- The first is "We See A Different Frontier" edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad. This anthology examining post-colonialism is a big bold step in speculative fiction, and has been garnering fantastic word of mouth. See the links to reviews at the above link - many of the reviews echo my feelings about the whole book and articulate it far better.
It's rare for me to find an anthology that I love from start to finish, and pushes the boundaries of my genre so efficiently and beautifully. Every story is an absolute winner. My absolute favourites are "Vector" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and "Them Ships" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Sriduangkaew's piece is lush and rich, and it's very rare for me to turn around and immediately re-read a story upon completion - "Vector" deserves it, because it's a provoking, layered story about a Thailand caught in a spy game between China and the US. "Them Ships" on the other hand is heart-wrenching in its simplicity, and the terrible bargain often made in the interests of survival. Moreno-Garcia tells a story of colonization welcomed by the poor because it evens out class warfare, and tells it well in quick, harsh strokes.
If you want to stretch yourself, if you want to discover the diversity and future of science fiction, this anthology is essential. Don't be fooled by it's cartoonish cover - it deserves far wider acclaim than it currently has. Spread the word.
- Next, I've been dipping in and out of Catherynne M. Valente's "The Melancholy of Mechagirl". As an avowed Valente fan, I'll read just about anything of hers put in front of me, no matter how difficult or challenging.
Some of the stories are semi-autobiographical, making uncomfortable, but beautiful precious reading, wearing the line between art and artist thin. The collection also contains the novella "Silently and Very Fast" which I very much enjoyed on first read when it was released last year, and "Fade to White", which I originally read on Clarkesworld, so it's good to have both of those great stories in holdable, physical form.
As always with Valente, I often have to go with the flow and prose of her writing, even if it doesn't immediately make sense to me. But what differentiates Valente from any other author I enjoy, the plot often takes a back seat to the emotion and "artistic aftertaste" she leaves me with. She pricks my brain, and draws blood often.
- Strange Horizons has had a storming few weeks of releases, absolutely confirming once again they're worth my donation. Check out Steve Berman's gay ghost story "Three on a Match". And once again confirming I'll read anything Sunny Moraine releases, there's the genderqueer coming of age story "Event Horizon", with just enough creepiness in time for Halloween.
- I recently read Lisa Tuttle's "Lost Futures", and it's become one of those books that crept up on me. There's a lot of subtlety to Tuttle's style that I enjoy, so it's nice to come across more of her work. I read "Ragged Claws" at Lightspeed, a reprint from 2009. Tuttle is an author who doesn't give everything up front, something I really enjoy in a short story, so it's intriguing to pick apart how she manages to hook a reader without giving the ghost pig away.