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2007 SF & Fantasy Recommended Reading List

(Print Medium Only)

By Dave Truesdale

Copyright 2008 by New Epoch Press. All rights reserved.

A word or two about the following list. It contains 214 stories from various 2007 print publications only: magazines, single author collections containing one or more original stories, and original anthologies. They come from some 35 publications originally published in 2007. This is by no means a complete list of the print publications featuring original fiction from 2007, but it does represent all of the major magazines, as well as quite a number of the smaller venues. Many of them were purchased, with an equal number received as review copies, for which I gratefully thank the publishers. Alas, there were a few magazine publishers who decided not to send review copies and I could not find their publications in local bookstores, so you won’t find them on this list.

The List is divided into three ever-shorter lists. First is the general Recommended Reading List, where all 214 stories are listed by category: short story, novelette, and novella. Each category begins with stories from the beginning of the year and ends with stories from the end of the year. The Recommended List comprises (along with the very best of the year) those stories that in some way or other worked for me on at least one level, and while perhaps not award material nonetheless deserved a nod, and warranted giving a new author some exposure.

Following the Recommended Reading List is the smaller Best of the Year List, arranged in the same manner as the initial list. The third and final list contains my Personal Favorites in each category, those followed by an asterisk (*) indicating those I would vote for if I were a Hugo voter this year (which I regrettably am not), and if print publications only were to be considered.

Like you, when I scan such lists I inevitably utter under my breath (or out loud sometimes, depending) either a comment or a question. The comment is short: “Yes! I’m not the only one who liked that story!” The question takes several forms, sometimes with a curt expletive inserted, but runs something like this: “How could he not put this terrific story on the list! What is this guy thinking? It’s one of the best of the year!”

Inasmuch as reviewers and critics must rely on their experience as well as individual taste, and attempt to balance them as best they can, here are some of the elements that form why a particular story made the list, or failed to do so.

I don’t care for literary pretension, where the author’s writing skills may be beyond reproach, his way with words making one weep with the beauty of it all, but the story otherwise lacks substance, or says very little of import, or is naught but an excuse for a pretty scene with no surrounding story. Not that every story must have a beginning, a middle, and a clear end in a stylistic sense (though this formula has worked well since time immemorial and I champion it), but that regardless of how the story is presented, it must attempt, at its core, to be about something larger than the tedium of everyday life, which kind of story can be found outside the SF/F genres.

I am tired beyond belief with stories of spousal or child abuse, or any other sort of domestic violence, or dysfunctional families as either the springboard or the focus of the story. I’ve read far too many of them over the years and their impact for me has worn quite thin. There were several stories omitted from the list because of this overworked theme. I also don’t care for stories where either people, or the planet Earth, are forcefully disarmed out of the author’s naïve belief that this will solve the problem of violence and/or End All Wars in one fell stroke, and just like that, we’ll all love each other and reach our true destiny while romping through the forest naked with flowers in our hair. It doesn’t work like that. Never will. Several stories were omitted from the list that tried to work this pharmaceutically-inspired, always ill-thought-out theme, eliciting only a groan and a tired shake of my head.

I prefer optimistic to pessimistic, though there is plenty of room for both when written intelligently. I find (from perusing my Personal Favorites) that I seem to be more of a softy than I would have imagined. Four of the six starred stories in the short story category moved me emotionally and had to do either with death (of a planet or an individual) or love in one form or another (the Baxter, Palwick, Ford, and Gilbow). Same with Alastair Reynolds’ starred novella “Minla’s Flowers.” Maybe I’m just growing old enough to appreciate love lost, and death’s a comin’ stories, I don’t know. But there you have it.

I enjoy being stimulated philosophically and intellectually (see Michael Flynn’s wonderful starred novelette “Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo,” which offers deeper insights and rewards than might seem the case from merely the front story). I also enjoy a well-told, imaginative sword & sorcery tale on the other end of the spectrum (as in James Enge’s “The Lawless Hours”). I also love unfettered, wild imagination employed at full throttle, as in Greg Egan’s pair of starred SF novelettes (“Glory” and “Dark Integers”), or Andy Duncan’s (to my eye) bizarre take on Through the Looking Glass starred fantasy novelette “A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question.”

I also prefer the hard, realistic type of SF, that thoughtfully extrapolates from a timely, serious social or political problem and inserts the SF X-factor to telling, devastating effect. Such a story is Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s double-starred novelette “Craters,” probably the most overlooked award-caliber story of the year.

