Annual Summation: 2018

It’s time once again to look back on the year’s coverage of magazines and their noted stories with tables, lists, and pictures!

(For actual reviews of the below, please see the “Monthly Summations,” which serve as tables of contents for all Featured Futures‘ reviews and other posts. For more on this blog, itself, please see the “About” page.)

Coverage

In 2018, Featured Futures covered these 21 magazines:

  1. Analog Science Fiction and Fact
  2. Apex Magazine
  3. Ares Magazine [defunct]
  4. Asimov’s Science Fiction
  5. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  6. Clarkesworld Magazine
  7. Compelling Science Fiction
  8. Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores
  9. Diabolical Plots
  10. Flash Fiction Online
  11. Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
  12. Grievous Angel [defunct]
  13. Lightspeed
  14. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  15. Nature (Futures)
  16. Nightmare
  17. Slate (Future Tense Fiction)
  18. Strange Horizons
  19. Terraform
  20. Tor.com
  21. Uncanny

I read 870 stories of 4.4 million words from those sources (and fifteen other irregular sources which were mostly read for Tangent reviews). Of those stories, 127 were noted, with 77 receiving honorable mentions, 50 being recommended, and 29 of those appearing in Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy #2 (2018 Stories). The breakdown of total stories, recommendations, and honorable mentions by zines (along with a column of “Year’s Best” selections) was:

          Zine    TS     R    HM  R+HM      R%     HM%   R+HM% |YB

        Analog    91     4     9    13   4.40%   9.89%  14.29% |2
          Apex    42     1     3     4   2.38%   7.14%   9.52% |1
          Ares     1     0     0     0   0.00%   0.00%   0.00% |0
      Asimov's    64     2     8    10   3.13%  12.50%  15.63% |1
           BCS    62     4     6    10   6.45%   9.68%  16.13% |3
  Clarkesworld    46     5     2     7  10.87%   4.35%  15.22% |3
    Compelling    11     3     1     4  27.27%   9.09%  36.36% |1
          CRES    13     1     1     2   7.69%   7.69%  15.38% |0
            DP    24     0     6     6   0.00%  25.00%  25.00% |0
           FFO    24     1     1     2   4.17%   4.17%   8.33% |1
           FSF    64     5     9    14   7.81%  14.06%  21.88% |5
            GA    17     0     2     2   0.00%  11.76%  11.76% |0
            GE    51     0     8     8   0.00%  15.69%  15.69% |0
    Lightspeed    53     5     5    10   9.43%   9.43%  18.87% |2
        Nature    51     3     2     5   5.88%   3.92%   9.80% |2
     Nightmare    23     2     1     3   8.70%   4.35%  13.04% |1
            SH    40     2     2     4   5.00%   5.00%  10.00% |1
         Slate    12     0     3     3   0.00%  25.00%  25.00% |0
     Terraform    45     1     1     2   2.22%   2.22%   4.44% |0
       Tor.com    26     4     2     6  15.38%   7.69%  23.08% |3
       Uncanny    33     2     1     3   6.06%   3.03%   9.09% |1

         TOTAL   793    45    73   118   5.67%   9.21%  14.88% |27

         Other    77     5     4     9   6.49%   5.19%  11.69% |2

Noted Stories

This is the complete list of those noted stories. The alphabet soup at the end indicates the category in the first chunk (SS=short story, NE=novelette, NA=novella), the genre in the second chunk (SF=science fiction, S-F=science fantasy, F=fantasy, H=horror, M=mainstream) and the third chunk is its status (HM=honorable mention, R=recommendation, YB=”Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy” selection, which is a “recommendation plus”). Stories are supposed to be alphabetized by author and then by title.

