Category: short fiction

What I Read in October 2012

I‘m a little behind getting this post out, but part of the reason is that I have now partially automated the process of generating these posts–something which I will discuss in my Going Paperless tips post next week. Remember that items in bold are recommended. And a (^) indicates a re-read.

It is also worth noting that Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick’s The Cassandra Project was the 500th book I’ve read since 1996.

With that out of the way, here is what I read in October

Short Fiction

  1. Overthrow by Cleve Cartmill (Astounding, November 1942) [10/2/2012]
  2. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption^ by Stephen King (Different Seasons) [10/4/2012]
  3. Sojourn for Ephah by Marina Lostetter (InterGalactic Medicine Show, September 2012) [10/5/2012]
  4. My Mother’s Body by Christie Yant (Daily Science Fiction, 10/18/2012) [10/18/2012]
  5. A Handful of Glass, A Sky Without Stars by Damien Walters Grintalis (Daily Science Fiction, 10/26/2012) [10/26/2012]

In addition to those five stories, I also read 3 stories from fellow writers for critique and feedback.


  1. Editorial: Sneak Invasion by John W. Campbell (Astounding, November 1942) [10/2/2012]
  2. Art of Speculation: An Interview with Stanley Schmidt (Locus, October 2012) [10/3/2012]
  3. Inversions: An Interview with Kij Johnson (Locus, October 2012) [10/5/2012]
  4. America’s Science Problem by Shawn Lawrence Otto (Scientific American, November 2012) [10/18/2012]
  5. To Track My Thief by David Pogue (Scientific American, November 2012) [10/18/2012]
  6. Death by Graham Lawton (New Scientist, 10/20/2012) [10/19/2012]
  7. Plight of the Living Dead by Dick Teresi (New Scientist, 10/20/2012) [10/19/2012]
  8. The Quest for Immortality by Stephen Cave (New Scientist, 10/20/2012) [10/19/2012]
  9. Earthly Remains by Caroline Williams (New Scientist, 10/20/2012) [10/19/2012]
  10. Don’t Fear the Reaper by Shelly Kagan (New Scientist, 10/20/2012) [10/19/2012]
  11. Taylor In Wonderland by Brian Hiatt (Rolling Stone, 10/25/2012) [10/20/2012]
  12. Rod’s Wild Years (Excerpt) by Rod Steward (Rolling Stone, 10/25/2012) [10/20/2012]
  13. A League of His Own by Josh Eells (Rolling Stone, 11/8/2012) [10/26/2012]
  14. The Value of Failing (From Someone Who Never Did) by Joanna Castle Miller (Writer’s Digest, Nov/Dec 2012) [10/29/2012]
  15. George R. R. Martin: At the Top of His Game by Rich Shivener (Writer’s Digest, Nov/Dec 2012) [10/29/2012]


  1. The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick (Ace) [10/11/2012]
  2. Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele1 (Pyr) [10/31/2012]

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Get your short fiction fix:

My nonfiction subscriptions:

* Denotes magazines to which I have an active subscription.

  1. I’ve reviewed both of these books in my Science of Wonder book review column at InterGalactic Medicine Show later this month. 

The Golden Age of Short Science Fiction and Fantasy

I’ve said it many times before, but after coming back from Worldcon, I truly believe that we are in the midst of another Golden Age of short science fiction and fantasy. With that in mind, I just wanted to provide a post that lists some of the great magazines people can subscribe to in order to read outstanding stories every month, and sometimes every week, and even every day. The magazines are listed below with links to subscription information, and I’ve noted those to which I am a current subscriber.

Some of these magazines are free, some can be purchased individually or with a monthly subscription. Some work off of reader donations. I urge you to subscribe and support as many as you can. For the digital subscriptions I have (and they are all digital at this point), I think I pay about $10 or $12/month, which is less than the price of a movie ticket these days.

And the entertainment is far better than what you’d get in theaters.

What I Read in July 2012

July appeared to be a Stephen King month for me. Most of the short fiction I read was King and every novel I read was King as well. Short fiction still suffered this month, but that is in part because I read three fairly long books (two of the three books added up to nearly 2,000 pages!) and I went on an article reading binge mid-month as well. I have a backlog of short fiction to catch up on. If only I can find the time to do it!

Incidentally, Stephen King’s It (my second reading of it) marks my 494th book since January 1, 1996. I’ll likely finish book #495 today and since I have 2 books to read for my September book review column, that puts me at least 497 books by the end of August. Anyone want to venture a guess as to when I will hit book #500?

