Another very long list, a set of very worthwhile short stories.
Charlie Jane Anders, "Cake Baby" (Lightspeed, 11/17)
Charlie Jane Anders, "Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue" (Boston Review, Global Dystopias)
Tim Akers, "A Death in the Wayward Drift" (Interzone, 3-4/17)
Eleanor Arnason, "Daisy" (F&SF, 3-4/17)
Kelly Barnhill, "Probably Still the Chosen One" (Lightspeed, 2/17)
Tobias Buckell, "Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance" (Cosmic Powers)
Tobias Buckell, "Shoggoths in Traffic" (Patreon, 4/17)
Rebecca Campbell, "The Fall of the Mundaneum, (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 9/28/17)
C. S. E. Cooney, "Though She Be But Little" (Uncanny, 9-10/17)
Tina Connolly, "Pipecleaner Sculptures and other Necessary Work" (Uncanny, 11-12/17)
John Crowley, "This is Our Town" (Totalitopia)
John Crowley, “Spring Break” (New Haven Noir)
Scott Dalrymple, "Marcel Proust, Incorporated" (Lightspeed, 6/17)
J. R. Dawson, "Marley and Marley" (F&SF, 11-12/17)
Kate Dollarhyde, “Lamplighter’s Eve” (Lackington’s, Fall/17)
Andy Dudak, "Cryptic Female Choice" (Interzone, 7-8/17)
Tom Greene, "Necessary Illusions" (Analog, 1-2/17)
Giovanni de Feo, "Ugo" (Lightspeed, 9/17)
Jonathan Edelstein, "Of Letters They Are Made" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 6/22/17)
Kendra Fortmyer, "Octopus vs. Bear" (Lightspeed, 5/17)
Karen Joy Fowler, "Persephone of the Crows" (Asimov’s, 5-6/17)
A. T. Greenblatt, "A Place to Grow" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 5/11/17)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Rings" (F&SF, 5-6/16)
S. L. Huang, "Time Travel is Only for the Poor" (Analog, 11-12/17)
Kameron Hurley, "The Fisherman and the Pig" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 9/28/17)
N. K. Jemisin, "The Evaluators" (Wired, 1/17)
Minsoo Kang, "The Sacrifice of the Hanged Monkey" (Fantastic, POC Take Over)
Alice Sola Kim, "One Hour, Every Seven Years" (McSweeney’s #49)
Matthew Kressel, "Love Engine Optimization" (Lightspeed, 6/17)
Naomi Kritzer, "Paradox" (Uncanny, 5-6/17)
Greg Kurzawa, "Soccer Fields and Frozen Lakes" (Lightspeed, 3/17)
Margo Lanagan, "Not All Ogre" (Singing My Sister Down)
Rich Larson, "An Evening with Severyn Grimes" (Asimov’s, 7-8/17)
Rich Larson, "Cupido" (Asimov’s, 3-4/17)
Emily St. John Mandel, "Mr. Thursday" (Slate, 3/17)
Kate Marshall, "Red Bark and Ambergris" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 8/17/17)
Bruce McAllister, "This is for You" (Lightspeed, 5/17)
Maureen McHugh, "Sidewalks" (Omni, Winter/17)
Linda Nagata, "The Martian Obelisk" (Tor.com 7/17)
Ray Nayler, "Winter Timeshare" (Asimov’s, 1-2/17)
Mari Ness, "You Will Never Know What Opens" (Lightspeed, 12/17)
Susan Palwick, "The Shining Hills" (Lightspeed, 8/17)
Dominica Phetteplace, "Oracle"(Infinity Wars)
Sarah Pinsker, "The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going" (Asimov’s, 3-4/17)
Vina Jie-Min Prasad, "Fandom for Robots" (Uncanny, 9-10/17)
Lettie Prell, "Emergency Protocol" (Analog, 9-10/17)
Madeline Ray, "Montreal 2014" (Mothership Zeta, 1/17)
Robert Reed, "The Significance of Significance" (Clarkesworld, 7/17)
Ryan Row, "Whatever Knight Comes" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 5/25/17)
Sofia Samatar, “An Account of the Land of Witches” (Tender)
Karl Schroeder, "Eminence" (Chasing Shadows)
Gord Sellar, "Focus" (Analog, 5-6/17)
Benjanun Sriduangkaew, "No Pearls as Blue as These" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 8/17/17)
Eric Schwitzgebel, "The Turing Machines of Babel" (Apex, 7/17)
Jack Skillingstead, "The Last Garden" (Lightspeed, 2/17)
Michael Swanwick, "Starlight Express" (F&SF, 9-10/17)
Molly Tanzer, "Nine-Tenths of the Law" (Lightspeed, 1/17)
Lavie Tidhar, "The Banffs" (Analog, 5-6/17)
Carrie Vaughn, "I Have Been Drowned in Rain" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 4/13/17)
Jamie Wahls, "Utopia LOL?" (Strange Horizons, 6/5/17)
Daniel Wallace, "Sea Girls" (Tin House, Summer/17)
Jo Walton, "A Burden Shared" (Tor.com, 4/17)
Nick Wolven, "Confessions of a Con Girl" (Asimov’s, 11-12/17)
Caroline Yoachim, “Carnival Nine”, (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 5/11/17)
E. Lily Yu, "The White-Throated Transmigrant" (Tor.com, 6/17)
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Adam-Troy Castro, "A Touch of Heart" (Lightspeed, 7/17)
Lots of excellent stories there. I do have some favorites. My nomination list will include five of these, and I have to admit, I don’t know right now which five.
