With the deadline for the 2016 Hugo Awards nominations fast approaching (Thursday, March 31st), I thought I’d help out prospective voters by generating a list of recommended reads to guide them through the myriad titles released in 2015.
In the past, I could have put together a rundown of potential Best Novels but, alas, the past year kept me very busy, much too busy for extensive reading, and I realized that the list I’d offer up would be woefully incomplete.
Being a voracious and fairly quick reader, I thought of tackling the Best Novella or Best Novelette categories but, again, my show running duties on Dark Matter made that impossible. And so, after careful consideration, I decided instead to take on the Best Short Story category reasoning there was plenty of opportunity in the downtime between set-ups, scripts, and sleep. As it turned out, I was right and, in the preceding month, I’ve read A LOT of shorts stories – more than I’ve read in any given month.
Yes, even though I read a lot, I’m well aware that I covered but a tiny fraction of all of the eligible short stories out there. I tried to be as sweeping as possible, selecting titles from varied publications, drawing on suggestions from all over, choosing writers irrespective of politics or personality.
What follows is a list of MY Favorite Genre Short Stories of 2015. If any of these make the short list for the Hugos, I’ll be giving them a re-read and ranking. I’ll do the same for any other nominees I may have missed. And then, I’ll vote for what I consider the Best Short Story of 2015. If the best short story I read is among the five nominees, then I’ll vote for that. If what I consider the Best Short story doesn’t make the list, I’ll be voting No Award. Fair? I think so.
Well, here you go, for those interested. My Top 13 Short Stories of 2015:
“A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone)
An isolated scientist’s research into the flocking behavior of birds yields surprising results.
“Calved” by Sam J. Miller (Asimov’s)
Amidst the backdrop of a world altered by ecological disaster, a father makes a desperate bid to reconnect with his son.
Read it here: http://samjmiller.com/publications/calved/
“Dialed-Up” by Tom Maughan (Terraform)
In the near, performance-enhancing drugs give office workers the edge they need to compete.
Read it here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/dialed-up
“Re-Homing” by Debbie Urbanski (Terraform)
A couple looking to adopt find the perfect match in a remaindered child.
Read it here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/re-homing
“Re: re: Microwave in the break room doing weird things to fabric of spacetime” by Charles Yu (Terraform)
An unattended burrito instigates a cosmological crisis.
“Some Gods of El-Paso” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Tor)
In future Texas, two outlaws deal in the currencies of sex and emotions.
“The Ninth Seduction” by Sean Mcmullen (Lightspeed)
A goblin crafts weapons and other technological marvels in advance of a coming battle.
“The Sixth Day” by Sylvia Anna Hivén (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
A young girl, gifted with the ability to grow corn, receives a dire prediction from her older sister, gifted with the ability of prophecy.
“So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld)
The bird flu apocalypse as related through perky Natalie’s food blog.
Read it here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_11_15/
“The Ticket Taker of Cenote Zaci” by Benjamin Parzybok (Strange Horizons)
Eduardo, a ticket taker at a popular tourist attraction, begins to suspect that the Cenote Zaci may be claiming some of its visitors.
“The Way Home” by Linda Nagata (Lightspeed)
A squad of U.S. Soldiers must fight their way out of Hell.
Read it here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-way-home/
“Things You Can Buy For A Penny” by Will Kaufman (Lightspeed Magazine)
According to legend, the wet gentleman that resides at the bottom of a mysterious well will grant you a wish for a penny…
“Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld)
An android caregiver to an Alzheimer’s patient mimics the personalities of her prospective visiting relatives.
Read it here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/shoemaker_08_15/
If you have time, give them a read – and then report back. Would love to hear your thoughts.