Featuring the first regular issue of F&SF under the new editorial hand of C C Finlay. I use the issue as a springboard to discuss the state of science fiction and look at the science-fictional state of some smaller zines as well, which leads me to the following conclusion: science fiction is the literature of the new, the different, the not previously conceived. But too much published under the label
While my previous column looked at some new and changing publications, here I find things rather much the same. A number of smaller and less frequent publications reviewed this time, of which I’m most pleased with Unlikely Story.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #164-165, January 2015
- Strange Horizons, January 2015
- Tor.com, January 2015
- Unlikely Story, November 2014
- Kaleidotrope, Winter 2015
- Shimmer, January 2015
- Farrago’s Wainscot, January 2015
In this column, I’m looking at new and changed publications, befitting the new year. Notably, we have Clarkesworld in its January issue beginning a program of publishing Chinese authors in translation. Indeed, this seems to be a growing trend, as the second issue of Uncanny is anchored by a fine piece by Hao Jingfang, to which I present this year’s first Good Story Award. I also have the debut issue
Looking mostly at the print publications this time, not seeing much difference from the previous year.
- Asimov’s, February 2015
- Analog, March 2015
- Interzone, January/February 2015
- Lightspeed, January 2015
The issue is anchored by an entertaining novella by Nick Wolven. There’s also an Elizabeth Bear reprint among the novelettes.“On the Night of the Robo-Bulls and Zombie Dancers” by Nick Wolven
A near-future after
Looking back over 2014 to pick my favorite stories, I don’t see it as a really good year for short SF. From many directions come charges that the field has fallen into a rut, and the evidence doesn’t strongly dispute it. Subterranean Press discontinued its high-quality magazine and no new periodicals have yet risen to replace it, although Uncanny shows promise. Overall, my assessment of this year’s stories would have
And that’s it for the year.
My year-end summary of 2014’s best fiction will be posted soon.
- Lackington’s, Fall 2014
- Strange Horizons, December 2014
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #162-163, December 2014
- Tor.com, December 2014
- Nobody’s Home, by Tim Powers
Subtitled: Institutions. The editor describes the collective tone of these four stories as morose and melancholic, fitting the oppressive nature of the institutions in which
Good issues from Clarkesworld and F&SF this time.
- Clarkesworld, December 2014
- F&SF, January/February 2015
- Lightspeed, December 2014
- Apex Magazine, December 2014
Clarkesworld, December 2014
CW goes out for the year on a pretty strong note. Four stories here, three quite short and one long, that I like best.“Now Dress Me in My Finest Suit and Lay Me in My Casket” by M Bennardo
With one foot in the old year and another in the new, I redeem the Good Story award from the pawnshop to bestow on “Where the Trains Turn” from Tor.com.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #160-161, November 2014
- Tor.com, November 2014
- Analog, January/February 2015
- Asimov’s, January 2015
There are no obvious thematic links between the stories in either of these issues. The
A miscellaneous column this time, with a number of smaller and less-regular publications, one being the debut issue of a new e-magazine, Uncanny.
- Uncanny #1, November/December 2014
- Interzone, November/December 2014
- Shimmer, November 2014
- Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, December 2014
- Lightspeed, November 2014
- Strange Horizons, November 2014
Lynne M Thomas was previously editor of Apex Magazine. Now she and Michael Damian Thomas
Regular readers of these columns will be aware that I keep looking for high quality Hard SF, a quest not often fulfilled. Lately, it seems that the ground may be more fertile for this subgenre in anthologies than periodicals. Here’s another, with an intriguing hint of hardness in the title, as well as some of the usual periodical short fiction.
- Carbide Tipped Pens, edited by Ben Bova
This time, the bonus fiction comes from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with a sixth anniversary double issue added onto a three-issue month. We also have more of the regular and less regular ezines. I give the high scores for October to BCS and Tor.com.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #157-159, October 2014
- The Dark, November 2014
- Strange Horizons, October 2014
- Tor.com, October 2014
- Kaleidotrope, Autumn 2014
- Bastion, October 2014
The genre’s editors seem to be adding a lot of bonus short fiction for October. More to read, beginning with the year-end issues of Asimov’s and Analog, both among the better of the year.
- Asimov’s, December 2014
- Analog, December 2014
- Lightspeed, October 2014
- Fantasy Magazine, October 2014
- On Spec, Summer 2014
This zine is wrapping up the publishing year on a strong note.
The crushing noise you don’t hear is the sound of the fiction avalanche that’s come down on my head over the last month. I’m trying to read myself out from under, but it looks like I just may not get to everything in a timely manner.
This column features the anthology Hieroglyph, from which I give the Good Story award to the Doctorow. Also several regular periodicals.
And this time the stories are fantasy, with an anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan, whose collections are better known for hard science fiction. Also the September offerings from Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Tor.com. Finally, for a change of pace, a science fiction novella by Genevieve Valentine.
- Fearsome Magics, edited by Jonathan Strahan
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #155-156, September 2014
- Tor.com, September 2014
- Dream Houses, by Genevieve Valentine
A whole lot of material showing up this time, and most of it science fiction, with both Dell digests appearing, one a double, and both with sequel novellas, which I generally consider a bad idea. Also the September stories from Strange Horizons and a long independent fantasy novella.
- Asimov’s, October/November 2014
- Analog, November 2014
- Strange Horizons, September 2014
- The Don’t Girls, Octavia Cade
I’m finding the best fiction in Interzone this time.
- Interzone #254, September/October 2014
- Coming Soon Enough, edited by Stephen Cass
- Clarkesworld, September 2014
- Apex Magazine, September 2014
- Lightspeed, September 2014
A Nina Allan special issue, introducing her new nonfiction column.“Mirielena” by Nina Allan
Noah is a refugee, a poet from somewhere in the Mideast, now applying for asylum in Britain. Despair
A lot of fantasy here, little actual science fiction.
