Links (2018-03-14)

I let this one get away from me just like the last one. On the upside, there almost has to be something of interest for almost everyone reading it. (By the way, if anyone wants to send me links for these posts or comment on anything, please do.)



Definitions of dystopia.






  • Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Could Disappear Within 20 Years. Or not. It’d be weird if it did, though. Not even Earth’s continents are permanent features but somehow Jupiter wouldn’t seem like Jupiter without it.
  • A Plausible Path for Life on Enceladus. I’d gotten to the point where I’d usually groan when modern SF featured life in this system because it had come to seem so unlikely (and still is in most depictions) but this is an interesting argument. I still wouldn’t count on it, but it definitely seems possible.
  • Computation Between the Stars. Science fiction writers, read this. Another intriguing attempt to answer the Fermi question.


  • In sad news, I learned today that one of the giants of the 20th century science will no longer be part of the crew as we continue into the 21st century on Spaceship Earth: Stephen Hawking Biography (1942-2018).
  • In prior sad news, SF Site informed me that Peter Nicholls, founder of one of science fiction’s monuments, the Encylopedia of Science Fiction, died. SFE, itself, has a memorial piece: Peter Nicholls (1939-2018) (thanks to File 770).

 Science Fiction

Magazines and Short Fiction




  • Black Gate » Doubling Down, or Just How Bad Are Ace Doubles, Anyway?. An exuberant review of the good, the bad, and the ugly of an SF publishing institution.
  • In Praise of Negative Reviews | Rafia Zakaria. This is more about books than stories and may even have a different kind of “review” in mind but it still applies in part. It decries the number of trophies given out for participation these days and I agree with that much. I particularly like the points on inclusion and on the general meaninglessness of uniform praise. If I like a story, interested parties know I really like the story. (Thanks to File 770.)


Been reveling in Downside Up. Have some!

Continue reading


Expanded Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, Links)

By request, this is an expanded edition of Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!). That post collates and links to the stories selected by Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan. This will add Afsharirad, Best American SF&F, Datlow, and Guran. (As in the other list, I’ve also noted whether I’ve read them and, if so, whether they got an honorable mention, a recommendation, or were recommendations which made my Web’s Best Science Fiction or Web’s Best Fantasy.)

This post will be updated as more editors make their announcements and will continue to be updated if I find links to more stories or wonderful people tell me about them. (See the end of the post for the full ChangeLog/Credits.)

Latest change: 2018-03-02: Added links to “Focus,” “Nexus,” and “Time Travel Is Only for the Poor” from the Analog Reader’s Award finalists. Thanks to Laura.

Four Annuals: Clarke, Dozois, Horton, Strahan

Three Annuals: Clarke, Dozois, Strahan

Three Annuals: Clarke, Horton, Strahan

Three Annuals: Dozois, Horton,  Strahan

  • Sidewalks”, Maureen McHugh (Omni) [read late]

Two Annuals: Clarke, Dozois

Two Annuals: Clarke, Horton

  • “The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse”, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Extrasolar) [unread]
  • Extracurricular Activities”, Yoon Ha Lee ( [read]
  • ZeroS”, Peter Watts (Infinity Wars) [recommended]

Two Annuals: Dozois, Horton

  • “Winter Timeshare”, Ray Nayler (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [read]
  • “Starlight Express”, Michael Swanwick (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) [recommended]

Two Annuals: Dozois, Strahan

  • “My English Name”, R. S. Benedict (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) [unread]
  • “The Moon is Not a Battlefield”, Indrapramit Das (Infinity Wars) [read]

