Seasons of Glass and Iron

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"Seasons of Glass and Iron" is a 2016 fantasy story by Canadian writer Amal El-Mohtar. It was first published in the anthology The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales.


Tabitha and Amira are both trapped in fairy tales: Tabitha is marching around the world until she wears out seven pairs of iron shoes in an effort to free her husband from an enchantment, while Amira sits atop a glass mountain awaiting a man to climb all the way up and claim her as his bride. When Tabitha accidentally climbs up Amira's mountain one day, they become friends, and their lives change.


El-Mohtar was inspired to write the story when her 7-year-old niece asked to be told a fairy tale, but the only ones she could think of involved "women being rescued by men or tormented by other women".[1]


Seasons won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story of 2016,[2] the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Short Story,[3] and the 2017 Locus Award for Best Short Story.[4] It was also shortlisted for the 2017 World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction,[5] the 2017 Aurora Award for Best Short Fiction,[6] and the 2017 Theodore Sturgeon Award.[7]

Publishers Weekly called it "excellent", and observed that it "explores the power of women's friendships to rewrite—or at least expose—misogynist ideologies",[8] while noted that it "undermines the logic of [Tabitha and Amira's] self-imposed martyrdom" and "invites introspection".[9]


  1. ^ An Interview with Hugo Award Recipient Amal El-Mohtar, at Carleton University; published August 22, 2017; retrieved September 14, 2017
  2. ^ Announcing the 2016 Nebula Awards Winners, at; published May 20, 2017; retrieved September 14, 2017
  3. ^ 2017 Hugo Awards, at; retrieved September 14, 2017
  4. ^ 2017 Locus Awards Winners, at Locus Online; published June 24, 2017; retrieved September 14, 2017
  5. ^ Nominees at; retrieved September 14, 2017
  6. ^ Aurora Nominations, by Steven H Silver, at the SF Site; published May 30, 2017; retrieved September 14, 2017
  7. ^ Sturgeon finalists at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction; retrieved September 14, 2017
  8. ^ The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales; Edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, reviewed by Veronica Schaneoes, at Publishers Weekly; published August 8, 2016; retrieved September 14, 2017
  9. ^ Fairy Tales Gorgeously Reimagined: The Starlit Wood, reviewed by Haralambi Markov; at; published October 18, 2016; retrieved September 14, 2017

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