Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2018 Stories, Links)

Welcome to the third annual linked collation of annuals or “year’s bests.” As the contents of the Afsharirad, BASFF, Clarke, Datlow, Guran, Horton, Shearman/Kelly, and Strahan science fiction, fantasy, and horror annuals are announced, they will be combined into one master list with links to the stories which are available online. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy some of them and that will help you decide which annual or annuals, if any, to purchase.

(There will often be information after the story’s place of publication. In the case of stories with multiple selections, the initials of the last names of the editors or editing team who selected it will be present. If a story has “Read,” “HM,” “Rec,” or “YB” after it, it indicates that I’ve read it and, if so, whether it got an honorable mention or a recommendation when I reviewed it, or was a recommendation which made my virtual Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy #2 (2018 Stories). Stories in the last three categories are in bold font.)

You may also be interested in the previous posts in this series which cover 2017 stories and 2016 stories.

This 2018 edition is in remembrance of Gardner Dozois.

Latest change (see Changelog/Credits below for details): 2018-12-18.

One Annual

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Thirteen, Strahan, ed.


Changelog/Credits:

  • 2018-12-16: First version of this year’s collation posted after Jonathan Strahan announced the contents of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 13 the day before.
  • 2018-12-18: Removed the “Firelight” link which went to a teaser instead of the complete story. (Sorry about that.) Thanks to Roger Silverstein for pointing it out.
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Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy #2 (2018 Stories)

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Introduction

This second annual virtual anthology of the year’s best speculative fiction differs in four primary ways from last year’s Web’s Best Science Fiction #1 (2017 Stories) and Web’s Best Fantasy #1 (2017 Stories). Rather than restricting my coverage to web magazines as in 2017, I added coverage of several 2018 print magazines which created a much larger pool of stories to choose from. Thus, the word count for the “best” stories has increased from 140,000 to 250,000 words. Further, those words were evenly divided between two volumes of science fictional and fantastic stories but have now been combined into a single volume with three sections of uneven story and word counts. Finally, because of some of this, I renamed it to Year’s Best Short Science Fiction and Fantasy.

What hasn’t changed is the principle of selecting (to repeat the first introduction’s quote of the late Gardner Dozois) “only those stories that honestly and forcibly struck me as being the best published during that year, with no consideration for log-rolling, friendship, fashion, politics, or any other kind of outside influence.” And there’s still the same qualification to that: for variety’s sake, if multiple stories are by the same author or have strikingly similar elements, I try to select only one. Similarly, I’ve attempted to sequence the stories for a varied reading experience rather than any other principle. (The sequencing may not be ideal, though, as I wasn’t planning to do it this time, because not everyone will be able to read all the stories, but I wasn’t happy with other ordering methods.)

So what are the specifics of these principles and what sort of compilation did they produce? From December 11, 2017 to December 9, 2018 I read nearly 900 stories (872, I think) from 22 magazines (Amazing, Analog, Apex, Ares, Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Compelling, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Diabolical Plots, F&SF, Flash Fiction Online, Galaxy’s Edge, Grievous Angel, Lightspeed, Nature, Nightmare, Slate, Strange Horizons, Terraform, Tor.com, and Uncanny) plus occasional issues from others. I selected 29 stories from fourteen of those regular, and two irregular, magazines which, despite the increased word count, is only three more stories than last year. The main reason for this is that last year there were several flash or very short pieces and no novellas while this year there are only three flash pieces and four novellas (which ironically include two from the web).

Partly due to the increased coverage and word count and partly due to an intrinsic quality of some of the best fiction, I felt it was better to split the fiction into three sections called “Natural,” “Pseudonatural,” and “Supernatural” fiction. The natural stories are science fiction stories which, while they might push the boundaries or make mistakes, are stories set in this space/time continuum and deal with things intended to represent the physical phenomena of nature while supernatural stories are fantasy stories which slip those mortal coils and deal with ghosts, vampires, spells, or otherwise purely fantastic things. There were a number of stories, though, which didn’t quite fit either category but which might be called alternate history, steampunk, rationalized fantasy, science fantasy, etc. They may insert fantastic elements into a science fictional milieu or apply the scientific method to fantastic things or at least approach them in a particularly reasoning and empirical way. They may be set in different timelines or use imaginary science or otherwise stress the notion of natural plausibility without sacrificing literary quality. Or they may just oscillate back and forth between genres while being experienced, like optical illusions.

Each section’s story count is not identical but happens to have come out close though the wordage of the “natural” stories (114K) dominated the rest and the “pseudonatural” stories (58K) formed the smallest group. If forced to pigeonhole everything as either SF or F, I’d probably split the “pseudonatural” category titles evenly between them. In terms of quality, I felt the SF in the first volume was generally stronger than the fantasy but this year produced numerous especially powerful fantasies.