So you’ll find stories all over the map below, with, I can only hope, experience and personal taste at least in some reasonable facsimile of harmony.


Recommended Reading List

(Print Only)

SF=Science Fiction F=Fantasy DF=Dark Fantasy H=Horror

Short Stories

  • “Café Culture” by Jack Dann (Asimov’s, Jan.) SF
  • “Radical Acceptance” by David W. Goldman (Analog, Jan/Feb) SF
  • “Poison” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, Jan.) F
  • “His Master’s Voice” by Mark Rigney (Talebones #34, Winter 2006, published in 2007) H
  • “And Her Hand, the Stars” by E. Catherine Tobler (Talebones #34, Winter 2006, published in 2007) SF
  • “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “Personal Jesus” by Paul Di Filippo (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF “The Something-Dreaming Game” by Elizabeth Bear (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Red Card” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Feb.) SF
  • “The Wedding Party” by Simon Ings (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF/H
  • “C-Rock City” by Jay Lake & Greg van Eekhout (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “p dolce” by Louise Marley (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF
  • “A Distillation of Grace” by Adam Roberts (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One” by Justina Robson (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “The Chimera Transit” by Jack Skillingstead (Asimov’s, Feb.) SF
  • “Sweet Potato Woman” by Chris Barnes (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #28, Mar.) F
  • “Babel 3000″ by Colin P. Davies (Asimov’s, Mar.) SF
  • “Rest Stop” by Marissa K Lingen (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #28, Mar.) F
  • “Cool Neighbor” by Michael Shara & Jack McDevitt (Analog, Mar.) SF
  • “Crickets, Everywhere” by Ken Rand (HPL’s Magazine of Horror #4, Spring/Summer) H
  • “Sometimes You Have To Shout About It” by Darrell Schweitzer (HPL’s Magazine of Horror #4, Spring/Summer) H
  • “The Rope: A New Tale of the Antique Lands” by Noreen Doyle (Realms of Fantasy, Apr.) F
  • “A Book of Silences” by James Enge (Black Gate #10, Spring) F
  • “End Game” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “Fifth Day” by Jack McDevitt (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “A Thing Forbidden” by Donald Mead (F&SF, Apr.) F/H
  • “A Touch of Hell” by Richard Parks (Realms of Fantasy, Apr.) F
  • “Distant Replay” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s, Apr/May) F
  • “Reflections” by Martha Wells (Black Gate #10, Spring) F
  • “Barrens Dance” by Peter S. Beagle (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “The Magikkers” by Terry Dowling (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “The Manticore Spell” by Jeffrey Ford (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Singing of Mount Abora” by Theodora Goss (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) F
  • “Zinder” by Tanith Lee (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Vivisepulture” by David Prill (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) H
  • “Appoggiatura” by Jeff VanderMeer (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) F
  • “The Smaragdine Knot” by Marly Youmans (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) F
  • “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s, June) SF
  • “Dr. Abernathy’s Dream Theater” by David Ira Cleary (Interzone #210, June) F
  • “Blessed by an Angel” by Peter F. Hamilton (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Saving Tiamaat” by Gwyneth Jones (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Art of War” by Nancy Kress (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Wagers of Gold Mountain” by Steve Berman (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Other Labyrinth” by Jedediah Berry (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Memories of the Knacker’s Yard” by Ian Creasey (Apex #10, July) H
  • “The Unplug War” by Brendan DuBois (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “Engines of Desire & Despair” by Russell Davis (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “Knowledge” by Grace Dugan (Interzone #211, Jul/Aug) F
  • “The Dreaming Wind” by Jeffrey Ford (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Exvisible” by Carlos Hernandez” (Interzone #211, Jul/Aug) SF
