So far, I have actually been using my tablet to read a lot more online short fiction – it’s much more comfortable than trying to read on my computer screen. And it means I’m no longer missing out on some excellent stories! (Sadly, very little of what I think is really great gets reprinted in Year’s Best anthologies, which are another source of short fiction I’ve been pursuing lately.) So, to borrow an idea from Tempest, who is doing the same thing, I plan to recommend my favourites from the stories I’ve read each month.
In June, then:
“Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring” by Brooke Bolander – Lightspeed Magazine (2012)
Foxes! Revenge! In a desert! It’s a Blackbeard/Mr Fox retelling where a young woman who would’ve been the latest bride seeks revenge for the other dead women, helped by foxes that claw their way out of her throat. Love the acknowledgement that no one in the town cared about the disappearing women until she, an important man’s daughter, almost got killed. Love the language.
“Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard – Clarkesworld Magazine (2012)
A powerful examination of cultural imperialism and how kicking the colonists out doesn’t end the evils of colonisation. Instead, insidious, damaging ideas of belonging and beauty and “default” are imposed upon the colonised people, and throwing them off is difficult. I especially love that it becomes a story about women helping one another.
“Tiger Stripes” by Nghi Vo – Strange Horizons (2012)
A quiet tale of a woman’s relationship with a tiger in rural Vietnam.
“Eyes of Carven Emerald” by Shweta Narayan – Clockwork Phoenix 3 (2010)
A retelling of Alexander the Great’s history. At pivotal moments across the years of his campaign, he meets a clockwork bird who tells him a story about an invading human king in a land of clockwork people: a story with a purpose, although whether Alexander – who relishes the glory of seeing (ie conquering) new lands – truly understands it is up for question. Love the ending.
“Song of the Body Cartographer” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz – Philippine Genre Stories (2012)
A story of body sabotage and repair in an intriguing matriarchy. Inyanna is a Timor’an, designed to fly with a windbeast, but she cannot. Siren, a body cartographer and her lover, is trying to find out why. At its heart, the story is about body ownership: the fear of sabotage, the ecstasy of using one’s own body as it is designed to be used, unconstrained, and the hard work it takes to achieve that state against subjugating efforts.
“Hi Bugan ya Hi Kinggawan” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz – Fantasy Magazine (2010)
Another beautiful story by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, this one about a young woman growing up in the Philippines and learning what kind of love she wants.
I also enjoyed “Talbot’s Anatomy” by Becca De La Rosa in Jabberwocky Magazine (2012), “Knots, Cracks, Trees, Hills” by Patricia Russo in Jabberwocky Magazine (2012), “Trickster’s Song” by Christopher Reynaga in Expanded Horizons (2012), “Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander in Strange Horizons (2012), “Tilia Songbird” by Francesca Forrest in GigaNotoSaurus (2012), “A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” by Xia Jia in Clarkesworld Magazine (2012) and “Frozen Voice” by An Owomoyela in Clarkesworld Magazine (2011).
Turns out there’s a lot of good stories online. =D
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Out in late 2014
"...the 33 stories that MacFarlane has gathered for this volume dazzle with the virtuosity of their contributors’ talents."
- Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
"Works from around the world, some in translation, provide an invaluable snapshot of this moment in the genre as well as some tremendously enjoyable reading."
- Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2014
Aliens: Recent Encounters
"...this [anthology] blew us away more than any other. Mostly because of the sheer volume of greatness contained in these 32 stories... These are classic stories of alien encounters, from some of the best science fiction writers working today."
- io9.com Best Books of 2013