NOTE: Withdrawn from consideration because Kowal has stated she will decline nomination in 2016.
Title: Midnight Hour
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Publisher: Uncanny Magazine
Publication Date: July/August 2015
Description, by Lois Tilton [Locus]: "Subversive fairy tale mashup. The situation is classic: a kingdom was suffering from plague, so the king made a great sacrifice to save it, willingly taking on a curse in exchange. For seven years, he will be mad, except for one hour a day between twelve and one o’clock. His queen, likewise, has been cursed to lose her name and never set foot outside her castle. The kingdom has now recovered and King Lennart manages to rule effectively during his one lucid hour, but the cost of keeping his secret has placed a great strain on everyone who knows it; his children barely recognize him. Now a new complication has arisen in the form of a neighboring prince, come as an ambassador. He is being quite importunate about demanding to meet with the king, and protocol means he can’t be put off forever."