  • “PowerSuitTM” by M. K. Hobson (F&SF, July) SF
  • “The Listeners” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Partnership” by William H. Keith (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Transformation” by Stephen Leigh (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “Bone Mother” by Maura McHugh (Fantasy, ed. Wallace & Tremblay/Prime, July) F
  • “The Fortune-Teller” by Patricia A. McKillip (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” by Delia Sherman (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Daydreams” by Lavie Tidhar (Apex #10, July) F
  • “The Chamber Music of Animals” by Katherine Vaz (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Cold Comfort” by Ray Vukcevich (F&SF, July) SF
  • “The Mole Cure” by Nancy Farmer (F&SF, Aug.) F
  • “The Tomb Wife” by Gwyneth Jones (F&SF, Aug.) SF
  • “The Algorithm” by Tim Akers (Interzone #212, Sept./Oct.) SF
  • “Pilgrimage” by Karl Bunker (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “The Wizard’s Legacy” by Michael A. Burstein (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) F
  • “Honor is a Game Mortals Play” by Eugie Foster (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) F
  • “Roomies” by Esther Friesner (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) F
  • “Palimpsest” by Howard V. Hendrix (Analog, Sep.) SF
  • “Drinker” by Michael Jasper (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) F
  • “By Fools Like Me” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Sep.) SF
  • “Beneath the Skin” by James Lowder (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) H
  • “My Heart as Dry as Dust” by Kim Zimring (Asimov’s, Sep.) SF
  • “The Last and Only or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French” by Peter S. Beagle (Eclipse One/Night Shade, Oct.) F
  • “The Wizard of Macatawa” by Tom Doyle (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “At Sixes and Sevens” by Carol Emshwiller (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) F
  • “Dark Rooms” by Lisa Goldstein (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “Electric Rains” by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Eclipse One/Night Shade, Oct.) SF
  • “Letters on Natural Magic” by Matthew Kirby (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” by Michael Livingston (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “When the Train Calls Lonely” by Devon Monk (Realms of Fantasy, Oct.) F
  • “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy” by Richard Mueller (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “The Night Visitors” by John Phillips (Space & Time #101, Fall) H
  • “Night Calls” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “Fort Bliss” by J. Kenneth Sargent (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “Debatable Lands” by Liz Williams (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF/F
  • “The Suit” by Bud Sparhawk (Analog, Nov.) SF
  • “Good Old Days” by Kevin J. Anderson (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast” by Mark Chadbourn (Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • ” ‘Domo Arigato,’ Says Mr. Roboto” by Robert R. Chase (Analog, Dec.) SF
  • “In the Shape of a Dragon” by Melanie Fazi (Black Static #2, Dec.) DF
  • “Who Brought Tulips to the Moon?” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Dec.) SF
  • “do(this)” by Stephen Graham Jones (Asimov’s, Dec.) SF
  • “The Rules” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Dec.) SF
  • “Osama Phone Home” by David Marusek (F&SF, Dec.) SF
  • “Tornado of Sparks” by James Maxey (Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • “The Firemen’s Fairy” by Sandra McDonald (Realms of Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • “Hot Water” by Richard Parks (Realms of Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • “A Small Skirmish in the Culture War” by Mike Resnick & James Patrick Kelly (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “Don’t Ask” by M. Rickert (F&SF, Dec.) F
  • “Good Genes” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “The Song Her Heart Sang” by Steven Savile (Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • “Cold Comfort” by Dean Wesley Smith (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “The Best of Your Life” by Jason Stoddard (Interzone #213, Dec.) SF
(106 short stories: 49 SF, 1 SF/F, 1 SF/H, 46 F, 1 F/H, 1 DF, 7 H)

