Return of the Short Story Club

Yes, by popular demand — or at least occasional request — the short story club will return this autumn. I’m thinking of a slightly shorter run (10 weeks?), and perhaps throwing a classic or two into the mix (but still predominantly considering stories published this year). I even have some idea of which stories I want to discuss, but I want more suggestions, so: what standout stories have you read so far this year?

38 Responses to “Return of the Short Story Club”

  1. Martin Says:

    Didn’t we mention ‘A Rose For Ecclesiastes’ at some point?

  2. Niall Says:

    It came up when we were discussing Ken MacLeod’s story last year. I’m not sure I feel a particular urge to revisit it.

  3. Tristan Says:

    If novelettes are within the club’s purview, I’d be interested in everyone’s take on Peter Watts’s “The Island.”

  4. Evan Says:

    I remember the Island as being interesting, but I’d be more excited by seeing what people have enjoyed from 2010, rather than stuff that’s already made the best-of collections for 2009.

    If it would be of any use for selection, I could compile a master list of stories from the usual suspects for people to select from, the usual suspects being:
    – sub press
    – clarkesworld
    – fantasy
    – BCS
    – futurismic
    – tor.com
    Anything that I am missing, and is there an interest in having this available?

  5. Tristan Says:

    I think the list would be useful. (Did you leave out Strange Horizons on purpose?) We may as well throw Lightspeed in, too. There is at least a Vylar Kaftan story, and her stuff is usually interesting.

  6. Roy Says:

    You did Interzone last year so why not Black Static this year? It’s just starting its 4 th year and it is appearing in retail now.

    Declaring Interest I do work for the publisher.

    This year sees Nemonymous 10 out as ‘Null Immortalis’. The first non anonymous issue and Des Lewis says it will be the last. It’s been going 10 years so you could have a go at that.

    Declaring Interest I have a story in it.

  7. Niall Says:

    Tristan: Novelettes are fine, but like Evan, my preference is for 2010 stuff. Watts did have a novelette in Clarkesworld in January, though.

    Evan: I’d find such a list useful, although maybe more for other purposes than for this! But if others think it would jog their memories, maybe. And yes, please do include SH and Lightspeed if you do it.

    Roy: Mostly because Black Static is much less my thing. And in the case of the short story club, not being online is a limiting factor.

  8. Tristan Says:

    Chiaroscuro often has good stories (though I don’t know how long they remain online), so it may be worth considering if we want to open the door to horror.

  9. Karen Burnham Says:

    As it happens, I’ve been keeping notes so far of good short fiction I want to remember. Here’s the online short stories (less than 7,000 words or thereabouts) that I’ve noted so far:

    “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” Theodora Goss, Strange Horizons, Jan 2010
    “The Things” Peter Watts, Clarkesworld #40
    “Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra” Vandana Singh, Strange Horizons, March 2010
    “Kifli” by Rose Lemberg, Strange Horizons June 2010
    “Futures in the Memory Market” Nina Kiriki Hoffman Clarkesworld #45, June 2010
    “My Father’s Singularity” Brenda Cooper Clarkesworld #45 June 2010
    “The Red Bride” Samantha Henderson, Strange Horizons July 2010
    “The Ice Moon Tale” Eilis O’Neil, Abyss & Apex 3rd quarter 2010
    “Prelude to Battle” Gwendolyn Clare, Abyss & Apex, 3rd quarter 2010
    “The Goddess of Discord Lives on Mulberry Street” Adam Callaway, Flurb #9 Spr/Sum 2010
    “The Chartreuse Monster” Ada Hoffman, Expanded Horizons #20, July 2010
    “Coyote Barbie” Cat Rambo, Expanded Horizons #20 July 2010
    “Throwing Stones” Mishelle Baker, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #47 (July 2010)

    They may not all be award-worthy, but each had something I thought was neat, interesting, or worth noting. Apologies for being too lazy to link each of them separately!

