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The Elephant Forgets - Summary: Asimov's, 2012
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Summary: Asimov's, 2012
Summary: Asimov's, 2012

I'm getting a late start on these this year, after not finishing last year's. So they'll be somewhat abbreviated -- apologies! But I figure something is better than nothing.

Asimov's published 73 stories in 2012. 9 were novellas, 21 novelettes, 43 short stories. About 688,000 words of fiction, more or less the same as last year. (The magazine's count might be slightly different, as I have Felicity Shoulders' "Long Night on Red Rock" listed as a novella. It might be a long novelette instead, but it is certainly not a short story, as the TOC had it. (At least in my advance electronic copy.))

Novellas

The clear best novella of the year in Asimov's, and a contender for best novella period, was Elizabeth Bear's "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" (January), a murder mystery set in a future India, and also involving climate change, radical genetic engineering, and signals from the stars. Also I liked Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie" (October/November), about a scientist on a distant world discovering evidence that humans did not originate there; and Robert Reed's "Murder Born" (February), which looks at the implications of a strange execution method that resurrects a murderer's victims. Other good novellas came from Steven Popkes, Felicity Shoulders, James Patrick Kelly, and Alan Smale.

So -- my Asimov's Award votes: 1) "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns", 2) "The Stars Do Not Lie", 3) "Murder Born".

Novelettes

The top novelettes included Gord Sellar's challenging look at radical posthumans, "The Bernoulli War" (August), Dale Bailey's time travel story with sex and dinosaurs: "Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous" (September), and Tom Purdom's latest Imeten story, "Golva's Ascent" (March). Those three in that order will get my Asimov's award ballots. Other fine novelettes came from Paul McAuley, Mercurio D. Rivera, Indrapramit Das, Jason Sanford, and Robert Reed.

Short Stories

My favorite short stories in order of appearance were: "The Burst", by C. W. Johnson (January), "The People of Pele" by Ken Liu (February), "Patagonia", by Joel Richards (March), "Bird Walks" by Michael Blumlein (July), "Beautiful Boys" by Theodora Goss (August), "Antarctica Starts Here" by Paul McAuley (October-November), "This Hologram World" by Eugene Mirabelli (October-November), and "The Black Feminist's Guide to Science Fiction Film Editing" by Sandra McDonald (December).

My ballot will read: 1) "The Black Feminist's Guide to Science Fiction Film Editing" (about the potential discovery of a lost film version of Leigh Brackett's THE GINGER STAR), 2) "Antarctica Starts Here" (about eco-terrorism in a warming Antarctica), 3) "Beautiful Boys" (about some strange "bad boys" who love and leave women -- what are they, really?)

Statistics

Of the 73 pieces of new short fiction, 17.5 were by women, about 24%. This is significantly lower than in most recent years. I counted 5 stories I'd call fantasy, about 7% -- somewhat less than last year but not too inconsistent with the magazine's recent history.

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