Novelettes

  • “Safeguard” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Jan.) SF
  • “Trunk and Disorderly” by Charles Stross (Asimov’s, Jan.) SF
  • “The Farewell Party” by Eric Brown (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “Wikiworld” by Paul Di Filippo (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Islington Crocodiles” by Paul Meloy (IZ #208, Feb.) H
  • “Fool” by John Morressy (F&SF, Feb.) F
  • “The Old World” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF
  • “Jellyfish” by Mike Resnick & David Gerrold (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “Solomon’s Choice” by Mike Resnick & Nancy Kress (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “YFL-500″ by Robert Charles Wilson (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Dance of Shadows” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Mar.) F
  • “The Looking Glass War” by Brendan DuBois (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “The Really Big Sleep” by Esther Friesner (HPL’s Magazine of Horror #4, Spring/Summer) H
  • “The Weapon” by William H. Keith (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Craters” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Rocket Boy” by Paul J. McCauley (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Casualty” by Brian Stableford (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Awakening” by Judith Berman (Black Gate #10, Spring) F
  • “Sight of Vengeance” by Howard Andrew Jones (Black Gate #10, Spring) F
  • “The Naturalist: Going to Applewash” by Mark Sumner (Black Gate #10, Spring) SF
  • “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” by Daniel Abraham (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) DF
  • “A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question” by Andy Duncan (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Winter’s Wife” by Elizabeth Hand (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Crossing the Seven” by Jay Lake (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) SF
  • “Bambi Steaks” by Richard A. Lovett (Analog, May) SF
  • “From Around Here” by Tim Pratt (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) DF/H
  • “The Stranger’s Hands” by Tad Williams (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “The Magic Animal” by Gene Wolfe (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Tomb of the Tyrant Emperor” by Constance Cooper (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer) SF
  • “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Wizard’s Six” by Alex Irvine (F&SF, June) F
  • “Dividing the Sustain” by James Patrick Kelly (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Love Seat” by R. Neube (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer) SF
  • “Lazaro y Antonio” by Marta Randall (F&SF, June) SF
  • “Hatch” by Robert Reed (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “The Emperor and the Maula” by Robert Silverberg (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “News From the Front” by Harry Turtledove (Asimov’s, June) SF
  • “On the Bubble” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, June) SF
  • “Send Them Flowers” by Walter Jon Williams (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Car 17″ by P. E. Cunningham (F&SF, July) F
  • “Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, July/Aug.) SF
  • “Moral Imperative” by Ed Gorman (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” by Kij Johnson (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Constable of Abal” by Kelly Link (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Historian’s Apprentice” by S. Andrew Swann (Man vs. Machine/DAW, July) SF
  • “The Mists of Time” by Tom Purdom (Asimov’s, Aug.) SF
  • “From the Heart of the Earth to the Peaks of the Sky” by Iain Rowan (Black Gate #11, Summer) F
  • “Holy Places” by Martha Wells (Black Gate #11, Summer) F
  • “A Wizard of the Old School” by Chris Willrich (F&SF, Aug.) F
  • “The Phlogiston Age” by Corey Brown (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) F
  • “The Frozen Sky” by Jeff Carlson (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (F&SF, Sep.) F
  • “Sir Apropos of Nothing, and the Adventure of the Receding Heir” by Peter David (Heroes in Training/DAW, Sep.) F
  • “By the Waters of the Ganga” by Stephen Gaskell (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) F/SF
  • “The Sun God at Dawn, Rising from a Lotus Blossom” by Andrea Kail (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “The Prophet of Flores” by Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s, Sep.) SF
  • “Dada Jihad” by Will McIntosh) (Interzone #212, Sept./Oct.) SF
  • “The Good Ship Lollypop” by R. Garcia y Robertson (Asimov’s, Sep.) SF
  • “The Gas Drinkers” by Edward Sevcik (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • ‘The Skysailor’s Tale” by Michael Swanwick (The Dog Said Bow-Wow, Tachyon, Sep.) SF
  • “Primetime” by Douglas Texter (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “Ripping Carovella” by Kim Zimring (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “Two Weeks After” by M. Ramsey Chapman (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F
  • “The Diamond Shadow” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F
  • “The Recreation Room” by Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F
  • “Toother” by Terry Dowling (Eclipse One/Night Shade, Oct.) H
  • “Dark Integers” by Greg Egan (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “The Hangingstone Rat” by Barry B. Longyear (Analog, Oct.) SF
  • “Love, Blood and Octli” by T. L. Morganfield (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “Urdumheim” by Michael Swanwick” (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “The Flaneur des Arcades de l’Opera” by Michael Moorcock (The Metatemporal Detective/Pyr, Nov.) F
  • “Disaster Relief” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Wizards, Inc./DAW, Nov.) F
  • “The Bone Man” by Frederic S. Durbin (F&SF, Dec.) H
  • “A Rose´ for Emily” by Esther M. Friesner (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “Icarus Beach” by C. W. Johnson (Analog, Dec.) SF
  • “The Wizard’s Coming” by Juliet E. McKenna (Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Dec.) F
  • “Finisterra” by David Moles (F&SF, Dec.) SF
  • “And Such Small Deer” by Chris Roberson (Solaris Book of New Fantasy, Dec.) F
(80 novelettes: 47 SF, 26 F, 1 F/SF, 1 DF, 1 DF/H, 4 H)

