The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere

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"The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" is an award-winning 2013 science fiction/magic realism short story by John Chu. "Water" was first published on,[1] after being purchased by editor Ann VanderMeer,[2] and subsequently republished in Wilde Stories 2014.[3] As well, Chu has read the story aloud for the StarShipSofa podcast.[4]


Some weeks prior to the beginning of the story, an unexplained phenomenon begins worldwide: whenever a person lies, water falls on that person from nowhere. Phrasing a potential lie as a question does not cause water to fall, while stating an untruth that one believes to be true does. Conversely, profound or universal truths can actually remove moisture from the air.

In the midst of this phenomenon, Matt decides to come out to his traditional Chinese family after his partner, Gus, refuses to marry him until he does.


"Water" won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.[5] The Guardian called it "deeply personal",[6] while Lambda Literary said it was a "standout".[3] Kirkus Reviews described it as "so beautiful it hurts;"[7] however, the Los Angeles Review of Books described it as "(u)ndoubtedly sweet but also rather sappy."[8]


  1. ^ All The Most Exciting Moments From The 2014 Hugo Awards!, by Charlie Jane Anders, at Io9; published August 17, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014
  2. ^ The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere, by John Chu; at; published February 20, 2013; retrieved October 8, 2014
  3. ^ a b ‘Wilde Stories 2014: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction’ Edited by Steve Berman, by Keith Glaeske; in Lambda Literary; published August 11, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014
  4. ^ StarShipSofa No 343 John Chu; published June 25, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014
  5. ^ 2014 Hugo Awards; by the World Science Fiction Society; at; published August 17, 2014
  6. ^ Ann Leckie's debut novel wins Hugo science fiction award, by Hannah Ellis-Petersen; in the Guardian; published August 18, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014
  7. ^ Reading the 2014 Hugo Award Finalists—The Short Stories Ballot, by Ana Grilo, at Kirkus Reviews; published May 2, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014
  8. ^ In the Wake of the British Boom: The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, by Martin Petto, in the Los Angeles Review of Books; published September 1, 2014; retrieved October 8, 2014