  10. Evan Says:

    OK, have made a start but whoa man are there a ton of stories. Will try to finish it sometime tonight, but it may be tomorrow before I can get it done.

  11. Evan Says:

    List is here: http://evanmcc.com/2010/08/09/ssc-2010-list/

    I haven’t checked all the links or anything, but they should be right. Let me know if you see anything that needs to be corrected or anything that you’d like me to add.

  12. David Moles Says:

    I’d just like to give a shout-out to Alice Sola Kim’s “The Other Graces” in the July Asimov’s. Not on line, unfortunately.

  13. Niall Says:

    And here are Lois Tilton’s recommended (free online) stories so far:

    “Bearing Fruit” by Nikki Alfar (Fantasy, March)
    “Throwing Stones” by Mishell Baker (BCS, July)
    “Small Burdens” by Paul M Berger (SH, March)
    “Saving the Gleeful Horse” by KJ Bishop (Fantasy, March)
    “Under the Moons of Venus” by Damien Broderick (Subterranean, Spring)
    “The Seal of Sulaymaan” by Tracy Canfield (Fantasy, July)
    “My Father’s Singularity” by Brenda Cooper (Clarkesworld, June)
    “The Motor, The Mirror, The Mind” by TF Davenport (BCS, February)
    “The Bright and Shining Parasites of Guiyu” by Grady Hendrix (SH, July)
    “Futures in the Memories Market” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Clarkesworld, June)
    “Brownian Emotion” by Tom Holt (Subterranean, Spring)
    “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed, July)
    “The Association of the Dead” by Rahul Kanakia (Clakesworld, July)
    “Torquing Vacuum” by Jay Lake (Clarkesworld, February)
    “And Other Such Delights” by James Lecky (BCS, May)
    “The Territorialist” by Yoon Ha Lee (BCS, July)
    “Second Journey of the Magus” by Ian R MacLeod (Subterranean, Winter)
    “The Six Skills of Madame Lumiere” by Marissa Lingen (BCS, July)
    “The Courtship of the Queen” by Bruce McAllister (Tor.com, May)
    “The Isthmus Variation” by Kris Millering (BCS, July)
    “Amit Vincit Omnia” by KJ Parker (Subterranean, Summer)
    “Four Horsemen, at their Leisure” by Richard Parks (Tor.com, April)
    “Birds” by Benjamin Parzybok (SH, April)
    “Somadeva: a Sky River Sutra” by Vandana Singh (SH, April)
    “In Memoriam” by Alys Sterling (BCS, March)
    “In the Bag” by Kit St Germain (Abyss & Apex, 3rd quarter)
    “The Night Train” by Lavie Tidhar (SH, June)
    “The Monks of Udom Xhai” by Lavie Tidhar (Abyss & Apex, 2nd quarter)
    “What Doctor Gottlieb Saw” by Ian Tregillis (Tor.com, June)
    “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time” by Catherynne Valente (Clarkesworld, August)

    (I may have missed a couple because the columns before about April don’t seem to be included in the index. And if Rich hasn’t done it by the time I get home this evening, I’ll go through Locus and collate his recommended stories as well…)

  14. Niall Alexander Says:

    Of the lot, “Blood” by Roddie Doyle – from the Stories anthology Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio co-edited. Pretty sure you can read it free online at one of the UK newspapers’ sites…

    Yep, the Times have it.

    It’s a great little story, though I do wonder exactly how much discussion there could feasibly be of it. So it has to have been published this year and available online? Hmn.

  15. Abigail Says:

    Given how much she’s been in the news lately, it might be nice to discuss a Shirley Jackson story. Alas, the only one that seems to be online is “The Lottery,” which I think is over-discussed as it is.