Novellas

  • “Kiosk” by Bruce Sterling (F&SF, Jan.) SF
  • “Emerald River, Pearl Sky” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jan/Feb) SF
  • “The Helper and His Hero” Part 1, by Matthew Hughes (F&SF, Feb.) SF
  • “Sideways from Now” by John Meaney (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Recovering Apollo 8″ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s, Feb.) SF
  • “The Helper and His Hero” Part 2, by Matthew Hughes (F&SF, Mar.) SF
  • “Doctor Muffet’s Island” by Brian Stableford (Asimov’s, Mar.) SF
  • “Dark Heaven” by Gregory Benford (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF
  • “Nothing Personal” by Pat Cadigan (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF
  • “The End of the World” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF
  • “Dead Money” by Lucius Shepard (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “The River Horses” by Allen Steele (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “Trial by Fire” by Shane Tourtellotte (Analog, Apr.) SF
  • “Hoxbomb” by Harry Turtledove (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF
  • “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (F&SF, Apr.) SF
  • “The Master Miller’s Tale” by Ian R. MacLeod (F&SF, May) F
  • “Alien Archaeology” by Neal Asher (Asimov’s, June) SF
  • “Strawberry Thief” by Ian Creasey (Weird Tales, Jun/July) F
  • “Minla’s Flowers” by Alastair Reynolds (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, July) SF
  • “Stars Seen Through Stone” by Lucius Shepard” (F&SF, July) SF
  • “The Lawless Hours” by James Enge (Black Gate #11, Summer) F
  • “The Naturalist: An Incident at Gray’s Works” by Mark Sumner (Black Gate #11, Summer) SF
  • “An Angelheaded Hipster Escapes” by Daniel Hatch (Analog, Oct.) SF
  • “Murder in Parliament Street” by Barry B. Longyear (Analog, Nov.) SF
  • “Reunion” by David W. Goldman (Analog, Dec.) SF
  • “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s, Dec.) SF
(28 novellas: 25 SF, 3 F)

Best of the Year

(Print Only)

Short Stories

  • “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “Personal Jesus” by Paul Di Filippo (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “The Wedding Party” by Simon Ings (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF/H
  • “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF
  • “End Game” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “Fifth Day” by Jack McDevitt (Asimov’s, Apr/May) SF
  • “The Manticore Spell” by Jeffrey Ford (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Zinder” by Tanith Lee (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Vivisepulture” by David Prill (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) H
  • “Appoggiatura” by Jeff VanderMeer (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) F
  • “The Smaragdine Knot” by Marly Youmans (Logorrhea/Bantam Spectra, May) F
  • “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s, June) SF
  • “Blessed by an Angel” by Peter F. Hamilton (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Art of War” by Nancy Kress (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “The Other Labyrinth” by Jedediah Berry (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Dreaming Wind” by Jeffrey Ford (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “PowerSuitTM” by M. K. Hobson (F&SF, July) SF
  • “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “Cold Comfort” by Ray Vukcevich (F&SF, July) SF
  • “The Tomb Wife” by Gwyneth Jones (F&SF, Aug.) SF
  • “The Wizard of Macatawa” by Tom Doyle (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “Electric Rains” by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Eclipse One/Night Shade, Oct.) SF
  • “Fort Bliss” by J. Kenneth Sargent (Paradox #11, Oct.) F
  • “Who Brought Tulips to the Moon?” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Dec.) SF
  • “A Small Skirmish in the Culture War” by Mike Resnick & James Patrick Kelly (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
  • “Good Genes” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (The Future We Wish We Had/DAW, Dec.) SF
(27 short stories: 16 SF, 1 SF/H, 9 F, 1 H)

Novelettes

  • “Safeguard” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Jan.) SF
  • “The Farewell Party” by Eric Brown (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF
  • “The Old World” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF
  • “YFL-500″ by Robert Charles Wilson (Fast Forward 1/Pyr, Feb.) SF
  • “Dance of Shadows” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Mar.) F
  • “The Looking Glass War” by Brendan DuBois (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Craters” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF
  • “Awakening” by Judith Berman (Black Gate #10, Spring) F
  • “A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question” by Andy Duncan (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “Winter’s Wife” by Elizabeth Hand (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “The Magic Animal” by Gene Wolfe (Wizards/Berkley, May) F
  • “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Lazaro y Antonio” by Marta Randall (F&SF, June) SF
  • “The Emperor and the Maula” by Robert Silverberg (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “News From the Front” by Harry Turtledove (Asimov’s, June) SF
  • “Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, July/Aug.) SF
  • “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” by Kij Johnson (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Constable of Abal” by Kelly Link (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (F&SF, Sep.) F
  • “By the Waters of the Ganga” by Stephen Gaskell (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) F/SF
  • “The Sun God at Dawn, Rising from a Lotus Blossom” by Andrea Kail (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • ‘The Skysailor’s Tale” by Michael Swanwick (The Dog Said Bow-Wow, Tachyon, Sep.) SF “Ripping Carovella” by Kim Zimring (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “The Diamond Shadow” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F
  • “Dark Integers” by Greg Egan (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “Urdumheim” by Michael Swanwick” (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) SF
  • “Finisterra” by David Moles (F&SF, Dec.) SF
(28 novelettes: 18 SF, 1 F/SF, 9 F)