And a reminder: bold titles indicate stories, articles or books that I particularly recommend.

Short fiction

  1. 1922 by Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars) [7/1/2012]
  2. Big Driver by Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars) [7/2/2012]
  3. A Good Marriage by Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars) [7/5/2012]
  4. Cain Rose Up by Stephen King (Skeleton Crew) [7/6/2012]
  5. The Man in the Black Suit by Stephen King (Everything’s Eventual) [7/7/2012]
  6. Cutting by Ken Liu (Electric Velocepede #24) [7/30/2012]


  1. Reflections: “Anthologies” by Robert Silverberg (Asimov’s, Septmber 2012) [7/19/2012]
  2. Mannish Boy by Josh Eells (Rolling Stone, August 2, 2012) [7/20/2012]
  3. The Only Human Superhero by Jonathan Lethem (Rolling Stone, August 2, 2012) [7/20/2012]
  4. The Resurfacing of Anthony Ervin by Constaintine Markides (Rolling Stone, August 2, 2012) [7/20/2012]
  5. The Consciousness Connection by Caroline Williams (New Scientist, July 21, 2012) [7/20/2012]
  6. On the Brink by Craig Ryan (New Scientist, July 21, 2012) [7/20/2012]
  7. Siri, Why Aren’t You Smarter by David Pogue (Scientific American, August 2012) [7/21/2012]
  8. The Benevolence of Black Holes by Caleb Scharf (Scientific American, August 2012) [7/21/2012]
  9. The Joyful Mind by Morten L. Kringelbach and Kent C. Berridge (Scientific American, August 2012) [7/22/2012]
  10. Bruce Springsteen at Sixty-Two by David Remnick (The New Yorker, July 27, 2012) [7/23/2012]
  11. Calculating Value in Apple’s Upgraded Software by David Pogue (New York Times, July 25, 2012) [7/25/2012]


  1. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King [7/5/2012]
  2. Bag of Bones by Stephen King [7/10/2012]
  3. It by Stephen King [7/30/2012]

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

What I read in June 2012

I’ve decided to consolidate my monthly reading posts into a single posts covering short fiction, magazine articles, and books. It seems to me that one post is more efficient than three and can be just as easily organized. And it has the added benefit of allowing me to list everything for the month in a single place.

To my great surprise, I read very little short fiction in June, the first time that has happened since I started keeping track of my short fiction reading back in September 2011. This was due in part to the fact that I had some book review obligations to meet; it was due in part to the fact that I am taking a break from my Vacation in the Golden Age posts; and it is due in part to time constraints and other commitments. I also read few articles in June, but I expect both of these to change in July–indeed, I’ve already read both short fiction and articles this month.

Short fiction

  1. Alive and Well, and Far From Anywhere by Allen Steele (Asimov’s, July 2012) [6/1/2012]
  2. The Girl in the Park by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, July 2012) [6/1/2012]
  3. Bright Lights by Robert Reed (Strange Horizons, 5/7/2012) [6/1/2012]
  4. Donner Summit by Harry Turtledove (Analog, July/August 2012) [6/3/2012]


  1. “A Q&A with George R. R. Martin” by Adam Duerson (Sports Illustrated Website) [6/3/2012]
  2. “Still Crazy After  All These Years” by Erik Hedegaard (Rolling Stone, 6/21/2012) [6/8/2012]
  3. “John Mayer’s Regrets” by Josh Eells (Rolling Stone, 6/21/2012) [6/8/2012]
  4. “The Beach Boys’ Last Wave” by Jason Fine (Rolling Stone, 6/21/2012) [6/9/2012]


  1. Night Raider (Lone Wolf #1) by Barry N. Malzberg (as by Mike Barry) [6/8/2012]
  2. Taft 2012: A Novel by Jason Heller [6/26/2012]
  3. Redshirts: A Novel with 3 Codas by John Scalzi [6/27/2012]

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Short fiction I read in May 2012

This month’s reading was better than last month, but it was of much narrower focus. I read almost nothing that came out recently until last night, when I started Allen Steele’s latest story in the July Asimov’s. I might also have read even more short fiction were it not for several other things keeping me busy this month, including reading a new novel. Here is the short fiction I read in May:

