forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
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I read tons of short fiction in 2015, even more than in previous years. This has been a pretty great year for short fiction with great stories form authors I already loved and new to me authors. It has also been good to see many more people talking about short fiction on the internet this year. I hope to see even more of that in 2016.

This year I’ve tried to post few recommendations for stories every month, but now that the year is done I’m posting a list of my very favorites. For your convenience I’ve listed the stories by Hugo category, form shortest to longest.

Short Stories:

“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer
What if the internet was sentient and wanted to help people? This very cute story describes one way it could go.

“The Shape of my Name” by Nino Cipri
Time travel, family and figuring out ones identity all play a role in this beautiful story that I’ve been thinking about all year.

“Monkey King, Faerie Queen” by Zen Cho
The story of what happens when the Money King meets the Faerie Queen. Told in Cho’s wonderful voice with a lot of faithfulness to both sets of mythology.

“It Brought Us All Together” by Marissa K. Lingen
A story about dealing with grief and high school in a plague ridden world. Lingen continues to nail the complexes of relationships. Surprisingly not depressing given its subject matter.

“Pockets” by Amal El-Mohtar
This story is great because of the female friendships and also because when weird shit happens the characters try to understand what is going on using science.

“Even the Mountains Are Not Forever” by Laurie Tom
A wonderful story about history and different ways of preserving it, really struck a chord with my inner historian.

“Let's Have a Talk” by Xia Jia
This Xia Jia’s first story written in English and love that it deals with linguistics. It is also extremely cute.

“Forestspirit, Forestspirit” by Bogi Takács
I loved this story for its atmospheric description of a forest, interesting future tech, and awesome post-human neutrally gendered view point character.

“Points of Origin” by Marissa K. Lingen
So this year I became a parent, and I really wanted to read fiction about parenting but there is not much out there. This story is about people in their 80’s who unexpectedly must take care of children. There are a lot of details about the daily stuff. So even though the story is about people who are really different than me it was just what I wanted to be reading.

“The Crane Wife” by A. C. Wise
Beautifully written examination of the mythical animal bride story

“When we die on Mars” by Cassandra Khaw
A lovely story about sacrifice and found family.

Novettes:

“The Animal Women” by Alix E. Harrow
(content note: race in American, violence, attempted sexual assault.) I got really sucked into this story set in the US south about how women’s voices are repressed. It is pretty dark in places but had and ending I found hopeful.

“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Wind” by Rose Lemberg
This story is set in Lemberg’s Birdverse which I’ve so far only read a few stories, but have really enjoyed those and plan to seek out more. Really enjoyed the complex culture and the family dynamics.

“Ballroom Blitz” by Veronica Schanoes A gender swapped punk retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, but what I really loved about this was how it portrayed characters’ mental health problems.

Geometries of Belonging By Rose Lemberg
Another Birdverse story, but set in a different country than “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Wind.” This one takes place on the edge of politics but also focuses on found family and healing. There is a character struggling with their gender identity.

“Sacred Cows: Death and Squalor on the Rio Grande” by A.S. Diev
The opening image of this grabbed me and then I was sucked in by the “New Gonzo journalism” voice.

“Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma
(content note: domestic violence, rape, incest) I put off reading this story, even though multiple people recommended it to me because I thought it would be dark, and I was right, but this story was worth it.

Novellas:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
This hit a lot of my worldbuidling favorites like strange bio-tech and descriptions of food. It was also just a really fun story that went in directions I didn't expect. I quite liked that the resolution focused on diplomacy not use of force. (But be warned that there is some horrific violence which the author is very effective at getting across how it makes our main character feel.)

Quarter Days by Iona Sharma A fun story set in post WWI magical London. While this London is similar to our own, the magic also makes some things really different. I liked how there were multiple magic systems in the same setting. I also liked the characters and how they interacted with each other.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard. (Asimov's Science Fiction Oct/Nov*) Set in De Bodard’s Xuya universe this story features a variety of complex characters trying to understand the disappearance of the Citadel of Weeping Pearls 30 years ago. I love de Bodard’s worldbuilding, especially the food details. I also enjoyed see the characters through eachother’s eyes. (This is very loosely a sequel to On a Red Station, Drifting but could be read on its own and doesn’t really spoil anything.)

*Back issues of Asimov's are unreasonably hard to get a hold of even if you are willing to pay money. However check and see if your library has this issue, or if you are eligible to nominate for awards you can contact the author for a copy.
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forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
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