  • The Gift of Angels: an introduction” by Nina Allan, Clarkesworld #146, November 2018, NE/SF/R
  • Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby, Slate, March 26, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley, Diabolical Plots #43B, September 17, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Why We Don’t Go Back” by Simon Avery, Black Static #64, July/August 2018, NE/H/HM
  • The Ghoul Goes West” by Dale Bailey, Tor.com, January 17, 2018, NE/F/R
  • The Horror of Party Beach” by Dale Bailey, Lightspeed #101, October 2018, NE/S-F/HM
  • “True Jing” by Zack Be, Asimov’s, July/August 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • A Song of Home, the Organ Grinds” by James Beamon, Lightspeed #98, July 2018, SS/F/YB
  • The Forest Eats” by Santiago Belluco, Compelling #12, Winter 2018, SS/SF/R
  • “Physics Tomorrow” by Gregory Benford, Analog, March/April 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • A Waltz in Eternity” by Gregory Benford, Galaxy’s Edge #35, November/December 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • I’ll Get Back to You” by Ryan Bloom, Terraform, April 6, 2018, SS/SF/R
  • “Hainted” by Ashley Blooms, F&SF, July/August 2018, SS/F/YB
  • The Tale of the Scout and the Pachydormu” by Gregory Norman Bossert, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #262, October 11, 2018, NE/F/HM
  • Godzilla vs. Buster Keaton or: I Didn’t Even Need a Map” by Gary A. Braunbeck, Apex #114, November 2018, NE/F/HM
  • Cat and Mouse” by L.C. Brown, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, May 30, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Life from the Sky” by Sue Burke, Asimov’s, May/June 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • The Independence Patch” by Bryan Camp, Lightspeed #94, March 2018, SS/SF/YB
  • “Margin of Error” by Paul Carlson, Analog, January/February 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • The War of Light and Shadow, in Five Dishes” by Siobhan Carroll, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #247, March 15, 2018, SS/F/YB
  • “Assassin in the Clouds” by Robert R. Chase, Asimov’s, January/February 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • “Inquisitive” by Pip Coen, F&SF, May/June 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly, Tor.com, July 11, 2018, NE/F/HM
  • “Foster Earth” by Julie Czerneda, Amazing, Fall 2018, SS/SF/R
  • “In the Lost City of Leng” by Paul Di Filippo & Rudy Rucker, Asimov’s, January/February 2018, NA/S-F/HM
  • “The Baron and His Floating Daughter” by Nick DiChario, F&SF, November/December 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Being a Giant in Men’s World” by Walter Dinjos, Galaxy’s Edge, May 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep” by Buzz Dixon, Analog, May/June 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “Unstoppable” by Gardner Dozois, F&SF, May/June 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull, Diabolical Plots, June 15, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “3-adica” by Greg Egan, Asimov’s, September/October 2018, NA/SF/HM
  • The Nearest” by Greg Egan, Tor.com, July 19, 2018, NE/SF/YB
  • “A List of Forty-Nine Lies” by Steven Fischer, F&SF, January/February 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “Thanksgiving” by Jeffrey Ford, F&SF, November/December 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Ten and Ten” by Alan Dean Foster, Analog, January/February 2018, SS/SF/R
  • After the Story Ends” by M. E. Garber, Galaxy’s Edge #30, January 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Umbernight” by Carolyn Ives Gilman, Clarkesworld #137, February 2018, NA/SF/YB
  • Magic Potion Behind-the-Mountains” by Jaymee Goh, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #262, October 11, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Kylie Land” by Caspian Gray, Nightmare #70, July 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” by Daryl Gregory, Tor.com, September 19, 2018, NE/S-F/YB
  • Fleeing Oslyge” by Sally Gwylan, Clarkesworld #108, May 2018, NE/SF/R
