Monday, November 14, 2005

Stories of Our Life

i feel like a dope when i claim to like--and even write--speculative fiction, and then i am asked, "which authors do you like?" and i stumble a bit.

the problem is that i read more short fiction than long, generally in magazines, though sometimes in anthologies, very seldom single author collections, and unless i have met the person or have read several stories by them--which can take a while using this random method--then both the authors' and the stories' names tend to dribble out my brain, despite my trying to keep them in. it's frustrating because when i come across a story that i just love, and i want to remember so that i can catch that author again, and so i can let people know about them.

so i am going to jot down a couple of the stories from that last couple of years of reading that i have liked and which i still have on my shelf (problem two--i pass on my magazines when i am done with them, thus giving each writer several more readers to a piece--which means i can't thumb through and remind myself of their names), as well as a couple that have lodged themselves in my head long term.

one of the best stories i have ever read is by the very amazingly NOT prolific
ted chiang(yay ted!)--"The Story of Your Life"--which i first read in a hartwell "best" anthology, nestled in a chilly cabin in rural b.c. a year or two back. ted has gathered together several other of his peculiar and fascinating stories in his collection The Stories of Your Life and Others. a couple of those stand out, too, in particular the one about building the tower of babylon.

a story i got a kick out of in one of those "best" anthologies in that (by then hopefully warmed up) room was "Craphound", by
cory doctorow. this one still brings a smile.

barth anderson's Magnifico the Crimson won my heart in "Lark Till Dawn, Princess", from Mojo: Conjure Stories, ed. nalo hopkinson.

F & SF in 2004, i most enjoyed daryl gregory's "The Continuing Adventures of Rocket Boy", george guthridge's "Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Succession, robert reed's "The Condor's Green-Eyed Child", and most especially alex irvine's "A Peacable Man". (i know because i kept the 2004 index when i passed on the magazines. good plan, that.) although i have to say that my interest in F & SF is flagging, as the bulk of its stories don't hugely grab me and i miss there being more women's voices in the mix.

Tesseracts 9, which i read with great interest, for obvious reasons, had a number of stories i liked. the two that really stand out are dan rubin's "The Singing" and
alette willis' "Thought & Memory".

two examples of stories in
Neo-Opsis that i have enjoyed: "Thirty-Three", by tom brennan & "The Rain Queen", by barbara davies.

a story in Asimov's september issue that i really liked was another by daryl gregory--"Second Person, Present Tense." so i am glad i wrote this list. it lets me know that of the stories i have read in the last year or so, two favourites are by the same guy. A Name To Watch For.

finally, the story i just finished reading that inspired me to write this posting today is from an old issue of On Spec (spring 1997), and is "Chad", by kate riedel. just lovely.

so now i know what to say when asked who i like. "well, in addition to certain novelists i enjoy, eileen kernaghan, mike coney, nalo hopkinson, to name a few, there is some great short work by writers like daryl gregory and ted chiang, kate riedel and robert reed, dan rubin and alette willis... why, i could just go on and on..."



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