  1. Waldo by Robert Heinlein (as by Anson MacDonald) (Astounding, August 1942) [5/6/2012]
  2. Deadlock by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (Astounding, August 1942) [5/8/2012]
  3. Non-Zero Probabilities by N. K. Jemisin (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/8/2012]
  4. Faithful Soldier, Prompted by Saladin Ahmed (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/8/2012]
  5. Arvies by Adam-Troy Castro (Million Writers Award Anthology) [5/8/2012]
  6. Jackdaw by Ross Rocklynne (Astounding, August 1942) [5/9/2012]
  7. There’s a Hole in the City by Richard Bowes (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/10/2012]
  8. The Tome of Tourmaline by Ken Liu (Daily SF, 5/9/2012) [5/10/2012]
  9. Time Marches On by Ted Carnell (Astounding, August 1942) [5/11/2012]
  10. Ray of Light by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog, December 2011) [5/11/2012]
  11. Horus Ascending by Aliette de Bodard (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/11/2012]
  12. The Link  by Cleve Cartmill (Astounding, August 1942) [5/12/2012]
  13. Killigan’s Lunar Legacy by Norman L. Knight (Astounding, August 1942) [5/12/2012]
  14. The Image of Annihilation by Jack Speer (Astounding, August 1942) [5/12/2012]
  15. Destiny and Uncle Louis by Joseph Gilbert (Astounding, August 1942) [5/12/2012]
  16. The Anecdote of the Negative Wugus by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding, August 1942) [5/12/2012]
  17. Impediment by Hal Clement (Astounding, August 1942) [5/13/2012]
  18. Blue Ink by Yoon Ha Lee (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/14/2012]
  19. Fields of Gold by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four) [5/18/2012]
  20. Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/19/2012]
  21. A Song to Greet the Sun by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/19/2012]
  22. Time to Say Goodnight by Caroline M. Yoachim (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/20/2012]
  23. The Fisherman’s Wife by Jenny Williams (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/22/2012]
  24. Intertropical Convergence Zone by Nadia Bulkin (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/22/2012]
  25. Urchins, While Swimming by Catherynne M. Valente (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/23/2012]
  26. The Shagri-La Affair by Lavie Tidhar (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/23/2012]
  27. Elegy for a Young Elk by Hannu Rajaniemi (Million Writers Awards Anthology) [5/23/2012]

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Short fiction I read in April 2012

April was not a good month for short fiction. The stories were great, but I didn’t have time to read many. This was, in part, due to the fact that I spent much of April doing my annual reading of Isaac Asimov’s autobiography. Between that and the reading I do for my Vacation in the Golden Age, there simply wasn’t any time left over. Here is the short fiction I read in April:

  1. Heritage by Robert Abernathy (Astounding, June 1942). [4/1/2012]
  2. This Rough Magic by Christie Yant (Daily SF, 4/3/12). [4/3/12]
  3. Secret Unattainable by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding, July 1942). [4/4/2012]
  4. Brimstone Bill by Malcolm Jameson (Astounding, July 1942). [4/8/2012]
  5. The Contraband Cow by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding, July 1942). [4/8/2012]
  6. Waiting at the Alter by Jack McDevitt (Asimov’s, June 2012). [4/25/2012]
  7. Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov [4/26/2012]
  8. Penance Cruise by David V. Reed (Astounding, July 1942). [4/27/2012]
  9. Space Can by L. Ron Hubbard (Astounding, July 1942) [4/27/2012]
  10. Collision Orbit by Jack Williamson (as by Will Stewart) (Astounding, July 1942) [4/28/2012]
  11. The Strange Case of the Missing Hero by Frank Holby (Astounding, July 1942) [4/28/2012]
  12. De Gustibus by Randall Hale (Astounding, July 1942) [4/28/2012]
  13. The Mysterious Bomb Raid by Bob Tucker (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]
  14. About Quarrels, About the Past by John Pierce (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]
  15. The Qwerty of Hrothgar by Creighton Buck (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]
  16. Eat, Drink and Be Wary by Ray Bradbury (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]
  17. The Floater by Sheldon G. Thomas (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]
  18. Tools by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding, July 1942) [4/29/2012]

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Short fiction I read in March 2012

Here is what I read in March:

  1. Living in the Eighties by David Ira Cleary (Asimov’s 4/12). [3/2/2012]
  2. Some Curious Effects of Time Travel by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding, April 1942). [3/2/2012]
  3. Pig Trap by Malcolm Jameson (Astounding, April 1942). [3/2/2012]
  4. Time Pussy by Isaac Asimov (as by George E. Dale) (Astounding, April 1942). [3/2/2012]
  5. Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son by Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed, 4/11). [3/2/2012]
  6. Movement by Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s, 3/11). [3/2/2012]
  7. Shipbirth by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 2/11). [3/5/2012]
  8. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11). [3/5/2012]
  9. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld, 4/11). [3/5/2012]
  10. Asylum by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding, May 1942). [3/8/2012]
  11. Forever Is Not So Long by F. Anton Reeds (Astounding, May 1942). [3/8/2012]
  12. Action Comics #7: City in a Bottle by Grant Morrison. [3/8/2012]
  13. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Astounding, May 1942). [3/10/2012]
  14. Beyond This Horizon, Part 2 by Anson MacDonald (Astounding, May 1942) [3/16/2012]
  15. Push of a Finger by Alfred Bester (Astounding, May 1942) [3/18/12]
  16. Bridle and Saddle by Isaac Asimov (Astounding, June 1942) [3/19/12]
  17. The Slaver by L. Ron Hubbard (Astounding, June 1942). [3/21/2012]
  18. On Pain of Death by Robert Moore Williams (Astounding, June 1942). [3/28/2012]
  19. A Nose for News by Roby Wentz (Astounding, June 1942) [3/28/2012]
  20. My Name Is Legion by Lester del Rey (Astounding, June 1942). [3/29/2012]
  21. Hitler at Nuremberg by Barry N. Malzberg (Collection). [3/30/2012]
  22. Time Dredge by Robert Arthur (Astounding, June 1942). [3/31/2012]
  23. Mudman by M. Krulfeld (Astounding, June 1942). [3/31/2012]
  24. Proof by Hal Clement (Astounding, June 1942). [3/31/2012]

Not quite my story-per-day (I’m 7 stories short by that measure) but still not too bad. And quite a few stories worth recommended (they appear in bold). As it turns out, I finished the month 2 stories short of 200 since I began keeping my list in September of last year. Two hundred stories in seven months is pretty darn good in my book.

Here’s how the numbers break down for March:

Market Comic Short Story Novelette Novella Serial Total
Asimov’s 2 1 3
Astounding 9 6 1 16
Clarkesworld 1 1
Collection 1 1
DC Comics 1 1
F&SF 1 1
Lightspeed 1 1
Total 1 15 6 1 1 24

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Short fiction I read in February 2012

Here is the short fiction I read in February 2012. Despite the fact that there was an extra day in February, I still managed to make my average of at least 1 story/day. I read a total of 29 pieces of short fiction in February. As always bold titles are stories that I’d recommend:

  1. The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary by Ken Liu.  [2/1/2012]
  2. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey by Ruth Nestvold (Daily SF, 2/2/12).  [2/2/2012]
  3. Cloudburst by Robert Reed (Daily SF, 2/3/2012). [2/3/2012]
  4. A Cabin on the Coast by Gene Wolfe. (The Best of Gene Wolfe).  [2/3/2012]
  5. Starting Point by Raymond F. Jones. (Astounding February 1942). [2/4/2012]
  6. Action Comics #6: When Superman Learned To Fly by Grant Morrison. [2/4/2012]
  7. Medusa by Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding February 1942). [2/5/2012]
  8. The Rebels by Kurt von Rachen (Astounding February 1942). [2/5/2012]
  9. Biomass by Alexander Stanmyer (Daily SF, 2/6/2012). [2/6/2012]
  10. Recruiting Station by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding March 1942). [2/9/2012]
  11. The Wings of Night by Lester del Rey (Astounding March 1942). [2/12/2012]
  12. The Embassy by Martin Pearson (Astounding March 1942). [2/16/2012]
  13. In Her Arms of Dresden Pale by Damien Walters Grintalis (Daily SF, 2/16/2012). [2/16/2012]
  14. Goldfish Bowl by Anson MacDonald (Astounding March 1942). [2/18/2012]
  15. Runaround by Isaac Asimov (Astounding March 1942). [2/19/2012]
  16. Describe a Circle by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding March 1942). [2/19/2012]
  17. Digital Blues by Greg Mellor (Daily SF, 2/20/2012). [2/21/2012]
  18. Legions In Time by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, 6/04). [2/21/2012]
  19. All the Young Kirks and Their Good Intentions (Clarkesworld, 2/12). [2/21/2012]
  20. Saurus by John Van Pelt (Daily SF, 2/23/2012). [2/23/2012]
  21. The Man Who Murdered Mozart by Robert Walton and Barry N. Malzberg (F&SF, 3/1/2012). [2/24/2012]
  22. One Year of Fame by Robert Reed (F&SF, March 2012). [2/27/2012]
  23. Demiurge by Geoffrey A. Landis (F&SF, March 2012). [2/27/2012]
  24. Beyond This Horizon–, Part 1 by Anson MacDonald (Astounding, April 1942). [2/27/2012]
  25. “If You’re So Smart–” by Colin Keith (Astounding, April 1942). [2/27/2012]
  26. Silence Is–Deadly by Bertrand L. Shurtleff (Astounding, April 1942). [2/27/2012]
  27. Strain by L. Ron Hubbard (Astounding, April 1942). [2/27/2012]
  28. Co-Operate–Or Else! by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding, April 1942). [2/28/2012]
  29. Superman #6: A Measure of a Superman by George Perez. (DC Comics). [2/28/2012]

