Another Reading List

Following on from Jonathan Strahan’s year’s best, here’s Rich Horton’s:

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009

Elizabeth Bear, “Shoggoths in Bloom” (Asimov’s, March)
Daryl Gregory, “Glass” (MIT Technology Review, November/December)
Ted Kosmatka, “The Art of Alchemy” (F&SF, June)
Margo Lanagan, “The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross” (Dreaming Again)
Robert Reed, “Character Flu” (F&SF, June)
Rivka Galchen, “The Region of Unlikeness” (The New Yorker, March 17)
James Alan Gardner, “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” (Asimov’s, February)
Will McIntosh, “The Fantasy Jumper” (Black Static, February)
James L. Cambias, “Balancing Accounts” (F&SF, February)
Charlie Anders, “Suicide Drive” (Helix #7, January)
Peter Watts, “The Eyes of God” (The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2)
Beth Bernobich, “The Golden Octopus” (Postscripts, Summer)
Jeff VanderMeer, “Fixing Hanover” (Extraordinary Engines)
Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, “Boojum” (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
Paul Cornell, “Catherine Drewe” (Fast Forward 2)
Mary Robinette Kowal, “Evil Robot Monkey” (The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2)
Garth Nix, “Infestation” (The Starry Rift)
Ian McDonald, “The Tear” (Galactic Empires)

Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2009

Kij Johnson, “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” (Asimov’s, July)
Naomi Novik, “Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake” (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
Eugene Mirabelli, “Falling Angel” (F&SF, December)
Meghan McCarron, “The Magician’s House” (Strange Horizons, July 14-21)
Karen Heuler, “The Difficulties of Evolution” (Weird Tales, July/August)
Jay Lake, “A Water Matter” (
Liz Williams, “Spiderhorse” (Realms of Fantasy, August)
Alex Jeffers, “Firooz and His Brother” (F&SF, May)
Ann Leckie, “The God of Au” (Helix #8, Spring)
James Maxey, “Silent as Dust” (Intergalactic Medicine Show #7, January)
Erik Amundsen, “Blue Vervain Murder Ballad #2: Jack of Diamonds” (Not One of Us, October)
Delia Sherman, “Gift from a Spring” (Realms of Fantasy, April)
Christopher Golden, “The Hiss of Escaping Air” (PS Publishing)
Peter S. Beagle, “King Pelles the Sure” (Strange Roads)
Alice Sola Kim, “We Love Deena” (Strange Horizons, February 11)
Jeffrey Ford, “Daltharee” (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
Patrick Rothfuss, “The Road to Levinshir” (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy)
Holly Phillips, “The Small Door” (Fantasy, May)
Richard Bowes, “If Angels Fight” (F&SF, February

Let’s see if I can get my sums right this time: 18 stories in the sf book, 44% of which come from genre magazines; 61% of contributors are male, and there are three overlaps with Strahan (Bear, Kosmatka, VanderMeer). 19 stories in the fantasy book, 74% of which come from genre magazines; 53% of contributors are male, and there are four overlaps with Strahan (Bowes, Johnson, McCarron, Phillips). In terms of first publication sources, F&SF currently leads the pack, accounting for 10 different stories across the three books; Asimov’s is the next nearest with 4, while Realms of Fantasy and Fast Ships, Black Sails account for three each. I have to say that, “The Tear” and Rivka Galchen’s story notwithstanding, of these two books on balance the Fantasy volume looks more interesting to me.

5 thoughts on “Another Reading List

  1. I’ve read hardly any of these, but they both look like interesting collections. Possibly more interesting than the Strahan this year, as I’ve read quite a lot of the stories in that already.

    I was surprised that the only story from the TTA press stable is from Black Static and it’s in the SF half, as I thought they were a dark fantasy/horror mag.

  2. This review does make it sound like “The Fantasy Jumper” could be read as a kind of science fiction, but yes, I thought that was interesting, too.

    While there are several stories in the SF volume I want to read but haven’t (McDonald, Galchen, Gardner, Kosmatka), there are also several stories I have read and been underwhelmed by (Watts, Kowal, Nix, Gregory). So I don’t know about that. On the other hand, while the only story I’ve read in the Fantasy volume, I think, is “Daltharee”, I am intrigued by almost all the others. There’s certainly a feeling of … is adventurousness the right word? … to both volumes that I like the look of.

  3. Only two names that I am aware of having any significant career pre-2000 (Reed and McDonald) on the list. Have none of the Old Guard or the intervening generations published anything worth considering this year? I find that hard to believe.

  4. Well, I think you need to add Peter Beagle, Richard Bowes, Delia Sherman, Garth Nix, and James Alan Gardner at least to the list of those having published significant work pre-2000 …

    And, indeed, Eugene Mirabelli’s first novel appeared 50 years ago! But I don’t blame anyone for not knowing that — I certainly didn’t!

    But if, in fact, my selections are skewed towards newer writers, a) that wasn’t a conscious decision, but b) I’m not unhappy it worked out that way.

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