  • “A Crystal Dipped in Dreams” by Auston Habershaw, Analog, July/August 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • This Big” by John Cooper Hamilton, Nature, March 21, 2018, SS/S-F/YB
  • The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy, Diabolical Plots #45B, November 16, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow, Apex #105, February 2018, SS/F/YB
  • The Ghost In Angelica’s Room” by Maria Haskins, Flash Fiction Online, March 2018, SS/F/YB
  • The Godhead Grimoire” by Sean Patrick Hazlett, Galaxy’s Edge #30, January 2018, SS/H/HM
  • You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You” by Maria Dahvana Headley, Lightspeed #100, September 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Variations on a Theme from Turandot” by Ada Hoffmann, Strange Horizons, May 14, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births” by Jose Pablo Iriarte, Lightspeed #92, January 2018, NE(SS?)/F/R
  • “Bury Me in the Rainbow” by Bill Johnson, Asimov’s, March/April 2018, NA/SF/HM
  • “The Camel’s Tail” by Tom Jolly, Analog, March/April 2018, NE/SF/YB
  • Driving Force” by Tom Jolly, Compelling #11, Summer 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Grace’s Family” by James Patrick Kelly, Tor.com, May 16, 2018, NE/SF/YB
  • Resigned” by Floris M. Kleijne, Galaxy’s Edge #33, July/August 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • The Thing About Ghost Stories” by Naomi Kritzer, Uncanny #25, November/December 2018, NE/F/YB
  • Carouseling” by Rich Larson, Clarkesworld #139, April 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “In Event of Moon Disaster” by Rich Larson, Asimov’s, March/April 2018, SS/SF/R
  • Octo-Heist in Progress” by Rich Larson, Clarkesworld #146, November 2018, SS/SF/YB
  • Penitents” by Rich Larson, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #245, February 15, 2018, SS/S-F/HM
  • For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay, Diabolical Plots #46B, December 17, 2018, SS/S-F/HM
  • “Broken Wings” by William Ledbetter, F&SF, July/August 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #244, February 1, 2018, SS/S-F/HM
  • “Harry and the Lewises” by Edward M. Lerner, Analog, September/October 2018, NA/SF/HM
  • “Left to Take the Lead” by Marissa Lingen, Analog, July/August 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • My Favourite Sentience” by Marissa Lingen, Nature, April 25, 2018, SS/SF/YB
  • Cosmic Spring” by Ken Liu, Lightspeed #94, March [15], 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Discard the Sun, for It Has Failed Us” by Marina J. Lostetter, Uncanny #22, May/June 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Requiem” by Christine Lucas, Nature, April 4, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Chasing the Start” by Evan Marcroft, Strange Horizons, July 9, 2018, NE/SF/R
  • A Night Out at a Nice Place” by Nick Mamatas, Apex #104, January 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “Captain Midrise” by Jim Marino, Apex #115, December 2018, SS/F/HM [link 12/18]
  • The Hydraulic Emperor” by Arkady Martine, Uncanny #20, January/February 2018, SS/SF/R
  • “The Last Biker Gang” by Wil McCarthy, Analog, May/June 2018, NA/SF/YB
  • Moonshot” by Andrew W. McCollough, Grievous Angel, April 18, 2018, SS/S-F/HM
  • What Is Eve?” by Will McIntosh, Lightspeed #95, April 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • Strange Waters” by Samantha Mills, Strange Horizons, April 2, 2018, SS/F/YB
  • Mother’s Rules for a Burned Girl” by Rebecca Mix, Flash Fiction Online, January 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Bride Before You” by Stephanie Malia Morris, Nightmare #68, May 2018, SS/H/R
  • Targeted Behavior” by J.D. Moyer, Compelling #11, Summer 2018, SS/SF/R
  • “In the Sharing Place” by David Erik Nelson, Asimov’s, September/October 2018, SS/S-F/YB
  • Cerise Sky Memories” by Wendy Nikel, Nature, October 3, 2018, SS/SF/R
  • The Horn of Amalthea” by George Nikolopoulos, Galaxy’s Edge #34, September/October 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Empress of Starlight” by G. David Nordley, Analog, November/December 2018, NE/SF/R
  • Like Smoke, Like Light” by Yukimi Ogawa, Strange Horizons, June 4, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Sicko” by Jerry Oltion, Analog, March/April 2018, SS/M/HM