  16. Niall Alexander Says:

    How about Hannu Rajaniemi’s “Elegy for a Young Elk” from Subterranean Magazine’s Spring issue? I’d link to it here if I understood that ol’ black HTML magic…

  17. Niall Says:

    Elegy for a Young Elk” is on my provisional list. I’m not sure it’s successful, but I think it’s interesting.

    On the classics front, I was wondering about “The Space Traders“.

  18. Karen Burnham Says:

    I’d like to get “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed, July) on the list. It was Lightspeed’s inaugural offering, but I didn’t even finish it. I’d be curious to a) have a reason to read it all the way to the end, and b) see why other folks like it so much.

  19. Evan Says:

    I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, clearly, as I don’t think that I’ve read even half of the list I made.

    That said, of those I read:

    The Bodhisattvas by Gord Sellar
    The Heart of a Mouse by K. J. Bishop
    The Things by Peter Watts
    Prashkina’s Fire by Vylar Kaftan
    The Territorialist by Yoon Ha Lee
    Throwing Stones by Mishell Baker
    The Guy Who Worked For Money by Benjamin Rosenbaum
    The Exterminator’s Want-Ad Bruce Sterling
    The Cage by A. M. Dellamonica

    Have some stuff that might be interesting to talk about.

  20. Martin Says:

    Yes, I’d like to do ‘The Things’ and ‘The Territorialist’.

  21. Niall Says:

    Evan, just thought of another magazine for your list: Apex.

  22. Evan Says:

    Updated, but I wasn’t able to find anything other than the last five issues.

  23. Lois Tilton Says:

    Thanks, Niall!

  24. Tristan Says:

    re: Evan’s most recent list, I’d love to do the K.J. Bishop, the Sellar, and the Rosenbaum.

  25. Karen Burnham Says:

    I’ll also vote for “Territorialist,” another one that left me underwhelmed and I’m wondering if I missed something.

  26. Evan Says:

    Karen, I mostly brought it up for that reasons. It’s full of interesting and evocative images but fails to cohere. Similar in some ways to Mieville’s Kraken. I think that comparing the two could make for a fruitful discussion.

  27. Rich Horton Says:

    Like a surprising number of the stories in STORIES, “Blood” is not really SF or Fantasy but is all about playing with a fantastical trope. (For example, there is not one but two stories in STORIES that begin with a complex SFnal or Fantastical setup, and resolve by seeming to be mundane cases of nutcases committing murder, using the fantastical setup as a rationale, or perhaps as an excuse. (Or are they really nuts?????))

    I will note that I enjoyed STORIES pretty much start to finish. People with a particular interest in SF history may take a particular interest in the story in STORIES called “Stories”, by Michael Moorcock, a thinly disguised alternate history of NEW WORLDS as if instead of an SF magazine it was a mystery magazine, with thinly disguised versions of the likes of J. G. Ballard and Tom Disch (particularly the latter, whose suicide seems to have been a motivating factor behind the story.)

    Oh, and I’ve been out of town for the past five days — when I get settled back in I can put together a list of my recommended stories from online venues. (If someone else wants to do so, that’s fine too.) I’ll say up front that a more recent recommendation, not yet in print at LOCUS, is of Samantha Henderson’s “The Red Bride”, from Strange Horizons.

    Karen — I too was underwhelmed by “Territorialist”, though I thought it full of fascinating bits that just didn’t end up quite working — which seems to be what Evan is saying about it. I’ll read anything Yoon Ha Lee writes — she is always extremely interesting, even though the end results don’t always quite match the promise of the best parts of the stories.

