I love short fiction. It’s how I was introduced to science fiction and fantasy, reading The Hugo Winners and The Early Asimov in the trailer in our back yard when I was twelve. I highlight a lot of anthologies and collections here on the blog, new and old (as you may have noticed).
John DeNardo, founder of the great SF Signal, shares my obsession with short genre fiction, and at the Kirkus Reviews site he uses a meditation on short stories as a crafty way to review Gardner Dozois’ 32nd volume of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, in his article “5 Reasons to Read Short Speculative Fiction Anthologies.” Take, for example, Reason #4: Short Fiction Is Fun.
People read fiction for fun, and where else can you experience so many fun stories than in a speculative fiction anthology that offers cool new worlds and ideas around which to tell them?
Few stories are as page-turning as “The Regular” by Ken Liu, set in a near-future Boston where a cybernetically enhanced investigator goes looking for a deadly serial killer. “West to East” by Jay Lake is as superb an adventure story as you’re ever likely to read. It involves a pair of space travelers stranded on an alien planet with a harsh atmosphere and having no way to return home. If you could encapsulate everything that is weird and wonderful about 1950s Sci-Fi B-movies, it’d probably look like “Passage of Earth” by Michael Swanwick, the story of an alien invasion as seen from the perspective of a medical examiner and his ex-wife. Then there’s the fast-moving “Red Light, and Rain” by Gareth L. Powell, a gripping action story about two time-traveling enhanced humans who wage a battle on the streets of present-day Amsterdam.