March 1st, 2010

Summary: Stories from Miscellaneous sources, 2009

Summary: Stories from Miscellaneous sources, 2009

What's the difference between this and the previous "Miscellaneous Sources" category? The previous category was for SF-oriented magazines and webzines that I couldn't cover at length. This is for stories from non-SF sources (like the New Yorker), or from places I only sampled briefly, or from less usual sources.

[And, yes, when I get here I'm almost done! What I have left -- Chapbook novellas (I'm waiting to get my copy of Scalzi's Nebula nominee The God Engine and read it), Stories from Collections (I'm waiting on reading a couple further stories in a couple collections I just came across), and one more set of anthologies (Hadley-Rille). If I've forgotten anything, by all means remind me! Maybe I didn't read it and would like to (or at least know about it for 2010), maybe I read it and forgot! (Or maybe I won't read it, but even so!)]

In this category in total I saw 21 stories, just under 70,000 words, 2 novelettes and the rest shorts (4 short-shorts). 7 of the stories were by women (32%), 15 were SF (68%).

Source by source:

The New Yorker published a rather high total of fantastical stories (for them), 6, half and half SF/Fantasy. One was truly outstanding, one of the best novelettes of the year: Chris Adrian's "A Tiny Feast", just a lovely story, beautifully written (in this one area, prose, "litfic" still generally (though by no means always) is superior to SF), about a boy adopted by Titania and Oberon who is dying of cancer. The remaining stories were all at least worth reading, including Helen Simpson's post-apocalyptic piece "Diary of an Interesting Year", Gail Hareven's "The Slows", Stephen Millhauser's "The Invasion from Outer Space", Italo Calvino's "The Daughters of the Moon", and Stephen O'Connor's "Ziggurat".

Harper's published two fantastical stories, both by Italo Calvino, "As Long as the Sun Lasts" and "The Meteorites". Both, with the New Yorker's Calvino piece, were selections from his Cosmicomics that had not previously appeared in English, but dated of course to decades ago in Italian. (Martin McLaughlin was the translator.) I don't think any of these are among his best in this vein -- the best, not too surprisingly, I would think, appeared earlier in English in t Zero or Cosmicomics. But these were OK -- my favorite probably being the New Yorker one, "The Daughters of the Moon".

I don't get every issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine or Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, but I do sample a couple of each each year. And at AHMM this year I saw one SF story, "Nowhere to Go", by Iain Rowan, in the December issue, a decent little piece about a lonely man who obsessively watches webcams and who witnesses a brutal beating, of which the police can find no evidence. The twist is SFnal, and guessable, but nicely presented.

The Chicago in 2012 Worldcon bid is presenting a series of short stories (mostly about 2000 words, but one ran to 3000 and another was only about 500), on pulpish themes, with Chicago settings, and recurring characters like Professor Elaine Ecdysiast and Doctor D. Vice. They are what you might expect, of course -- good fun, not a serious line in any of them. Most are probably SF but elements of outright fantasy crop up such as the Cubs winning the World Series.  Anyway, 7 stories, 13000 words. The writers are Matthew Woodring Stover, Lois Tilton, Phyllis Eisenstein, Gene Wolfe, Richard Garfinkle, William Shunn, and Roland J. Green. Some of the stories are in print, some online. (The series started in 2008 and will continue in 2010.) I'm pretty sure Steven Silver is behind the whole project. Now that he's officially a Filthy Pro maybe he will contribute a story!

Other more random things -- a magazine called Overland published a good story by the fine Australian writer Miranda Siemenowicz, "Penthouse", in its issue 195. An online 'zine called Crossed Genres, that looked interesting but that I didn't have time to examine in detail, published a nice SF-Mystery story by J. D. Munro called "The Strangler Fig". Margaret Atwood placed a fairly mediocre short-short at the Guardian, "Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet". Discover had a short-short from Paul McAuley, decent work, "Shadow Life". Diet Soap had a nice short-short online from Ahmed Kahn, "How to Write a Fantasy Short-Short". Brain Harvest features a decent short-short from the very interesting newer writer Tina Connolly, "Hard Choices". And at the Pyr website they featured a very fine Morlock novelette from James Enge, "Fire and Sleet", definitely not something to miss if you've enjoyed his stories in Black Gate or his first two novels, both out in 2009 from (surprise!) Pyr.