  28. Niall Says:

    Well, I get the following list:

    “The Bohemian Astrobleme” by Kage Baker (Subterranean, Winter)
    “Return” by Peter S Beagle (Subterranean, Spring)
    “Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory” by Paul M Berger (Fantasy, June)
    “Under the Moons of Venus” by Damien Broderick (Subterranean, Spring)
    “The Duke of Vertumn’s Fingerling” by Elizabeth Carroll (SH, April)
    “Tourists” by Sean Craven (Tor.com, February)
    “After We Got Back the Lights” by Eric Del Carlo (SH, February)
    “No Time Like the Present” by Carol Emshwiller (Lightspeed, July)
    “The Leafsmith in Love” by KJ Kabza (BCS, March)
    “Merrythoughts” by Bill Kte’pi (SH, Feb)
    “The Freedom” by KM Lawrence (SH, April)
    “Between Two Dragons” by Yoon Ha Lee (Clarkesworld, April)
    “WE HEART VAMPIRES!!!!!!” by Meghan McCarron (SH, May)
    “The Naturalist” by Maureen McHugh (Subterranean, Spring)
    “The Wing Collection” by Ellis O’Neal (Fantasy, January)
    “Abandonware” by An Owomoyela (Fantasy, June)
    “Sanji’s Demon” by Richard Parks (BCS, March)
    “Flu Season” by Barbara Roden (Subterranean, Winter)
    “A Serpent in the Gears” by Margaret Ronald (BCS, January)
    “Stranger” by Patricia Russo (Fantasy, Feb)
    “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June)
    “The Things” by Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, January)
    “The Sometimes Child” by Caroline M Yoachim (Fantasy, May)

    Did I miss any?

  29. iansales Says:

    Here’s a few I liked:

    Dali’s Clocks, Dave hutchinson (DayBreak, January 2010)
    A Serpent in the Gears, Margaret Ronald (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #34, 14 Jan 2010)

    Beach Blanket Spaceship, Sandra McDonald (Clarkesworld #47, Aug 2010)

  30. Niall Says:

    Right, thanks all. I’m going to do some more reading over the next few days (so further suggestions still accepted), then post a schedule at the start of next week.

  31. marco Says:

    While there’s not a much of a story to either of these pieces, I enjoyed them very much

    http://ambientehotel.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/some-fiction/

    http://htmlgiant.com/sunday-service/brendan-connell-poem/

  32. Evan Says:

    Have been working through the stuff that I haven’t read and that looked interesting. I’d like to add:

    “Second Journey of the Magus” by Ian R MacLeod
    “Your Life Sentence” by C.C. Finlay*
    “A Serpent in the Gears” by Margaret Roland*

    “The Taborin Scale” may or may not be worth discussing (haven’t finished it yet), but I think that it’s too long for this particular forum unless there are a bunch of Shepard fans here.

    *denotes an Interesting Failure, of which I think we should discuss a couple.

  33. Rich Horton Says:

    A couple to add, from Loci you probably haven’t seen yet:

    Adam-Troy Castro, “Arvies”, (Lightspeed, 8/10)
    Eilis O’Neal, “The Wizard’s Calico Daughter”, (Fantasy, 8/10)

    And one I haven’t yet reviewed, and probably won’t, for timeliness reasons:
    Richard Wolkomir, “A Remnant Man Rode a Linguahorse Across the Plain of Conn” (Zahir, January: http://www.zahirtales.com/remnant.html)

    In all honesty these three, though fine stories, wouldn’t be among the first I’d recommend for the club, though. Those would include Paul Berger’s story, Damien Broderick’s, Peter Watts’s, and Carol Emshwiller’s.

  34. Short Story Club 2 « Torque Control Says:

    […] Return of the Short Story Club […]

  35. Adam Callaway Says:

    Memories in Bronze, Feathers, and Blood by Aliette de Bodard
    Futures in the Memory Market by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    Thirteen Ways at Looking at Space/Time by Catherynne M. Valente
    Michelangelo’s Chisel by Christopher Miller
    Arvies by Adam-Troy Castro
    Throwing Stones by Mishell Baker

    The girls are really representing this year :)

  36. Adam Callaway Says:

    I just read one I need to add to my list

    Dr. Adderson’s Lens by Natania Barron in Bull Spec 1. It has the coolest use of zombies ever and is a prime example of SF Strange.


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