Here’s step two in my check-up on my New Year’s Resolutions. To (once again) remind, I made three resolutions. They were:
- Average over 20K steps a day
- Write fiction every day
- Read a short story every day
I’m going to talk about the short fiction I’ve read this month (yeah, the month’s not over, but it’s the weekend and I’ve got the time to write this now, so I’m calling it a month…it’ll all work out in the end, I’m sure, so chill the heck out, okay?). The bottom line about my performance is that I’ve averaged a short story a day. I’ve had a couple days where I missed, but I’ve been able to make up for it in other days. I’ll note why I missed a few days in my next resolution check, but for now please take my word that I had a great reason. I’ll grade my stick-to-it on this resolution an A-.
Top 5 Stories of the Month
Inventory – Carmen Maria Machado, Strange Horizons: This was a startling piece, intimate, and true to the bone. The thing I love about short stories is that they give authors space to take dramatic chances, and that’s the case in this one. A really beautiful piece about the end of the world as we know it, about how humans interact, and about isolation. NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Very highly recommended, though. It’s the story I’ve read this month that has stayed with me the strongest, so I’ll call “Inventory” the story of the month.
The Sounds of Old Earth – Matthew Kressel, Lightspeed: I loved this piece for its perspective of home and place, and the idea of how those things form identity. Solid writing. Highly recommended.
Lázaro y Antonio – Marta Randall, Lightspeed: The story of a pair of thugs, or is it? Touching story, well done.
Press Enter to Execute – Tobias S. Buckell, Fireside: Live by the net, uh, die by the net? Intriguing extrapolation from today.
The Cambrist and Lord Iron – Daniel Abraham, Lightspeed: How can you not like a story that actually answers the question of what a life is worth? This was a fun read that I’ll remember for awhile. This is a learning for me as I wrote this up. I’m reading a bunch of stuff, and I’m writing a tone of stuff, and I’ve got work at the day job coming out of my ears and watching movies and TV shows and following my beloved Cardinals as my days unfold. It really takes something to make a story stick with me these days, and I find that as I look back on this month’s reading there are several stories I have to really struggle to remember much about. I’m trying to keep this in mind as I write my own stuff. What have I given a reader to make them remember the work?
So, those are my top five tales of the month. I’ve listed all the stories I’ve read so far. This doesn’t mean the other stories aren’t good or that I didn’t like them. No way. Cat Valente’s “Fade to White” and Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s Monster, Finder, Shifter were both exquisite, for example. Kelly Link’s “Catskin” and Eleanor Aronson’s “The Woman Who Fooled Death Five Times” were beautiful reads. And several others were worth the time. Ken Liu is always interesting, eh? And reading Yoon Ha Lee is always interesting for the pure love of writing itself. But the five above are the ones that stayed with me. Take that for what it’s worth, eh?
Date Author – Title
1/1 Tobias S. Buckell – A Game of Rats and Dragon
1/1 Tobias S. Buckell – Press Enter to Execute
1/2 Nina Kiriki Hoffman – Monster, Finder, Shifter
1/3 Brooke Bolander – Sun Dogs
1/4 Cat Valente – Fade to White
1/5 Ken Liu – Real Artists
1/5 Corry L. Lee – Shut Down
1/6 Joe Haldeman – Four Short Novels
1/10 Brian Everson – An Accounting
1/11 Ken Liu – The Perfect Match
1/12 Yoon Ha Lee – Swanwatch
1/13 Kelly Link – Catskin
1/14 Thomas Minton – Dreams in Dust
1/15 Marta Randall – Lázaro y Antonio
1/16 Matthew Kressel – The Sounds of Old Earth
1/17 Daniel Abraham – The Cambrist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics
1/18 Ron Collins – The Time of Leaving
1/19 Ron Collins – Operation Hercules
1/20 Ken Liu – Real Faces
1/21 Eleanor Aronson – The Woman Who Fooled Death Five Times
1/21 Kristin Jantz – Observation Deck
1/22 Kris Rusch – Front Porch
1/23 Yoon ha Lee – Effigy Nights
1/23 Carmen Maria Machado – Inventory
1/24 Helena Ball – Variations on Bluebeard and dalton’s Law along the Event Horizon
1/25 Ian McDonald – Driftings
1/26 Jeffrey Ford – Daltharee