  • “Hideous Flowerpots” by Susan Palwick, F&SF, March/April 2018, NE/F/YB
  • Recoveries” by Susan Palwick, Tor.com, June 20, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “The Lady of Butterflies” by Y. M. Pang, F&SF, November/December 2018, NE/F/YB
  • The Thought That Counts” by K.J. Parker, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #250, April 26, 2018, NE/F/YB
  • Lions and Gazelles” by Hannu Rajaniemi, Slate, September 27, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “Never the Twain” by Michael Reid, Interzone #274, March/April 2018, SS/S-F/YB
  • “baleen, baleen” by Alexandra Renwick, Interzone #274, March/April 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Sour Milk Girls” by Erin Roberts, Clarkesworld #136, January 2018, SS/SF/YB
  • Maximum Outflow” by Adam Rogers, Wired, December 17, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman, Diabolical Plots #41B, July 16, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “Joyride” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Asimov’s, November/December 2018, NA/SF/HM
  • “Hard Mary” by Sofia Samatar, Lightspeed #100, September 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep” by Nibedita Sen, Nightmare #69, June 2018, SS/F/YB
  • The Tragedy of Zayred the Splendid” by Grace Seybold, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #262, October 18, 2018, NE/F/HM
  • Redaction” by Adam R. Shannon, Compelling #11, Summer 2018, SS/SF/YB
  • “It Came from the Coffee Maker” by Martin L. Shoemaker, Analog, September/October 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Small Fortune and the Perpetual Luck Machine” by Alex Shvartsman, Galaxy’s Edge #34, September/October 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Overvalued” by Mark Stasenko, Slate, November 27, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “Starship Mountain” by Allen M. Steele, Asimov’s, July/August 2018, NA/SF/HM
  • “Likho” by Andy Stewart, F&SF, March/April 2018, NA/S-F/YB
  • An Aria for the Bloodlords” by Hannah Strom-Martin, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #242, January 4, 2018, NE/F/R
  • The Veilonaut’s Dream” by Henry Szabranski, Clarkesworld #143, August 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Cat Lady” by Susan Taitel, Galaxy’s Edge #35, November/December 2018, SS/F/HM
  • “The Harmonic Resonance of Ejiro Anaborhi” by Wole Talabi, F&SF, March/April 2018, SS/S-F/HM
  • Your Face” by Grace Tang, Nature, July 11, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • I Don’t Bite” by Nicole Tanquary, Grievous Angel, February 6, 2018, SS/H/HM
  • “Death and Natalie, Natalie and Death” by Jordan Taylor, On Spec #107, [April] 2018, SS/F/R
  • The Mirror Crack’d” by Jordan Taylor, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, September 30, 2018, SS/F/R
  • “The Monstrosity in Love” by Sam Thompson, Black Static #64, July/August 2018, SS/F/YB
  • “We Mete Justice with Beak and Talon” by Jeremiah Tolbert, F&SF, September/October 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • From the Root” by Emma Törzs, Lightspeed #97, June 2018, SS/S-F/R
  • “Crash-Site” by Brian Trent, F&SF, May/June 2018, NE/SF/HM
  • Jump” by Cadwell Turnbull, Lightspeed #100, September 2018, SS/F/R
  • Graduation in the Time of Yog-Sothoth” by James Van Pelt, Diabolical Plots #39B, May 16, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • Suite for Accompanied Cello” by Tamara Vardomskaya, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #242, January 4, 2018, SS/F/HM
  • A Most Elegant Solution” by M. Darusha Wehm, Terraform, April 27, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • Compulsory” by Martha Wells, Wired, December 17, 2018, SS/SF/HM
  • “The Blockage” by Jack Westlake, Black Static #64, July/August 2018, SS/H/R
  • Shadowdrop” by Chris Willrich, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #261, September 27, 2018, NA/F/YB
  • “Galatea in Utopia” by Nick Wolven, F&SF, January/February 2018, NE/SF/YB
  • “Until We Are Utterly Destroyed” by Frank Wu, Analog, July/August 2018, NE/SF/HM

