The Year in Review 2022 by Arley Sorg

Arley Sorg

Since becoming co-editor-in-chief at Fantasy Magazine in 2020 (a gig I do in my spare time: Locus is my 40+ hour-a-week day job) I have little time to read just for pleasure. But I’m a reg­ular reviewer at Light­speed, and I run a short fiction discussion group. A benefit of these activities is that I read new and recent work beyond the Fan­tasy slush pile. This year’s reviews focused on anthologies – no surprise, because I love short fiction!

It’s really difficult to place one book above another. I always feel like I’m leaving out a bunch of titles that deserve to be seen. Also, when we vote for ‘‘Best Novel’’ or ‘‘Best An­thology,’’ we are really saying, ‘‘This is the best anthology I’ve not only read, but that I actually remember, among the (probably hundreds) of anthologies that came out, most of which I have not read….’’ That said, if I had to recommend three anthologies from 2022, I might sug­gest Trouble the Waters by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins (Third Man Books); Un­limited Futures by Rafeif Ismail & Ellen van Neerven (Fremantle); and Dreams for a Broken World by Ellen Meeropol & Julie C. Day (Reckoning).

Thomas is truly a genre superhero. She has been a groundbreaking editor and writer for a long time. 2022 also saw pub­lication of anthology Africa Risen (edited by Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki & Zelda Knight, published by Tordotcom) which is just as excellent. In both cases, the stories tend to be layered and bold. One thing I really liked about Trouble the Waters, besides the overall vibe, is the fact that many of the authors are not the usual genre folks. This makes for really interesting reading. Don’t get me wrong: I love my genre folks. But it was so cool to read well-crafted stories by people whose names I don’t see all the time, who write and do art­sy things outside the genre commu­nity. Trouble the Waters has a 2019 copy­right date but was actually published early in 2022. Definitely read Jasmine Wade’s ‘‘All of Us Are She’’ and ‘‘Call the Water’’ by adri­enne maree brown.

Unlimited Futures is ‘‘an anthology of speculative, visionary fiction from First Na­tions writers and Black writers, reflecting visionary pasts, hopeful futures and the invisible ties between First Nations people and People of Colour.’’ When I start­ed writing my review for this book, I did some research. I was stunned and dismayed to discover how few anthologies of speculative fiction by First Nations people have been published. While a handful of Na­tive, First Nations, and Indigenous authors are gaining more notability – Rebecca Roanhorse and Darcie Little Badger immediately come to mind; Louise Erdrich has been in the game a long time (great example of an author of color who has seen huge recognition beyond genre but who gets somewhat ignored in genre circles) – these groups remain mostly overlooked populations, which means this anthology is an important book. It also happens to be stuffed with powerful voices telling effective stories. ‘‘The River’’ by Tuesday Atzinger is absolutely wonderful, and poem ‘‘I have no country’’ by Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is brilliant and beautiful.

Dreams for a Broken World has a lot of strong, thought-pro­voking pieces, the kind which stay with you long after you put them down. The anthology is second in a new series of an­thologies, and based on this entry, I’ll be curious to see what else series editor Day has in store. Aimee Liu’s ‘‘Faith’’ is har­rowing and extraordinary (not speculative, but a must-read), Sabrina Vourvoulias’s ‘‘La Gorda and the City of Silver’’ is glori­ous fun with lots of fantastic layers, and Zig Zag Claybourne’s ‘‘Finding Ways’’ is gentle, lovely, and unique.

I read many other 2022 titles that deserve to be seen by more people, such as Meteo­topia, edited by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Ana Rüsche, and Francesco Verso (Future Fiction). Some of them aren’t just good, they are important to genre culture, such as The Way Spring Arrives edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (Tordotcom publish­ing). Know what? Having too many great reads to recommend is a problem I’m happy to have.

ARLEY SORG, Senior Editor, has been part of the Locus crew since 2014. Arley is a 2021 World Fantasy Award finalist for his work as co-Editor-in-Chief at Fantasy Magazine. He is also Associate Editor and reviewer at Lightspeed & Nightmare magazines, columnist for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and interviewer at Clarkesworld Magazine. He grew up in England, Hawaii, and Colorado, and lives in Oakland, CA. A 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate, he can be found at – where he has started his own “casual interview” series with authors and editors – and on Twitter (@arleysorg).

This review and more like it in the February 2023 issue of Locus.

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