Weird Kitties: Best Short Story Open Thread


Got an interesting batch of reviews up for you tomorrow, including a number of candidates in Best Dramatic Presentation.

Here's a couple of novels that got mentioned more than once in last week's thread. I'd love reviews of any of them if you've read them - send those to snowspinner at gmail: 
  • Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings
  • N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season
  • Terry Pratchett's The Shepherd's Crown
  • Jo Walton's The Just City and/or The Philosopher Kings
  • Naomi Novik's Uprooted
  • Cixin Liu's The Dark Forest
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora
  • Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant
  • Aliette de Bodard's The House of Shattered Wings
  • Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory
  • Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown
  • Max Gladstone's Last First Snow
  • Joanne Harris's Gospel of Loki
Meanwhile, tell me of good and Hugo-worthy short stories you've read. I'm monstrously behind on this category - I've not even gotten to the eligible Charlie Jane Anders or to pouring over China Miéville's Three Moments of an Explosion to pick something. (Actually I'll probably just read whichever one Jack tells me is best and nominate it, and save the rest for later.) 

Ooh, and I should see what, if anything, of Trigger Warning is eligible. 

Check back tomorrow for reviews. 


iWill 5 years, 4 months ago

I confess, I'm a bit behind on this one as well; only really read one sci-fi magazine and a few online things. That said, I liked 'Rush Down, Roar Gently' by Sara Saab, and really enjoyed 'Edited' by Rich Larson- both of those were from the last issue of Interzone.
Outside of that, not read an awful lot, and even less that I would consider Hugo-worthy, though I expect 'Ghost Champagne' will be marvellous once I get to it. Has Robert Shearman put any new stories out this year? Because if so, he should be a shoo-in.
On a related note, can we nominate 'John Scalzi is not a very popular author' for Best Related Work?

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Alex Antonijevic 5 years, 4 months ago

So how about that Prologue for The Magician's Apprentice. Can't wait to see more of this version of Capaldi's Doctor.

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Eric Rosenfield 5 years, 4 months ago

Jeff VanderMeer's "The Goat Variations" is one of the most stunning things I've read all year. I'll try to work up a review for you.

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arcbeatle 5 years, 4 months ago

"Annie's Arms" from "Liberating Earth". Few short stories I read stick with me the way that one has. It still pops into my head every once in a while. I'll be sending in a review of it for Weird Kitties I'm sure.

The way the traditional star crossed romance narrative the hero expects is more dangerous than the horror narrative she is trying to escape from is just... Perfect.

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hammard 5 years, 4 months ago

I think the big short story collection will be Queers Destroy Science Fiction which has had a lot of promotion and a number of great writers on it:

For me the stand out story on it is Madeline by Amal El-Mohtar, really fascinating.

Others that would probably be on my ballot so far this year are:
Today I Am Paul by Martin L Shoemaker, which is an emotional story that looks at identity and memory.

Myth of Rain by Seanan McGuire may be overly didactic for some but it really struck me as a powerful look at our attitude to climate change and where it will lead us.

Security Check by Han Song is a satirical tale that questions our constant obsession with security.

The Apartment Dweller's Bestiary by Kij Johnson is not a work I find easy to describe but is fascinating, somewhere between Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy and Allegorical Fabulism. Very interesting:

Others that I imagine may do well are:
Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight by Aliette De Bodard
The Great Silence by Allora & Calzadilla & Ted Chiang
Sun, Stone, Spear by Carrie Vaughn
Women At An Exhibition by E Lily Yiu
O Happy Day by Geoff Ryman
Cassandra by Ken Liu
Like Native Things by Mary Robinette Kowal
Midnight Hour by Mary Robinette Kowal
Backlash by Nancy Fulda
Colony Creature by Peter Watts
Those by Sofia Samatar
Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

Whilst I haven't read I think it may be worth checking out The Doll Collection from Tor, a lot of great authors on there and a good concept:

Apologies if any of these were published prior to 2015. I tried to check but it's hard to know sometimes.

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Andy H. 5 years, 4 months ago

Signal boost for "Woman at Exhibition" and "Madeleine", which are my two favourite shorts of the year so far. I have only come to admire them more with rereading.

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Andy H. 5 years, 4 months ago

I thought that I was replying to hammard above, and would otherwise have been less terse at least to the extent of including the authors' names (E. Lily Yu and Amal El-Mohtar, respectively).

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templeofliterature 5 years, 4 months ago

So much excellent short fiction has been published this year! I’m also behind on my reading, but here are a dozen of my favorite SF stories published this year (all are freely available online!):

“The Closest Thing to Animals” by Sofia Samatar [Fireside Fiction] –

“Descent” by Carmen Maria Machado [Nightmare] –

“The Far Shore” by Yoko Tawada (translated by Jeffrey Angles) [Words Without Borders] –

“The Half Dark Promise” by Malon Edwards [Shimmer] –

“Madeleine” by Amal El-Mohtar [Lightspeed] –

“The Monkey House” by Tade Thompson [Omenana] –

“Please, Momma” by Chesya Burke [Nightmare] –

“The Rainbow Flame by Shveta Thakrar [Uncanny] –

“A Song for You” by Jennifer Marie Brissett [Motherboard] –

“The Scale-Tree” by Raphael Ordoñez [Beneath Ceaseless Skies] –

“Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight” by Aliette de Bodard [Clarkesworld] –

“The Way of Walls and Words” by Sabrina Vourvoulias [] –

I expect I'll have more recommendations at the end of the year, but these are all stories I would highly recommend to anyone interested in current SF.

- Ryan Alexander

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Daibhid C 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure about actually nominating any of them for the Hugo, especially since they don't actually have titles, so I don't even know how that would work, but I can't resist recommending people check out Orjan Westin's flash-fiction Twitter feed @MicroSFF. If you want a brilliant sf idea distilled to 2-3 sentences, Orjan's your man.

(Declaration of interest: He's also an old friend from and I'm one of his translators, running the @MicroSFFSco account which translates some of them into Scots. When I remember, which isn't as often as I should.)

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Daibhid C 5 years, 4 months ago

In terms of actual Hugo noms, I don't have any, but I will definitely be checking out the stories recommended above.

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Kate 5 years ago

My nominations will include Kelly Robson's short story "Two-Year Man" and Paul McAuley's "Wild Honey", both from the August 2015 issue of Asimov's, and the following story from Tumblr, which I thought was a cracker: when she is born, they name her mary.

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Kate 5 years ago

Forgot one! Slow, by Lia Swope Mitchell. A corker!

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Erik Postma 4 years, 10 months ago

I, for one, will be nominating two of China Mieville's 3MoaE stories: "The Dowager of Bees" and "Dreaded Outcome". Bogglers of minds, both.

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