I was very close to finishing David Ira Cleary’s “Life in the Eighties” in the Mar/Apr 2012 F&SF, but I still have a few pages to go. Since only items that I finish in a given month make the list, that story will appear on next month’s list. The numbers for March break down as follows:

Market Comic Short story Novelette Novella Serial  Total
Anthology 1 1
Asimov’s 1 1
Astounding 8 4 1 1 14
Clarkesworld 1 1
Collection 1 1
DC Comics 2 2
Daily SF 6 6
F&SF 3 3
Total 2 19 5 2 1 29

Only 3 of the stories I read in March were by women, making up for about 10% of the total, which is somewhat less than the overall average for my reading. I think this numbers varies widely from month-to-month.

The conclusion of February also marks 6 full months that I’ve been keeping track of my short fiction reading. In that six month period, I’ve read a grand total of 171 stories, 26 of which have been by women. It puts me slightly behind my pace, overall for averaging one short story a day, but I’m hoping to catch up.

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

Short fiction I read in January 2012

Here is the short fiction I read in January. For a second time, I made my goal of averaging 1 story/day, although the spread isn’t particularly even. As always, bold titles are recommended.

  1. Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Malcolm Jameson (as by Colin Keith) (Astounding December 1941). [1/2/2012]
  2. Bullard Refeclts by Malcolm Jameson (Astounding December 1941). [1/3/2012]
  3. Joe Steel by Harry Turtledove (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 21st Annual Edition). [1/4/2012]
  4. Action Comics #5: “Rocket Song”. [1/5/2012]
  5. Operation Successful by Robert Arthur (Astounding December 1941). [1/6/2012]
  6. Homo Saps by Webster Craig (Astounding December 1941). [1/7/2012]
  7. Defense Line by Vic Phillips (Astounding December 1941). [1/8/2012]
  8. Breakdown by Jack Williamson (Astounding January 1942). [1/10/2012]
  9. Soup King by Colin Keith (Astounding January 1942). [1/11/2012]
  10. Ernesto by Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog, 3/12). [1/12/2012]
  11. Beauty in the Night by Robert Silverberg (Year’s Best Science Fiction,15th Annual Edition). [1/15/2012]
  12. Marrow by Robert Reed (Year’s Best Science Fiction,15th Annual Edition). [1/16/2012]
  13. Dumb as Dirt by Garth Upshaw (Daily SF, 1/17/2012). [1/17/2012]
  14. Georgia On My Mind by Charles Sheffield (Georgia On My Mind and Other Places).  [1/17/2012]
  15. The People of Pele by Ken Liu (Asimov’s 2/12). [1/17/2012]
  16. How Many Miles to Babylon? by Megan Arkenberg (Lightspeed, 1/12). [1/17/2012]
  17. My Father’s Singularity by Brenda Cooper (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 28th Annual Edition). [1/17/2012]
  18. A Delicate Balance by Kevin J. Anderson (Analog, 4/12). [1/18/2012]
  19. Blood Music by Greg Bear (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 1st Annual Edition). [1/18/2012]
  20. Even the Queen by Connie Willis (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 10th Annual Edition). [1/18/2012]
  21. Mechanistria by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding 1/42). [1/18/2012]
  22. The Mountain to Mohammed by Nancy Kress (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 10th Annual Edition). [1/19/2012]
  23. A Long Night’s Vigil in the Temple by Robert Silverberg (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 10th Annual Edition). [1/19/2012]
  24. Graves by Joe Haldeman (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 10th Annual Edition). [1/19/2012]
  25. Birth Day by Robert Reed (Year’s Best Science Fiction, 10th Annual Edition). [1/19/2012]
  26. The Invaders by L. Ron Hubbard (Astounding, January 1942). [1/22/2012]
  27. Fugitive From Vangard by Norman L. Knight (Astounding, January 1942). [1/22/2012]
  28. Visiting Planet Earth by Eric Brown (Daily SF, 1/30/12). [1/30/2012]
  29. Five Elements of the Heart Mind by Ken Liu (Lightspeed, January 2012). [1/30/2012]
  30. The Long Con by Megan R. Engelhardt (Daily SF, 1/31/2012). [1/31/2012]
  31. There Shall Be Darkness by C. L. Moore (Astounding February 1942). [1/31/2012]
  32. The Sorcerer of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackett (Astounding February 1942). [1/31/2012]

