida from the 1930s to the present day.

But reading this book isn't so much like reading four different stories as it is like reading two, very different ones.

First, I'll adress the first two chapters. They are compelling. They have well-developed, complicated characters that are easy for the reader to identify with. Most importantly, the first
Ben Babcock
Having not grown up during a time with segregation, it’s difficult for me to understand completely what such a society is like. But stories like Wakulla Springs at least help by highlighting some of the less overt but no less harmful racist and oppressive tactics used in the United States to maintain the social status quo. In this eponymous Florida town, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages allow their characters to dream—and then sacrifice those dreams on an altar of realism.

The first part of the story
Wakulla Springs is one of those places I've always dreamed of visiting. It's the largest and deepest freshwater springs (some say in the world). It's been the home of manatees and monsters, and, once upon a time, movie-stars, too. Wakulla Springs is also a 2014 Hugo nominated original fiction (novella) and I was able to read it as a free download, courtesy of the publisher, Tor.

I read a huge variety of fiction, so something that carries a bit of speculation, magical realism and history is a tre
This was another Hugo award nominee made available for free download to e-readers through the publisher, Tor. I enjoy science fiction a great deal, but had a hard time with this one fitting into that classification. If anything, it merely suggested - teased, perhaps - at science fiction and nothing more. The fact that it was nominated for a Hugo award suggests (teases?) that perhaps I've missed something evident to others.

Despite finishing the book with a puzzled, "What? That was science fiction
P. Kirby
Jul 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm being an asshat with this rating, because as a work of historical fiction, Wakulla Springs is a lovely story and deserving of at least four stars. Also, I got it free, which means I should cut it some slack.

And yet...there is something sorely vexing about a Hugo nominated, and therefore, by implication, speculative fiction novella, that contains fuck all for SF/F elements. My guess is some might argue that it's a work of magical realism. But if Wakulla Springs is a measure of what is magical
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Despite being a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula 2013 awards, I would classify this novella as historical fiction, and not as science fiction or fantasy.
The story starts in the 1930s, in the deep South, at a time when segregation was the law of the land. Each chapter focuses on one pivotal moment in the life of a different member of the same family, each one belonging to a different generation. We are told the history of Wakulla Spring, a "white-only" retreat in the more pristine and wi
SciFi Kindle
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This novella, while interesting, disappointed my expectations of something categorically SF. Told as a sequence of childhood 'day-in-the-life' stories from three generations of characters, it seems best described as a tribute to the titular Florida locale where most of the story takes place. There is a very tangible and deeply native familiarity to the setting that puts the reader into the scene quite believably, without lecturing at length about the local biology. While completely terrestrial, ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's really very subtle and light Magical Realism, so subtle I'd hesitate to place it in the Spec. Fic. category.

Still, it's a very well written and evocative story that I enjoyed very much. The authors really managed to convey the sense of the place and the continuity in the lives of the different generations of characters. Even though there was no fantastical element or hints of the supernatural until very late in the story, there's a sense of quiet, every day "magic" in the setting and the w
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I’ve got to side with most people here and say that this isn’t really speculative fiction for about 99% of the novel. The story is about three generations of a family and how their lives are interwoven with the happenings around a large lake in Florida called Wakulla Springs. There are various movies being made, the civil rights movement happening and the growth of the ecological concerns. But moving amongst it all is a lot of haunting description of swimming in the water, of being under ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Each one of the four chapters of this novella take place in a different decade and is told in first person from a different character. The chapters read as individual short stories with related characters. In the first two stories there was a sense of foreboding, as a reader you know something is going to happen, you just don't know how bad its going to be for the character, and you can't wait to find out what it is.

I've read books with this format that I felt should have been characterized as
Sep 08, 2014 rated it liked it
The first half is 5 stars; the second, 2 and a half stars. The story tracks 3 generations of one family (in 4 sections), and the first two sections are masterpieces of lush, evocative, gorgeously immersive writing. The last two are far shorter and far less developed, both the settings and the characters. The Tor website, where I read this, lists two authors - Andy Duncan, and Ellen Klages. I wonder if they each took half of the story - it would seem to fit with the results. If so, I would love t ...more
Stefanie Kline
Mar 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not sure I would
Recommended to Stefanie by: Free Friday selection from Nook
I did not care for this book. I was expecting this to be a bit more magical. This is going to be a short review because there really isn’t much for me to say other than I didn’t like the book. Not my type of book. If was free Friday book offered for Nook and that is why I downloaded it and decided to give it a try. It’s a short book and I am so glad otherwise I probably would not even have finished it. It took me 4 sittings to finish the book simply because it bored me to read it very long.
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Andy Duncan is the award-winning author of two novellas—The Night Cache (2009) and Wakulla Springs (with Ellen Klages, 2013, 2018)—and three short fiction collections: Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (2000), The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (2012) and An Agent of Utopia: New and Selected Stories (2018). He is also the author of non-fiction book Alabama Curiosities (2005, 2009), and co-edi ...more

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