- Lightspeed, 51 August 2014
- Strange Horizons, August 2014
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 153-154 August 2014
- Tor.com, August 2014
- Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, 30 September 2014
Only the Owomoyela piece is really science fiction.“Undermarket Data” by An Owomoyela
A dystopia future in which wealth inequality has led to division between Upcity and the districts, where
Just two works here this time: the September issue of F&SF and a cyborg anthology from the publishers of the ezine Clarkesworld, which adds up to just about as many stories as usual, or maybe more.
- F&SF, September/October 2014
- Upgraded, edited by Neil Clarke
Back to the regular lineup of suspects here, after the last, guest-edited issue that offered some rare fresh author
Featuring the final issue of Subterranean Online magazine, a great loss to readers looking for good fiction, particularly at the novella length. Subterranean Press will undoubtedly continue to publish single-volume novellas, which alas I see all too infrequently for review. I also read the regular first-of-the-month zines.
- Subterranean, Summer 2014
- Clarkesworld, 95 August 2014
- The Dark, August 2014
- Apex Magazine, August 2014
This time, scheduling issues led to a shorter column than usual. I guess it averages out.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #151-152, July 2014
- Tor.com, July 2014
- Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
The first issue has people afflicted by their pasts, the second by hostile forces. The one I like is the Marshall.
#151“Rappaccini’s Crow” by Cat Rambo
Referencing the Hawthorne classic,
Scheduling changes make this column an especially long one. It would have been considerably longer if I’d reviewed the all-too-numerous serializations, which is not my practice here. At least I managed to get caught up.
For the good stories, look at Interzone and the little zine Shimmer.
- Asimov’s, September 2014
- Analog, October 2014
- Interzone, July/August 2014
- Strange Horizons, July 2014
- Lightspeed, July 2014
- Shimmer, May 2014
This wasn’t the column I’d intended to write, but material for review doesn’t always come in according to my plans. So here are a couple of the regular periodical, a less-regular one, and a couple of new [at least to me] publications. My favorite is Unlikely Story.
Here is also a theme, inspired or perhaps incited by the recent issues of Clarkesworld analyzing in great detail the publication statistics of
Trying to catch up here after losing some time to an emergency. This column features a Hard SF anthology.
- Reach for Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 149,150 June 2014
- Strange Horizons, June 2014
- Tor.com, June 2014
Another in the editor’s fine “Infinity” series of Hard SF anthologies on the subject of human expansion into space. This
Here are a bunch of the usual monthly zines.
- Asimov’s, August 2014
- Analog, September 2014
- Clarkesworld, June 2014
- Apex Magazine, June 2014
The issue is anchored by a novella from Jay O’Connell; I can’t say any of these pieces enthuse me greatly.“Of All Possible Worlds” by Jay O’Connell
In 1997, Costas, an unemployed youngish man with multiple useless degrees [Nonviolent Studies] is
June looks to be a very interesting month in genre short fiction, with special, guest-edited issues of some of our more prominent zines, notably F&SF and Lightspeed, the latter expanded to several times its normal length.
- F&SF, July/August 2014
- Lightspeed, June 2014
An issue guest-edited by C C Finlay, via electronic submission, and featuring some less usual suspects for this zine. There is
Playing catch-up here, trying to cover as many publications as I can get in before the end of the month. The prize this time goes to Tor.com, offering a fine set of original stories.
- Interzone 252, May/June 2014
- Tor.com, May 2014
- Lightspeed, May 2014
- Strange Horizons, May 2014
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #146-148, May 2014
- Apex Magazine, May 2014
An issue featuring Neil
This column is mostly taken up with a massive and entertaining anthology full of long-established authors. I also look at a smallish new ezine with new authors.
- Rogues, edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois
- Bastion, May 2014
Be careful what you wish for. I’ve remarked a number of times in the course of doing these
- Analog, July/August 2014
- Asimov’s, July 2014
- Clarkesworld, May 2014
- The Dark, May 2014
A double issue opening with another installment of Flynn’s Journeyman serial. Readers who’ve been following this extended adventure may well find it the most entertaining story in the issue, although my own favorite is the Esaias. There’s still plenty of room for a near-dozen shorter works, which have inspired some
As I began writing this column, the nominations for the Hugo Awards were announced. I was pleased to see some of my recommendations in the short story category. But I also noted that several of the works nominated for the longer awards were stories I hadn’t seen. It’s a reminder that the genre world keeps expanding, and there are stories to be found outside and beyond the usual sources. I
Winter is over! This time featuring the Spring issue of Subterranean online magazine as well as F&SF.
- Subterranean, Spring 2014
- Kaleidotrope, Spring 2014
- F&SF, May/June 2014
Seven stories in this quarter’s issue, none that seem to be of novella length.“The Screams of Dragons” by Kelly Armstrong
As a child, Bobby’s life was cold and grey, except in his dreams of golden palaces.
Featuring the June issues of the Dell digests, both with some enjoyable stuff. The real prize, though, is the April Clarkesworld. A Good Story award to both the Swanwick and Wallace pieces.
- Asimov’s, June 2014
- Analog, June 2014
- Clarkesworld, April 2014
- Apex Magazine, April 2014
A better issue than usual. Particularly liking the Palmer and Tidhar stories.“Shatterdown” by Suzanne Palmer
Some regular ezines and a couple of quarterlies for the end of the month, not quite as many stories as I had expected from several of these sources, but a bonus amount from Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies #142-143, March 2014
- Lightspeed, March 2014
- Strange Horizons, March 2014
- Tor.com, March 2014
- On Spec #95 Winter 2013/2014
- Stupefying Stories, March 2014