As I did last year, I once again wish I could present more than three space-based or extra-terrestrial stories in the “natural” section and almost substituted one cluster of stories for another to achieve that but, strictly on quality, decided not to. I wish there were more combinations of Nina Allen’s “A Gift of Angels” (a beautifully written but almost mainstream story) and G. David Nordley’s “Empress of Starlight” (a huge toybox of Big Dumb Objects and interstellar exploration/adventure without appealing characters) but most excellent stories, if not that lopsided, still excel more in one domain than the other.

One type there was more than enough of, which cuts across subgenres, is the “Young Adult” or “juvenile” tale. More than one good story failed to appear in this group due to an excess of that type and they still make up over a third of the titles. On the one hand, this shows the remarkable quality of such stories and that’s a good thing but, while “YA,” I’m not sure how many young adults they’d actually excite. I can only hope it’s a lot.

A last thing to note about the contents is that 26 authors make their first appearance this year with only Ashley Blooms, Greg Egan, and Susan Palwick repeating.

As a final note on the field generally, the magazine is dead! Long live the magazine! Ares and Grievous Angel no sooner became SFWA-qualifying markets than they died. While Grievous Angel lasted most of the year, Ares died before I ever saw an actual issue and after I’d read only one story which was released on their website. To make up for this, Amazing (the cat of science fiction magazines) was reborn yet again and The Dark raised its pay rate to an SFWA-qualifying level. Here’s hoping they not only survive to qualify but prosper after doing so.

Part One: Natural Fiction (Science Fiction)

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Umbernight” * Carolyn Ives Gilman
Clarkesworld #137, February 2018

The Independence Patch” * Bryan Camp
Lightspeed #94, March 2018

Redaction” * Adam R. Shannon
Compelling #11, Summer 2018

“Galatea in Utopia” * Nick Wolven
F&SF, January/February 2018

Flash: “My Favourite Sentience” * Marissa Lingen
Nature, April 25, 2018

Grace’s Family” * James Patrick Kelly
Tor.com, May 16, 2018

Octo-Heist in Progress” * Rich Larson
Clarkesworld #146, November 2018

The Nearest” * Greg Egan
Tor.com, July 19, 2018

“The Camel’s Tail” * Tom Jolly
Analog, March/April 2018

Sour Milk Girls” * Erin Roberts
Clarkesworld #136, January 2018

“The Last Biker Gang” * Wil McCarthy
Analog, May/June 2018

Part Two: Pseudonatural Fiction

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“Likho” * Andy Stewart
F&SF, March/April 2018

Strange Waters” * Samantha Mills
Strange Horizons, April 2, 2018

“In the Sharing Place” * David Erik Nelson
Asimov’s, September/October 2018

A Song of Home, the Organ Grinds” * James Beamon
Lightspeed #98, July 2018

“Never the Twain” * Michael Reid
Interzone #274, March/April 2018

Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep” * Nibedita Sen
Nightmare #69, June 2018

Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” * Daryl Gregory
Tor.com, September 19, 2018

Flash: “This Big” * John Cooper Hamilton
Nature, March 21, 2018

Part Three: Supernatural Fiction (Fantasy)

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“The Lady of Butterflies” * Y. M. Pang
F&SF, November/December 2018

The Thing About Ghost Stories” * Naomi Kritzer
Uncanny #25, November/December 2018

A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” * Alix E. Harrow
Apex #105, February 2018

The Thought That Counts” * K. J. Parker
Beneath Ceaseless Skies #250, April 26, 2018

“Hainted” * Ashley Blooms
F&SF, July/August 2018

The War of Light and Shadow, in Five Dishes” * Siobhan Carroll
Beneath Ceaseless Skies #247, March 15, 2018

“Hideous Flowerpots” * Susan Palwick
F&SF, March/April 2018

“The Monstrosity in Love * Sam Thompson
Black Static #64, July/August 2018

Flash: “The Ghost In Angelica’s Room” * Maria Haskins
Flash Fiction Online, March 2018

Shadowdrop” * Chris Willrich
Beneath Ceaseless Skies #261, September 27, 2018

2018 Best of the Best: 2017 Stories Selected for Multiple Year’s Bests

This doesn’t contain any information not already in “Expanded Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, Links)” but, because that list might look dauntingly large and a little busy, here’s a list of the twenty-six stories which appear in two or more of the nine “Year’s Bests.” (Twenty of these stories are available online.) For clarity, they’re just alphabetized by title with no distinction beyond an asterisk which indicates I’ve noted them to one degree or another on this blog.

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 adds Afsharirad, Datlow, Guran, Jemisin (BASFF), and Shearman/Kelly. (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.)

After more than eight months since the post of the original, this expanded version is finally, fundamentally done, though it will continue to be updated if I find links to more stories or if wonderful people tell me about them. (See the end of the post for the full ChangeLog/Credits.)