As you can see, I’ve been working my way through stories I’ve missed in the 80s and 90s by going through Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best volumes and picking and choosing stories that I think I should have read (but until now, hadn’t). Of the old stuff, Jack Williamson’s “Breakdown” was the best, a real surprise and a terrific story. Moving into the 80s and 90s, it’s a tougher call but I’ll give the edge to Robert Silverberg’s “Beauty in the Night” over Robert Reed’s “Marrow.” For stuff published in 2012 dated issues, I give the nod to Ken Liu’s “Five Elements of the Heart Mind” in the January Lightspeed. Great story that pushes most of my science fiction buttons.

And as always, if you are looking for inexpensive entertainment, a subscription to one of the many terrific science fiction and fantasy magazines out there is cheaper than an evening out at the movies.

My “to-read” story list

Many people I know have lists (or stacks) of books that they intend to read. I used to have something similar. But since shifting my focus to short fiction, and trying to read a lot more short fiction, I’ve discovered that despite doing a pretty good job at keeping up with 1 story/day, there are still tons of stories out there that I want to read. As much as I have read within the genre, there are vast parts of the science fiction landscape which I have barely touched. So I’ve started keeping a list of stories that I’d eventually like to read and I pull out this list whenever I am stuck for what to read next.

Whenever possible, the items on the list are available in my collection, and moreover, in electronic form. That is not true for all of them, but for many of them. As of today, the list contains 62 stories. I suspect that the list won’t ever get much shorter than that, but in any case, I’ll report on the state of the list on my monthly short fiction reading posts beginning at the end of this month.

1 piece of short fiction a day is not hard. My Vacation in the Golden Age virtually guarantees a story a day. But I usually try and pick something outside that as well, and sometimes, I am reading two or three pieces in a day, depending on how long they are. I’ve already gone through most of the stories that interest me in the Jan/Feb and March issues of Analog, and the February issue of Asimov’s. There are a few more stories I want to read in the January F&SF, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed, but I’ll have those read by the end of the month. At present, I’m filling in the gaps with a selection of stories from Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best anthologies, going all the way back to the very first. It is my hope that I can make up some of what I’ve missed and fill in some gaps in that landscape.

Indeed, I find it both startling and amusing when I “discover” a phenomenal story that is decades or more old. This happened a few years back with my “discovery” of Nancy Kress’s “Beggars In Spain.” It happened again this weekend with my “discovery” of Robert Silverberg’s “Beauty In the Night.”

What story am I reading at the moment? Charles Sheffield’s “Georgia On My Mind.” And yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever read it.

Don’t judge.

Short fiction I read in December 2011

Here is the short fiction I read in December. Finally, for the first time, I beat my goal of reading 1 story/day. I read 38 this month, most of them while I was on vacation, but hey, I’ll take it. As always, bold titles are recommended.