Two Annuals: Horton, Strahan

One Annual: Clarke

  • “Shadows of Eternity”, Gregory Benford (Extrasolar) [unread]
  • “In Everlasting Wisdom”, Aliette de Bodard (Infinity Wars) [recommended]
  • “Belly Up”, Maggie Clark (Analog) [unread]
  • “Every Hour of Light and Dark”, Nancy Kress (Omni) [unread]
  • The Last Novelist, or a Dead Lizard in the Yard”, Matthew Kressel ( [recommended]
  • “Meridian”, Karin Lowachee (Where the Stars Rise) [unread]
  • Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship”, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Diabolical Plots) [read]
  • Wind Will Rove”, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [read late]
  • The Speed of Belief”, Robert Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [recommended]
  • “Holdfast”, Alastair Reynolds (Extrasolar) [unread]
  • Focus”, Gord Sellar (Analog) [unread]
  • Shikasta”, Vandana Singh (Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities) [read late]
  • “A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World”, A.C. Wise (Sunvault) [unread]

One Annual: Datlow (unread unless otherwise noted)

  • “Liquid Air”, Inna Effress (Nightscript III)
  • “The Starry Crown”, Marc E. Fitch (Horror Library: Volume 6)
  • “Fail-Safe”, Philip Fracassi (Behold the Void)
  • “Shepherd’s Business”, Stephen Gallagher (New Fears)
  • “You Can Stay All Day”, Mira Grant (Nights of the Living Dead)
  • “The Granfalloon”, Orrin Grey (Darker Companions)
  • “West of Matamoros, North of Hell”, Brian Hodge (Dark Screams: Volume Seven)
  • “Better You Believe”, Carole Johnstone (Horror Library: Volume 6)
  • “Lost in the Dark”, John Langan (Haunted Nights)
  • Dark Warm Heart“, Rich Larson ( [read]
  • “Where’s the Harm?”, Rebecca Lloyd (Seven Strange Stories)
  • “There and Back Again”, Carmen Machado (Mixed Up)
  • “Eqalussuaq”, Tim Major (Not One of Us)
  • “Alligator Point”, S. P. Miskowski (Looming Low: Volume I)
  • “Holiday Romance”, Mark Morris (Black Static)
  • “Whatever Comes After Calcutta”, David Erik Nelson (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “Endoskeletal”, Sarah Read (Black Static)
  • A Human Stain“, Kelly Robson ( [honorable mention]
  • “Furtherest”, Kaaron Warren (Dark Screams: Volume Seven)
  • Harvest Song, Gathering Song“, A. C. Wise (The Dark)
  • “The Stories We Tell about Ghosts”, A. C. Wise (Looming Low: Volume I)

One Annual: Dozois

  • “Mines”, Eleanor Arnason (Infinity Wars) [read]
  • Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics“, Jessica Barber and Sara Saab (Clarkesworld) [read]
  • “The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun”, Aliette de Bodard (Cosmic Powers) [unread]
  • The Hunger After You’re Fed“, James S.A. Corey (Wired) [read late]
  • The Martian Job, Jaine Fenn [unread]
  • Nexus“, Michael F. Flynn (Analog) [unread]
  • “The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs”, Kelly Jennings (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) [unread]
  • “Whending My Way Back Home”, Bill Johnson (Analog) [honorable mention]
  • “Canoe”, Nancy Kress (Extrasolar) [unread]
  • “Dear Sarah”, Nancy Kress (Infinity Wars) [read]
  • Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe“, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld) [read]
  • “There Used to Be Olive Trees”, Rich Larson (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) [unread]
  • “Triceratops”, Ian McHugh (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [unread]
  • “The Influence Machine”, Sean McMullen (Interzone) [unread]
  • Prime Meridian, Silvia Moreno-Garcia [unread]
  • “The Proving Ground”, Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog) [read]
  • Number Thirty-Nine Skink“, Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [unread]
  • “The Residue of Fire”, Robert Reed (Extrasolar) [unread]
  • “Night Passage”, Alastair Reynolds (Infinite Stars) [unread]
  • Vanguard 2.0“, Carter Scholz (Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities) [read late]
  • Assassins“, Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier (Clarkesworld) [read]
  • “Elephant on Table”, Bruce Sterling (Chasing Shadows) [unread]
  • “The Road to the Sea”, Lavie Tidhar (Sunvault) [unread]
  • “Zigeuner”, Harry Turtledove (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [unread]

