Summary: Clarkesworld Magazine, 2012
Clarkesworld Magazine is a monthly online publication. The editors are Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace. Beginning this year, they have published three stories each month. So, 36 this year, three novelettes, for a total of some 172,000 words, as one might expect almost 50% more than last year, as they moved from 2 stories per month to 3. The site has for years been one of the best sources of new short SF (and some fantasy), and that continued in 2012.
I am reprinting four Clarkesworld stories in my Best of the Year anthology: "Scattered Along the River of Heaven" by Aliette de Bodard (January), one of the clear best stories of the year, about revolution, its aftermath, AIs, betrayal poetry, etc. on a space station; "A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight" by Xia Jia (February), about a young boy raised by "ghosts" who may be the last human alive (?), "Prayer", by Robert Reed (May), a dark story about a teenaged girl terrorist/revolutionary and an intelligent gun; and "Honey Bear" by Sofia Samatar (August), about a mother and her "changeling" child and a trip to the beach. The authors of these stories are respectively a Franco-Vietnamese woman living in France but writing in English; a Chinese woman (the story was translated by Ken Liu, whose efforts, along with Lavie Tidhar and others, to bring other language SF to the attention of English-language readers must be commended); an American man; and an American woman who has lived much of her life in Africa and is a student of African languages. This to me emphasizes an increased awareness in SF of non-Western cultures, which has been very notable and refreshing in recent years.
Other strong stories included Margaret Ronald's "Sunlight Society" (March), a first rate superhero story about a superhero who realizes the dark underside of a society of them; Carrie Vaughn's "Astrophilia" (July), set in the scarcity-bounded but somewhat utopian future of her earlier story "Amaryllis", and concerning a woman fascinated by astronomy, to her family's disapproval; Theodora Goss's "England Under the White Witch" (October), a very dark story about, well, what the title says -- England dominated by a Narnia-like witch, and the way a young woman is forced to betrayal of her people by the witch's charisma; and also from October, "The Battle of Candle Arc", by Yoon Ha Lee, about a General in a somewhat tyrannical star society, and how his victory in the title battle pushes him to change loyalties. Other fine work includes stories by de Bodard again, Genevieve Valentine, Kij Johnson, Catherynne M. Valente, Sandra McDonald, Erik Amundsen, and David Klecha/Tobias Buckell.
Statistics: Clarkesworld publishes predominantly SF: I classified only 4 of the 36 stories as Fantasy (with a couple more kind of borderline): about 11%. By my count, over 71% of the stories were by women.