Edit (2019-01-17): Reclassified a magazine from “covered” to “irregular” and recalculated numbers and tables.

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Annual Summation: 2017

This summation has three parts. The first is a list and slideshow of the magazines Featured Futures covered in 2017, with statistics and lists of the stories read and recommended from them. The second is a list of this blog’s popular posts and most-visited stories, with a pitch for some “underclicked” stories. The third is a note about some non-webzine readings I did for Tangent.

Zines, Readings, and Recs

In 2017, Featured Futures covered these fifteen webzines:

  1. Apex Magazine
  2. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  3. Clarkesworld Magazine
  4. Compelling Science Fiction
  5. Diabolical Plots
  6. Fantastic Stories of the Imagination (defunct)
  7. Flash Fiction Online
  8. Grievous Angel
  9. Lightspeed
  10. Nature (Futures)
  11. Nightmare
  12. Strange Horizons
  13. Terraform
  14. Tor.com
  15. Uncanny

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I read 509 stories of 2.1 million words from those sources (including a handful of stories from other webzines). Of those 509 stories, 100 received either an honorable mention (50, including two from those others) or a recommendation (50, 26 of which are also noted for having appeared in the “Web’s Best” posts which are linked to in the “Popular Posts” section below). (That there were exactly 100 of 50 and 50 is a bizarre fluke.) The breakdown of total stories, recommendations, and honorable mentions by zines (along with a column of “Web’s Best” selections) was:

          Zine    TS     R    HM  R+HM      R%     HM%   R+HM% | WB
                                                               |
          Apex    36     3     1     4   8.33%   2.78%  11.11% |  3
           BCS    53     6     2     8  11.32%   3.77%  15.09% |  2
  Clarkesworld    46     5     2     7  10.87%   4.35%  15.22% |  3
    Compelling    31     4     7    11  12.90%  22.58%  35.48% |  1
            DP    20     0     0     0   0.00%   0.00%   0.00% |  0
     Fantastic     2     0     0     0   0.00%   0.00%   0.00% |  0
           FFO    32     4     4     8  12.50%  12.50%  25.00% |  2
            GA    29     3     1     4  10.34%   3.45%  13.79% |  0
    Lightspeed    43     5     9    14  11.63%  20.93%  32.56% |  5
        Nature    51     5     7    12   9.80%  13.73%  23.53% |  2
     Nightmare    20     1     2     3   5.00%  10.00%  15.00% |  1
            SH    35     2     1     3   5.71%   2.86%   8.57% |  1
     Terraform    23     1     2     3   4.35%   8.70%  13.04% |  0
       Tor.com    47     7     6    13  14.89%  12.77%  27.66% |  4
       Uncanny    34     4     4     8  11.76%  11.76%  23.53% |  2
                                                               |
         TOTAL   502    50    48    98   9.96%   9.56%  19.52% | 26
                                                               |
         Other     7     0     2     2   0.00%  28.57%  28.57% |  0

The following is the complete list of those noted stories. The alphabet soup at the end indicates the category in the first chunk (SS=short story, NE=novelette, NA=novella), the genre in the second chunk (SF=science fiction, F=fantasy, H=horror, M=mainstream and the tilde (~) indicates my category differs from the webzine’s) and the third chunk is its status (HM=honorable mention, R=recommendation, WB=”Web’s Best” selection, which is a “recommendation plus”). Stories are supposed to be alphabetized by author and then title.

Popular (and Less Popular) Posts and Stories

The top five posts (plus one from the few days this blog was live last year) were:

  1. Web’s Best Science Fiction #1 (2017 Stories)
  2. Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!)
  3. Web’s Best Fantasy #1 (2017 Stories)
  4. Summation of Online Fiction: January 2017
  5. Links to Stories the Big SF/F Editors Picked As Their Favorites of 2016
  6. Summation of Online Fiction: August 2017