One Annual: Horton

One Annual: Strahan

  • “The Mocking Tower”, Daniel Abraham (The Book of Swords) [unread]
  • Probably Still the Chosen One”, Kelly Barnhill (Lightspeed) [honorable mention]
  • The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [recommended late]
  • Crispin’s Model”, Max Gladstone ( [honorable mention]
  • Come See the Living Dryad”, Theodora Goss ( [recommended]
  • “Bring Your Own Spoon”, Saad Z. Hossain (The Djinn Falls in Love) [unread]
  • “Babylon”, Dave Hutchison, 2084 [unread]
  • The Faerie Tree”, Kathleen Kayembe (Lightspeed) [honorable mention]
  • “Fairy Tale of Wood Street”, Caitlin R Kiernan (Sirenia Digest) [unread]
  • The Worshipful Society of Glovers”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny) [read]
  • “The Chameleon’s Gloves”, Yoon Ha Lee (Cosmic Powers) [unread]
  • “The Smoke of Gold is Glory”, Scott Lynch (The Book of Swords) [unread]
  • Concessions”, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons) [read]
  • “Belladonna Nights”, Alastair Reynolds (The Weight of Words) [unread]
  • “Eminence”, Karl Schroeder (Chasing Shadows) [unread]
  • The Lamentation of their Women”, Kai Ashante Wilson ( [read]
  • Confessions of a Con Girl”, Nick Wolven (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [read late]
  • Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) [read]


  • 2017-12-15: Jonathan Strahan announced the contents of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Volume 12. (Thanks to dolphintornsea at the F&SF forums.)
  • 2017-12-16: found and added links to the stories from Boston Review and Omni.
  • 2017-12-24 (updated the 26th): Gardner Dozois announced the contents of The Year’s Best Science Fiction: ThirtyFifth Annual Collection. Thanks to Roger Silverstein for the tip and Lavie Tidhar for posting it for the Facebook-challenged and showing up in the search engine.
  • 2018-01-23: Neil Clarke announced the contents of The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3.
  • 2018-02-01: added link to Buckell’s “Zen” reprint.
  • 2018-02-07: moved this stuff to the bottom in a Changelog because it was pushing the stories down too far. 😉
  • 2018-02-07: added links to four Asimov’s stories (“Grimes,” “Wind,” “Turing,” “Confessions”). Thanks to RSR.
  • 2018-02-09: added contents of Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition. Thanks to dolphintornsea at the F&SF forums for alerting me and to Horton for posting the full contents.
  • 2018-02-10: added neglected link to Fowler’s Asimov’s story. (Thanks to Laura.)
  • 2018-02-14: added link to Watts’ “ZeroS.” (Thanks to Laura, and a belated thanks to Roger Silverstein, whose tip I missed.)
  • 2018-02-16: added link to Samatar’s “Account.” (Thanks to Laura.)
  • 2018-02-22: Added Datlow’s table of contents for The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten. Thanks to C. C. Finlay at the F&SF forum for linking to Datlow’s announcement.
  • 2018-02-23: Added links to “,” “Number Thirty-Nine Skink,” and “The Speed of Belief” from the Asimov’s Reader’s Awards finalists, Thanks to File 770.

Links (2018-02-12)

The last link post was almost a month ago (January 17) so there are a bunch of links in this one. I kept meaning to post this and never getting around to it and it kept growing though I have deleted some links I was originally going to post.





  • A mosquito’s foot at 800X magnification – Imgur. Found this via The Art of Darkness. However cool (and creepy) you think this is likely to be, it’s probably more so.
  • The Likelihood of Massive Exomoons
  • SF and Nonsense: Space-y matters. “Space-y Matters” includes several links of its own. I picked three to specially note here. On the first, it’s nice to see someone trying to explain stuff without resorting to space fairies and, on the last, speaking of space fairies, I don’t know that it rules out the early manufacturing stages of a Dyson sphere on the one hand and, even if it is just dust, it begs the question why this one system has its very own special fairy dust no other system has. The article does eventually touch on that, but it’s just as important as the “final explanation,” itself. The middle one is just cool. Could be.