Novellas

  • “Recovering Apollo 8″ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s, Feb.) SF
  • “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (F&SF, Apr.) SF
  • “The End of the World” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF
  • “The Master Miller’s Tale” by Ian R. MacLeod (F&SF, May) F
  • “Strawberry Thief” by Ian Creasey (Weird Tales, Jun/July) F
  • “Minla’s Flowers” by Alastair Reynolds (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, July) SF
  • “The Lawless Hours” by James Enge (Black Gate #11, Summer) F
  • “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s, Dec.) SF
(10 novellas: 7 SF, 3 F)

Best of the Year list includes 65 stories of 214 from the original Recommended Reading list, or 30%.


Personal Favorites

Short Stories

  • “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF*
  • “The Wedding Party” by Simon Ings (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Feb.) SF/H*
  • “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF*
  • “The Manticore Spell” by Jeffrey Ford (Wizards/Berkley, May) F*
  • “Art of War” by Nancy Kress (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “The Dreaming Wind” by Jeffrey Ford (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F*
  • “The Tomb Wife” by Gwyneth Jones (F&SF, Aug.) SF
  • “Who Brought Tulips to the Moon?” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Dec.) SF*
(9 short stories: 6 SF, 1 SF/H, 2 F)

Novelettes

  • “Safeguard” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, Jan.) SF
  • “The Old World” by Susan Palwick (The Fate of Mice/Tachyon, Feb.) SF
  • “Dance of Shadows” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Mar.) F
  • “Craters” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Future Weapons of War/Baen, Mar.) SF**
  • “A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question” by Andy Duncan (Wizards/Berkley, May) F*
  • “The Magic Animal” by Gene Wolfe (Wizards/Berkley, May) F*
  • “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF
  • “Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF*
  • “Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, July/Aug.) SF*
  • “The Constable of Abal” by Kelly Link (The Coyote Road/Viking, July) F
  • “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (F&SF, Sep.) F
  • “Ripping Carovella” by Kim Zimring (Writers of the Future, Vol. XXIII/Galaxy, Sep.) SF
  • “Dark Integers” by Greg Egan (Asimov’s, Oct./Nov.) SF*
(13 novelettes: 8 SF, 5 F)

The novelette category is easily the strongest this year, with many truly excellent choices. It’s a tough call, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Craters” ends up getting my nod for best of the year, though any of half a dozen others would well represent this category.

Novellas

  • “The End of the World” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Alien Crimes/SFBC, Apr.) SF*
  • “The Master Miller’s Tale” by Ian R. MacLeod (F&SF, May) F*
  • “Minla’s Flowers” by Alastair Reynolds (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF*
  • “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons (The New Space Opera/EOS, June) SF*
  • “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s, Dec.) SF*
(5 novellas: 4 SF, 1 F)

“But Dave!” I can hear you say, “you didn’t have Sterling’s ‘Kiosk’ or Wolfe’s ‘Memorare’ as your personal favorites?” After much agonizing…no. I realize both are garnering a lot of buzz, but I felt the Sterling was more gimmick (however nifty it might have been) and lacked depth, and while the Wolfe started out nicely (customized asteroid tombs in space, how utterly cool!) I didn’t, in the final analysis, care for where he took the story after the initial “sense of wonder” stage-setting.

Personal Favorites list includes 27 of 65 from the Best of the Year list, or 42%. 27 of the original 214 breaks down to 13% of the Recommended Reading list.

Of the 27 Personal Favorites there are 16 from original anthologies, 9 from magazines, and 2 from single author collections (both from the Susan Palwick collection from Tachyon).

I hope this Recommended Reading List inspires readers to seek out some of these fine efforts. Maybe some will even make the final Hugo ballot.


Dave Truesdale began the short fiction review magazine Tangent in 1993. Since then, it has been honored with 4 Hugo nominations and 1 World Fantasy Award nomination. In 1978 he co-edited with David Gerrold the Starlog SF Yearbook. For several years in the 1990s, he was deeply involved with the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for Best Short Science Fiction of the Year, and in 1998 was a World Fantasy Award judge. He edited the Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1999-2002. He currently writes the first original online column for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
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