Nebula Award Nominee: “Ponies” by Kij Johnson


Kij Johnson

Published by Tor. com

Publication Date: January 2010

The invitation card has a Western theme. Along its margins, cartoon girls in cowboy hats chase a herd of wild Ponies. The Ponies are no taller than the girls, bright as butterflies, fat, with short round-tipped unicorn horns and small fluffy wings. At the bottom of the card, newly caught Ponies mill about in a corral. The girls have lassoed a pink-and-white Pony. Its eyes and mouth are surprised round Os. There is an exclamation mark over its head.

The little girls are cutting off its horn with curved knives. Its wings are already removed, part of a pile beside the corral.

Barbara, a young girl, and her pony Sunny are invited to a “cutting out” party by a group of popular girls from school. The two want more than anything to have friends but what’s involved may be more than they can handle.

I can’t tell you anything else about the story without spoiling it. I can tell you this: even though “Ponies” is only four pages long, it packs a punch. I know that some of you don’t read short stories or fantasy but this is a story you really should read. I first read this story last week and since then, I’ve re-read several times. “Ponies” is easily on my “best of 2011” list.

The great thing is that the story can be read in its entirety on You can also read the comments that follow the story. Everyone has their own theory about the meaning of the story but I think the story can be applied to the cruelty we experience as children and also as adults and how willing we sometimes are to do anything to fit in.

Have you read any of the stories or books nominated for the 2010 Nebula Awards? If you read “Ponies”, what do you think of it?


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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5 Responses to Nebula Award Nominee: “Ponies” by Kij Johnson

  1. nymeth says:

    I read this a while back and loved it, as with everything Kij Johnson writers. It really does pack quite a punch.

  2. Samantha says:

    I’m trying to participate in The Book Smuggler’s readathon of Nebula nominees but not doing so well so far šŸ™‚ This really sounds like an interesting read…I’ll have to check it out at some point.

  3. zibilee says:

    Oh my, that was some quote! I think I am going to have to read this story, as I am too curious to ignore it now! Great thoughts on this one!

  4. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for sharing this one with us. I’m off to read it right now!

  5. I loved Fox Woman but haven’t read anything recently. Sounds intriguing though!
    ::scribbles addition to TBR list::

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