Science Fiction


Specific Authors

Black Gate has been running a lot of birthday reviews as well as a few interesting general reviews and, of course, many people also do their own birthday things, as well as other memorials. Also, because I picked up another Arthur C. Clarke non-fiction work recently, I was wondering if I had everything I wanted and found a neat resource.

Arthur C. Clarke

C. M. Kornbluth

Ursula K. Le Guin (There were naturally a few billion of these but these are two distinctive ones that aren’t from the usual suspects.)

Katherine MacLean

C. L. Moore (and Henry Kuttner)

John Shirley

James Tiptree, Jr.


Here are some interviews, notices, and tunes that won’t be of interest to anyone other than fans of C.O.C. and vintage thrash. Continue reading

Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan’s Annuals, etc.

The contents of the “big four” general SF/F anthologies have now been announced. I’ve updated my “Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!)” and thought I’d let folks know that. I also thought I’d see what happened in relation to the stories I thought were among the Web’s Best Science Fiction and the Web’s Best Fantasy.

For the SF:

All four annuals:

  • The Martian Obelisk * Linda Nagata *, July 19, 2017 [Clarke, Dozois, Horton, Strahan]

Three annuals:

  • A Series of Steaks * Vina Jie-Min Prasad * Clarkesworld #124, January 2017 [Clarke, Dozois, Strahan]

Two annuals:

  • Uncanny Valley * Greg Egan *, August 9, 2017 [Clarke, Dozois]

One annual:

  • This Is for You * Bruce McAllister * Lightspeed #84, May 2017 [Horton]

Just me:

  • Penelope Waits * Dennis Danvers * Apex #101, October 2017
  • Fool’s Cap * Andy Dudak * Clarkesworld #129, June 2017
  • Rising Star * Stephen Graham Jones * Uncanny #15, March/April 2017
  • Tav * Dustin Kennedy * Compelling #5, February/March 2017
  • Seven Permutations of My Daughter * Lina Rather * Lightspeed #83, April 2017
  • Little /^^^\&- * Eric Schwitzgebel * Clarkesworld #132, September 2017
  • Sweetlings * Lucy Taylor *, May 3, 2017
  • Legale * Vernor Vinge * Nature, August 9, 2017
  • Cease and Desist * Tyler Young * Nature, January 18, 2017

Every editor has a sizable selection of stories unique to that editor and that’s good because variety is the spice (and having fewer duplicates makes for a better reading value).

For fantasy, it’s rather different as it’s only covered by the fantasy portions of Horton and Strahan and, there, I thought one of the best fantasy stories on the web in 2017 was:

Though She Be But Little * C. S. E. Cooney * Uncanny #18, September/October 2017

Horton and Strahan thought so, too, but that was it. My other twelve selections are… pleasingly distinctive. 🙂

Anyway, please go check out the collated list of selections brought to you by the pros and go ahead and give my “Web’s Bests” a look if you’re so inclined. Congrats to all the editors on their selections and the authors on their stories!

Good News (Clarke), Bad News (Le Guin)

Neil Clarke has announced the contents of his “Year’s Best” and I’ve updated my Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!).

Le Guin was quite a bit more than a novelist and wrote less fantasy, strictly speaking, than other things but, eh, mainstream media. A major loss to the field. (Update: 6:33 PM: they’ve actually updated and substantially lengthened the article, so it’s much better, though the title’s unchanged.)

Ursula K. Le Guin, Whose Novels Plucked Truth From High Fantasy, Dies At 88 : The Two-Way : NPR

Links (2018-01-17)

Artist’s rendering of solar sail vessels in the GJ 436 system – Credit: Denis Bajram/UNIGE (via Centauri Dreams)


The Art of Darkness continues to amuse with things “Seen Online.” Particularly love the kicker of the New Year’s resolutions.


