I am shamefully, SHAMEFULLY behind on my reading for the past year. Part of it is because I went to Clarion West, then I restarted grad school, then I ended up in the hospital (twice) and so… blargh.
And the rest of it is because I fail at life.
As such, I feel a little weird writing a Recommended Reading list for the various awards, but I there were *some* stories that I read this year and I feel bad *not* recommending them just because they’re part of a small select group of ‘I saw you, I started you, I liked you enough to finish, and you’re still on my mind months later.’ So while I can’t definitively say that these are the BEST stories of the entire year, I can definitively say that I really, really liked them. And I think you would too.
(And maybe as I read more in the next few months, I can expand my list and rank them and things like that)
The Ballad of Marisol Brook by Sarah Grey — I liked this story for its lyricism as well as the way it dealt with (literally) the objectification of women.
The Penitent by M. Bennardo — I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this story since I read it. It’s definitely a story story… I wouldn’t call it a political or particularly artsy piece… it’s just… unsettling. And weird. And flawlessly written.
In Another Life by Kelly Sandoval — A story about love and obsession and letting go and holding on. Lovely and sad. Just the way I like it.
The Revelation of Morgan Stern by Christie Yant — It’s hard to decide which I like better: the story or the story behind the story. But only one could be nominated, so I’ll just link to the story (edited because I recently discovered it’s on Drabblecast… originally appeared in Shimmer 16).
Ghost Days by Ken Liu (novelette) — If you’re familiar with Ken’s other stories, I would peg this as more in line with ‘The Paper Menagerie’ than say ‘Good Hunting’ or ‘The Waves’. There’s a scene between a character Fred who is Chinese-American and the (white) father of Fred’s date which is just chilling. And creepy. And fantastic. And brilliant.
Also, though I don’t have a Hugo membership and can’t vote for the Campbell, I would like to throw in my vicarious vote for Brooke Bolander. I’ve also heard good things about Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and of course you should check out the Campbell Anthology that David Blake puts together since I know there are many more promising writers out there that I simply haven’t come across yet.
Some other posts written by people who read more than I did this year:
Aliette de Bodard’s Recommended Reading List
Ken Liu’s List
Fran Wilde on the Campbell Award