Maureen McHugh, "Sidewalks" (Omni, Winter/17) – Rosni Gupta is a speech pathologist for Los Angeles County, and her latest case is a woman who speaks nothing but gibberish. Rosni assumes she is perhaps autistic, but on meeting her she realizes that is not the case, and soon learns what the gibberish really is. I’ll leave the secret for the reader to discover – not that it’s particularly a new notion – but the implications are powerful, and the characters are absolutely real.
Giovanni de Feo, "Ugo" (Lightspeed, 9/17) – About a girl who repeatedly meets a strange boy named Ugo, who claims to know their common future. Eventually he tells her that he experiences “Leaps” through time, when his older self goes into a sort of fugue and travels into his younger mind. The story follows their life, and their love affair, and careers – with the question always as to how it will end, for Ugo’s knowledge of the future only goes so far. There’s an obvious hint of The Time Traveler’s Wife here, but with a somewhat darker tint – and with an ambiguous ending twist. This is a very effective, moving, and thoughtful piece.
Charlie Jane Anders, "Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue" (Boston Review, Global Dystopias) – This concerns Rachel, who has been confined in an institution to cure her particular personal problem, as the state sees it – her belief that she is a woman, though she was born a boy. Her childhood friend Jeffrey is a functionary at this particular institution. And the method of “cure” is particularly horrific – not that her situation isn’t horrific no matter how the state wished to treat her. Anders has always had the ability to present truly agonizing situations with a superficially comic surface, which only makes the realization of the horror beneath more affecting – and never more so, I think, than in this story.
Sofia Samatar, “An Account of the Land of Witches” (Tender) – It opens with a lyrical narrative by Arta, a slave who is taken by her master (a merchant) to the Land of Witches, where she learns their magic – or Dream Science – which involves language and the manipulation of time. This is absolutely lovely writing, and the magical system is beautiful. There follows – ever in different well realized voices – a “refutation” of Arta’s account by her angry master; and then a desperate section told by a Sudanese woman trapped back home by visa problems (and local strife) as she tries to research the fragments that make up Arta’s account and her master’s refutation for her degree from a US university; then a lexicon of the witches’ magical language, and then a strange almost mystical account of a journey in search of the Land. This is really striking, original, and mysterious.
Linda Nagata, "The Martian Obelisk" (Tor.com, 7/17) – set in a future in which a series of disasters, with causes in human nature, in environmental collapse, and in technological missteps, has led to a realization that humanity is doomed. One old architect, in a gesture of, perhaps, memorialization of the species, has taken over the remaining machines of an abortive Mars colony to create a huge obelisk that might end up the last surviving great human structure after we are gone. But her project is threatened when a vehicle from one of the other Martian colonies (all of which failed) approaches. Is the vehicle’s AI haywire? Has it been hijacked by someone else on Earth? The real answer is more inspiring – and if perhaps just a bit pat, the conclusion is profoundly moving.
Karen Joy Fowler, "Persephone of the Crows" (Asimov’s, 5-6/17) – is just wrenchingly brilliant, using apparently true (in story terms) fantastical elements in service of character examination, and in so doing resolves itself without really resolving any of the questions the fantastical elements might inspire. Which, to a devoted reader of the fantastic can be in a way disappointing. But on its own terms I think this story delivers. Polly is a 10-year old girl at who meets another girl who claims to have seen a real fairy. Polly is envious of the other girl for lots of reasons – money is one, parents are another, and Polly’s wishes for something better in her life only intensify that night – until the drive home, when her drunken father loses control of the car – and things get strange. Be careful what you wish for, perhaps? Though that sounds a bit facile – the story doesn’t quite go where you expect it to, and in the end we have a sharp portrayal of its main character and a sad look at her perception of her family.
Tobias Buckell, "Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance" (Cosmic Powers) – A starship maintenance robot, after a successful battle, by happenstance rescues a CEO of the enemy fleet, and finds himself inveigled/bribed/coerced into rendering assistance. The story turns on the complex intersection of intriguing speculation about AIs and identity, economics, contract law, moral law, free will and orbital mechanics. In other words, really cool stuff.
Tobias Buckell, "Shoggoths in Traffic" (Patreon, 4/17) – is a clever Lovecraftian crime story, in which a couple of people steal (repossess!) a car from a drug dealer and try to take it to Miami – but on the way run into a weird highway exit and a biker magician and – well, you’ll not think of cloverleafs and other traffic patterns in quite the same way after this!
My Recommendation Posts:
Best Novel, Series, YA
Best Editor, Campbell Award