  1. Found in the Wreckage by Marge Simon (Daily SF, 12/1/2011).  [12/1/2011]
  2. Action Comics #4. “Superman and the Men of Steel.”  [12/8/2011]
  3. Going Home by Bruce McAllister and Barry Malzberg (Asimov’s 2/12). [12/18/2011].
  4. You Can’t Win by Malcolm Jameson (Astounding, November 1941).  [12/18/2011]
  5. Murder Born by Robert Reed (Asimov’s 2/12). [12/19/2011]
  6. Finity by E. A. Grosser (Astounding 11/41). [12/19/11]
  7. Sirius by Ben Peek (Clarkesworld 12/11). [12/19/11]
  8. In Which Faster-Than-Light Travel Solves All of Our Problems by Chris Stabback. (Clarkesworld 12/11). [12/19/2011]
  9. The Sighted Watchmaker by Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed 12/11). [12/19/11]
  10. Direct Action by John Hawkins (Astounding, November 1941). [12/22/2011]
  11. The Door by Oliver Saari (Astounding, November 1941). [12/22/2011]
  12. The Hammer of God by Arthur C. Clarke (Lightspeed, December 2011). [12/22/2011]
  13. Stock Photos by Robert Reed (F&SF, May/June 2011). [12/22/2011]
  14. The Road Ahead by Robert Reed (F&SF, May/June 2011). [12/22/2011]
  15. Fine Green Dust by Don Webb (F&SF, May/June 2011). [12/22/2011]
  16. Twelves by Leah Cypess. (Asimov’s, July 2011). [12/22/2011]
  17. The Messenger by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, July 2011). [12/22/2011]
  18. Seat of Oblivion by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding, November 1941). [12/23/2011]
  19. The Ants of Flanders by Robert Reed (F&SF, July 2011). [12/23/2011]
  20. Semiramis by Genevieve Valentine (Clarkesworld, June 2011). [12/23/2011]
  21. Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curveballs by Gray Rinehart (Analog, Septmber 2011). [12/23/2011]
  22. Beyond All Weapons by Nat Schachner (Astounding, November 1941). [12/24/2011]
  23. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s, November 2011). [12/25/2011]
  24. Beyond the Aquila Rift by Alastair Reynolds (Year’s Best 23rd). [12/25/2011]
  25. Triceratops Summer by Michael Swanwick (Year’s Best 23rd). [12/25/2011]
  26. Strong Medicine by William Shunn (Year’s Best 21st). [12/25/2011]
  27. It’s All True by John Kessel (Year’s Best 21st). [12/26/2011]
  28. 10^16 to 1 by James Patrick Kelly (Year’s Best 17th). [12/26/2011]
  29. How We Lost the Moon, a True Story by Frank W. Allen by Paul McAuley. (Year’s Best 17th). [12/26/2011]
  30. People Came From Earth by Stephen Baxter (Year’s Best 17th). [12/26/2011]
  31. Scherzo with Tyrannosaur by Michael Swanwick (Year’s Best 17th). [12/27/2011]
  32. Lists by Annie Bellet (Daily SF, 12/28/2011). [12/28/2011]
  33. Ten Seconds by Scott W. Baker (Daily SF, 12/26/2011). [12/28/2011]
  34. Camouflage by Robert Reed (Year’s Best 23rd). [12/28/2011]
  35. Cold Cuts by Don Norum (Daily SF, 12/29/2011). [12/29/2011]
  36. Superman #4: “Mind for the Taking”. [12/29/2011]
  37. Hero of the Empire by Robert Silverberg (Year’s Best 17th). [12/31/2011]
  38. The Great Goodbye by Robert Charles Wilson. (Year’s Best 19th). [12/31/2011)
And a New Year’s reminder: reading more short fiction in 2012 is a great way to entertain yourself. And inexpensive, too. For less than a night out at the movies, you can have a year long subscription to a great SF/F magazine. As always, I list a bunch of my favorites below. Happy New Year!

Year in review – 2011: Short fiction reading

I have said that we are in a golden age for short science fiction and fantasy. There is so much good short fiction out there it is difficult to keep up with it all. I had no specific goals for short fiction reading at the beginning of 2011. Reading short science fiction is probably my favorite type of reading. And yet I never seem to be able to find the time to read enough of it to keep up with all of the good stuff out there.

This year was a little different. Because of my Vacation in the Golden Age, I ended up reading a lot of short fiction. In fact, to date, I’ve read 192 stories in the years spanning 1939-1941 in Astounding. This has proven valuable in more ways than I could have imagined:

  1. It has allowed me to fill in vast gaps in my reading from a period of time that I enjoy. I get the good and the bad, but it is all valuable.
  2. It has taught me how to read short stories with a more critical eye. In my Vacation posts, I try to remark in some detail on each story and that means thinking about the story as I read it, how it relates to other stories and the genre as a whole.
  3. It has helped me as writer in numerous ways: from teaching me what works well in a story, to what doesn’t work, as well as what tropes have been overused from the dawn of modern science fiction (and therefore, what to avoid, or approach in a new light.)

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