Latest change: 2018-10-01: Added link to “In Everlasting Wisdom.”

Four Annuals: Afsharirad, Clarke, Horton, Strahan

Four Annuals: Clarke, Dozois, Horton, Strahan

Four Annuals: Clarke, Dozois, Jemisin, Strahan

Three Annuals: Clarke, Dozois, Strahan

Three Annuals: Clarke, Horton, Jemisin

  • ZeroS”, Peter Watts (Infinity Wars) [recommended]

Three Annuals: Dozois, Horton,  Strahan

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

Three Annuals: Horton, Jemisin, Strahan

Two Annuals: Clarke, Dozois

Two Annuals: Clarke, Horton

  • “The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse”, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Extrasolar)
  • Extracurricular Activities”, Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com) [read]

Two Annuals: Dozois, Horton

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

Two Annuals: Dozois, Strahan

  • “My English Name”, R. S. Benedict (F&SF)
  • “The Moon is Not a Battlefield”, Indrapramit Das (Infinity Wars) [read]

Two Annuals: Guran, Horton

Two Annuals: Guran, Shearman/Kelly

Two Annuals: Guran, Strahan

Two Annuals: Horton, Strahan

Two Annuals: Jemisin, Shearman/Kelly

Two Annuals: Jemisin, Strahan

  • Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) [read]

One Annual: The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Volume 4, Afsharirad, ed.

  • “Hope Springs”, Lindsay Buroker (Beyond the Stars)
  • “Lovers”, Tony Daniel (Forged in Blood)
  • “Family Over Blood”, Kacey Ezell (Forged in Blood)
  • “A Man They Didn’t Know”, David Hardy (Rocket’s Red Glare)
  • SWARM“, Sean Patrick Hazlett (Terraform) [read]
  • The Ghost Ship Anastasia”, Rich Larson (Clarkesworld) [recommended]
  • The Snatchers”, Edward McDermott (Analog)
  • “You Can Always Change The Past”, George Nikolopoulos (Galaxy’s Edge)
  • “By The Red Giant’s Light”, Larry Niven (F&SF)
  • “Imperium Imposter”, Jody Lynn Nye (Infinite Stars)
  • “A Hamal In Hollywood”, Martin L. Shoemaker (Rocket’s Red Glare)
  • “Orphans Of Aries”, Brad R. Torgersen (Rocket’s Red Glare)
  • “A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh And Stone”, Brian Trent (F&SF)
  • “Our Sacred Honor”, David Weber (Infinite Stars)

One Annual: The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3, Clarke, ed.

  • “Shadows of Eternity”, Gregory Benford (Extrasolar)
  • In Everlasting Wisdom”, Aliette de Bodard (Infinity Wars) [recommended]
  • “Belly Up”, Maggie Clark (Analog)
  • “Every Hour of Light and Dark”, Nancy Kress (Omni)
  • The Last Novelist, or a Dead Lizard in the Yard”, Matthew Kressel (Tor.com) [recommended]
  • “Meridian”, Karin Lowachee (Where the Stars Rise)
  • 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)
  • Focus”, Gord Sellar (Analog)
  • Shikasta”, Vandana Singh (Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities) [read late]
  • “A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World”, A.C. Wise (Sunvault)

One Annual: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten, Datlow, ed.

  • “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 (Tor.com) [read]
  • “Where’s the Harm?”, Rebecca Lloyd (Seven Strange Stories)
  • “There and Back Again”, Carmen Maria 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 (F&SF)
  • “Endoskeletal”, Sarah Read (Black Static)
  • A Human Stain“, Kelly Robson (Tor.com) [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: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: ThirtyFifth Annual Collection, Dozois, ed.

  • “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)
  • The Hunger After You’re Fed“, James S.A. Corey (Wired) [read late]
  • The Martian Job, Jaine Fenn
  • Nexus“, Michael F. Flynn (Analog)
  • “The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs”, Kelly Jennings (F&SF)
  • “Whending My Way Back Home”, Bill Johnson (Analog) [honorable mention]
  • “Canoe”, Nancy Kress (Extrasolar)
  • “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 (F&SF)
  • “Triceratops”, Ian McHugh (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “The Influence Machine”, Sean McMullen (Interzone)
  • Prime Meridian, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • “The Proving Ground”, Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog) [read]
  • Number Thirty-Nine Skink“, Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “The Residue of Fire”, Robert Reed (Extrasolar)
  • “Night Passage”, Alastair Reynolds (Infinite Stars)
  • 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)
  • “The Road to the Sea”, Lavie Tidhar (Sunvault)
  • “Zigeuner”, Harry Turtledove (Asimov’s Science Fiction)

One Annual: Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2018, Guran, ed.