The History Blog tells us about an unusual used book. First edition, but with some slight dampstaining and, uh, cannon crumpling. “First book remains found in Blackbeard’s ship.”


CBS tells us that “Judges order redo of North Carolina’s partisan congressional districts.” Happy day! (Now if the General Assembly will actually obey and if similar measures will be applied to Maryland and all other radically unrepresentative states controlled by any party.)

Analog‘s previous editor returns for a remarkable guest editorial, “Educational Challenge.” Much like gerrymandering, reaction to this shouldn’t depend on what party you play for or any political opinions most people have. This is about assaults on the reason and reality almost all of us share. Stanley Schmidt and Ben Bova (who is name-dropped) aren’t exactly left-wing any more than Moynihan and Sagan (who are also mentioned) are right-wing.

Motherboard has an article and two follow-ups on a Constitutional assault most people don’t seem concerned about: “Congress Is About to Vote On Expanding the Warrantless Surveillance of Americans,” “The House Just Voted to Expand Warrantless Surveillance of US Citizens,” and (this is Rand Paul’s purpose in the universe) “5 Senators Are Filibustering an Attempt to Expand Warrantless Surveillance of Americans.”

Motherboard strikes again with a good “ha ha, only serious” article: “Jeff Bezos Should Give Me Some Money.”


Paris Review gives us a book review of/foreword to/advertisement for “The Reader Over Your Shoulder,” which prompted me to get the book though, so far, it doesn’t seem to be living up to its promotion. Still an interesting article which delivers a couple of key precepts which I obviously need to learn.

Black Gate continues its birthday review series, this time celebrating Algis Budrys, an author with, IMO, one of the highest actual-greatness-to-acknowledged-greatness ratios.


Martian Ice Crystals and Quantum Time Crystals has another story the like of which I’ve heard many times before and tend to disbelieve but it’d be nice if it turned out to be accurate. “Big Sheets of Water Ice Lie Just Beneath the Surface of Mars.”

Motherboard had an interesting (but ultimately redundant) article which led me to an older but even more interesting article: “OK, WTF Is a Time Crystal?” Maybe a component of a quantum computer among other things.

Centauri Dreams

I’ve been catching up on my Centauri Dreams reading. (There are so many articles that are so long that I frequently fall behind.) Here are five, of the last twenty-eight or so I’ve read, that most impressed me. The first and last are both guest articles and deal with METI and SETI, respectively. (METI/SETI aren’t areas of special interest for me—except negatively for METI—but these are exceptions.) The other three feature some odd objects.


Thanatos doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo that 2017 is over. Someday I’d like to be able to post a tune “just because” rather than as a memorial. Here are three more tunes for two more memorials:

Continue reading

Special Edition: Links (2018-01-02)

I don’t really have enough material to make a Links post and, with the year-end/first-of-month thing, I have been and will be posting too much anyway but there are a couple of things I want to note. First, this is Isaac Asimov’s birthday and National Science Fiction Day and I wanted to pay tribute to my favorite science fiction writer. Here are a couple of things from around the web on that.

Happy birthday, Isaac!

Second, I’m happy to note that Rocket Stack Rank has added me to quite an estimable group of reviewers in their “Recommended by” list. This especially means something to me since I consider RSR to be one of the top review sites. Beware that second link – it’s a time sink. But a fun one! 🙂

For more usual Link-age, here’s a charmingly naive piece about a very important issue. I’m sure Mickey Mouse will strike again this year.

And to end on a hilarious note, I enjoy Ansible generally, but “Thog’s Masterclass” is probably my single favorite thing. I usually get at least a chuckle and sometimes I suffer/enjoy paroxysms of laughter that leave my stomach hurting. This month’s edition is of the latter variety.