Even more popular than any post is, of course, the very user-friendly home page (which also throws any individual post stats into question) and the second most popular thing is the List of Webzines page. Even folks who have no interest in this site can make use of it, so that’s not surprising. One thing I’d like to point out, though, is that the relatively new page, List of Professional SF/F/H Magazines (which includes the pro webzines), so far has not been visited like the webzine list but is also generally useful and will be more relevant to this site’s coverage in 2018. Aside from that, I don’t feel like trying to drum up traffic for any overlooked posts/pages but the actual point of this site is to promote good short speculative fiction so I thought paying attention to the story hits would be a good thing to do. The top five visited stories (not clicks on my recommendation posts but clicks out to the stories themselves) were:

  1. Little /^^^\&-” by Eric Schwitzgebel, Clarkesworld #132, September 2017, SF short story
  2. Cease and Desist” by Tyler Young, Nature, 2017-01-18, SF short story
  3. Uncanny Valley” by Greg Egan, Tor.com, 2017-08-09, SF novelette
  4. A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Clarkesworld #124, January 2017, SF novelette
  5. This Is for You” by Bruce McAllister, Lightspeed #84, May 2017, SF short story/

All of those were in the Web’s Best Science Fiction which received a relatively massive influx of visitors (hi, Facebook!) and a similar flood of clicks. Particularly glad to see the clicks on the Egan and Prasad which I chose as the bookends because they were the longest, strongest stories and both of which need to win some kind of award for novelette.

I do want to draw attention to some selections from the relatively “underclicked” stories. It’s quite possible that vast numbers of people have seen these stories without Featured Futures being a factor and I just don’t see the clicks here but, relatively speaking, I’d have liked to see them get more hits.

  • Sweetlings” by Lucy Taylor, Tor.com, 2017-05-03, SF novelette
  • The Garbage Doll” by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Nightmare #53, February 2017, horror short story
  • The Dead Father Cookbook” by Ashley Blooms, Strange Horizons, 2017-07-17, fantasy short story
  • Penelope Waits” by Dennis Danvers, Apex #101, October 2017, science fiction short story
  • The Black Clover Equation” by Zach Shephard, Flash Fiction Online, April 2017, fantasy short story

“The Black Clover Equation” is a hilarious apocalypse and takes a comical scientific method into a world of leprechauns and luck, so is fundamentally fantasy. “Sweetlings” takes a horror sensibility into a world of punctuated equilibrium and climate change so, even if compressed and exaggerated to the point of fantasy, is rhetorically science fiction. “The Garbage Doll” is very dark fantasy or actual horror and “The Dead Father Cookbook,” while just plain damn weird, is also kind of a horrific tale if you look at it a certain way. So I’m not generally a fan of genre-fuzz and am not the biggest horror fan and maybe Featured Futures readers aren’t either, but I thought these were all remarkable tales. I have no theory for “Penelope Waits.” It is a fairly conventional SF tale in many ways but is so well done that it seems like it should win some readers. Except for it and “Sweetlings” (which both made the Web’s Best Science Fiction), all of these made Web’s Best Fantasy which was a very popular post but was overwhelmed by the popularity of Web’s Best Science Fiction.

Tangent(ial) Note

The Other 2017 Recommendations post mostly covers this, but I wanted to update it here because I did a late review of Weirdbook #37. That brings the total up to twenty-two reviews for Tangent, thirteen of which weren’t of webzines. The total non-webzine stories read for Tangent is 95 (bringing the overall total to 604 stories). I don’t know the word count but using the average word count of webzine stories (4,198, which is low because printzines, anthologies, and especially chapbook novellas generally have greater average word counts) it’s at least another 400K (bringing the total to over 2.5 million words).

One thing that can be derived from this is that, if fifteen professional webzines and a few Tangent reviews amount to that, and there are dozens of other webzines and dozens or hundreds of other Tangent reviews (and even all that wouldn’t grab every single story), I think it’s safe to say the speculative short fiction market is very healthy – maybe too healthy. And, as there were a handful of significant zines of broad appeal in the 60s-90s along with a few dominant broadcast channels that reached almost everyone, now there’s a cable-ization of short speculative fiction with dozens of markets being read by perhaps niche readerships. This has its good and bad effects but it certainly makes for interesting times and many millions of words a year to read.