Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Favourite Short SFF Fiction of 2013

My reading of short fiction within my genre this year has been in no way reliable or scientifically chosen. I mostly read from accessible (ie: online) sources, or anthologies of themes I liked. There are magazines I didn't read simply because I didn't have a subscription this year - like Asimov's and Analog - and I only stuck to my Story-A-Day resolution for about six months. So a lot of my choices are going to be weighted in the early part of this year. There are also anthologies and certain months of magazines I haven't had the chance to read yet. But here goes, a few of my favourite picks for the year.

"Boat in Shadows, Crossing" by Tori Truslow, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 24, 2013
This is a story that still has a lot of people talking. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it comes up on a lot of people's Best Of lists this year. The imagery and gender play is so evocative, it sits well with me even 11 months later. "Rich, thick language" and "Lush, delicious, delovely" are how I described it back in January.

"Punk Voyager" by Shaenon Garrity, EscapePod, 24 January, 2013
This one deserves its place on my list because of sheer, unadulterated, cock-punching fun. It made me laugh out loud so hard I cried.

"If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" by Rachel Swirsky, Apex Magazine, March 5, 2013
Delivered in Swirsky's signature gut-wrenching style, this short, sharp story is a real heart breaker.

"The Last Survivor of the Great Sexbot Revolution" by AC Wise, Clarkesworld, March 2013
I wrote at the time reviewing this story that it was a candidate for my best-of list. I really love finding stories that flip the sexbot trope. And it's told well in 2nd person - a very hard style to pull off.

Also, a shout out to Wise's "Bunny" stories (Ideomancer, June; Shimmer #17) for being glitter-tastic.

"I Have Laid My Sickness Upon You" by Karin Tidbeck, Strange Horizons, March 4, 2013
The story that made me rush out and buy Tidbeck's Tiptree nominated anthology "Jagannath". Subtle grace. Don't approach SadGoat without tissues.

"Vector" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew in "We See A Different Frontier" edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad.
It's very hard to choose a favourite from Bee's work this year, and not just because we've become friends. Everything she's released this year is superb, from "The Crows Her Dragon's Gate" with which I shared BCS #118, to "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade" in December's Clarkesworld. I tip slightly towards "Vector" over "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade" because there are not many stories I turn around and read again straight away, or leave such a mark on my memory. Bee has such a dream-like style. I'm so excited to see where she goes in the next few years.

"Them Ships" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia in "We See A Different Frontier" edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad.
This story was the sharpest genre critique on class divide that I've read all year. Swift and pointed, it was exciting in its simplicity. A real shout of a story.

I chose two stories from "We See a Different Frontier" because far and away this was the best mixed author themed anthology I read this year. Every story is strong and incredible, so it was difficult to pick just one story as tops. It deserves all the talk its been getting and more. I'd love to see it get nominated for awards and get wider recognition.

"I Tell Thee All, I Can No More" by Sunny Moraine, Clarkesworld, July 2013
Another acquaintance I'm finding hard to pick their best of from this year because everything I've read is fantastic. Moraine's "The Horse Latitudes" from Ideomancer in February really made me prick up my ears (eyes?), but the drone-sexual story from Clarkesworld is a real gut-punch. Fabulously weird, and very prescient of the intrusive nature of drones in our near-future lives.



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