  • “Sunflower Junction”, Simon Avery (Black Static) [recommended]
  • “Swift to Chase”, Laird Barron (Adam’s Ladder: An Anthology of Dark Science Fiction)
  • Fallow“, Ashley Blooms (Shimmer) [honorable mention]
  • Children of Thorns, Children of Water“, Aliette de Bodard (exclusive for The House of Binding Thorns preorders/Uncanny)
  • “On Highway 18”, Rebecca Campbell (F&SF) [read]
  • “Witch Hazel”, Jeffrey Ford (Haunted Nights)
  • “The Bride in Sea-Green Velvet”, Robin Furth (F&SF)
  • Little Digs“, Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark)
  • The Thule Stowaway“, Maria Dahvana Headley (Uncanny) [honorable mention]
  • “The Eyes Are White and Quiet”, Carole Johnstone (New Fears)
  • Mapping the Interior, Stephen Graham Jones (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Don’t Turn on the Lights“, Cassandra Khaw (Nightmare)
  • “The Dinosaur Tourist”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Sirenia Digest)
  • “Survival Strategies”, Helen Marshall (Black Static)
  • “Everything Beautiful Is Terrifying”, M. Rickert (Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 7)
  • Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™“, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex) [read]
  • “Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment”, Eden Royce (Fiyah)
  • “Moon Blood-Red, Tide Turning”, Mark Samuels (Terror Tales of Cornwall)
  • The Crow Palace“, Priya Sharma (Black Feathers)
  • “The Swimming Pool Party”, Robert Shearman (Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 7)
  • “The Little Mermaid, in Passing”, Angela Slatter (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • Secret Keeper“, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Nightmare)
  • “The Long Fade into Evening”, Steve Rasnic Tem (Darker Companions)
  • “Moon and Memory and Muchness”, Katherine Vaz (Mad Hatters and March Hares)
  • “Exceeding Bitter”, Kaaron Warren (Evil Is a Matter of Perspective)
  • “Succulents”, Conrad Williams (New Fears)

One Annual: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition, Horton, ed.

One Annual: Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Jemisin, ed.

One Annual: Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume Five, Shearman/Kelly, eds.

  • “Live Through This”, Nadia Bulkin (Looming Low: Volume I)
  • “Flotsam”, Daniel Carpenter (The Shadow Booth)
  • The Narrow Escape of Zipper-Girl“, Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare) )
  • “The Unwish”, Claire Dean (The Unwish)
  • “Worship Only What She Bleeds”, Kristi DeMeester (Everything That’s Underneath)
  • “The Second Door”, Brian Evenson (Looming Low: Volume I)
  • When Words Change the Molecular Composition of Water“, Jenni Fagan (Somesuch Stories)
  • “The Convexity of Our Youth”, Kurt Fawver (Looming Low: Volume I)
  • Corzo“, Brenna Gomez (Prairie Schooner)
  • “The Mouse Queen”, Camilla Grudova (The Doll’s Alphabet)
  • The Anteater“, Joshua King (The Matador Review)
  • “Curb Day”, Rebecca Kuder (Shadows And Tall Trees 7)
  • “The Entertainment Arrives”, Alison Littlewood (Darker Companions)
  • The Rock Eater“, Ben Loory (Taste)
  • Eight Bites“, Carmen Maria Machado (Gulf Coast)
  • “The Way She Is with Strangers”, Helen Marshall (Dark Cities)
  • “The Possession”, Michael Mirolla (The Photographer in Search of Death)
  • “House of Abjection”, David Peak (Nightscript III)
  • “Disappearer”, K. L. Pereira (A Dream Between Two Rivers)
  • Red Hood“, Eric Schaller (Nightmare) [read]
  • “Something About Birds”, Paul Tremblay (Black Feathers)
  • “Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street”, Chavisa Woods (Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country and Other Stories)

One Annual: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Volume 12, Strahan, ed.

  • “The Mocking Tower”, Daniel Abraham (The Book of Swords)
  • 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 (Tor.com) [honorable mention]
  • Come See the Living Dryad”, Theodora Goss (Tor.com) [recommended]
  • “Bring Your Own Spoon”, Saad Z. Hossain (The Djinn Falls in Love)
  • “Babylon”, Dave Hutchison, 2084
  • The Faerie Tree”, Kathleen Kayembe (Lightspeed) [honorable mention]
  • “Fairy Tale of Wood Street”, Caitlin R Kiernan (Sirenia Digest)
  • The Worshipful Society of Glovers”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny) [read]
  • “The Chameleon’s Gloves”, Yoon Ha Lee (Cosmic Powers)
  • “The Smoke of Gold is Glory”, Scott Lynch (The Book of Swords)
  • Concessions”, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons) [read]
  • “Belladonna Nights”, Alastair Reynolds (The Weight of Words)
  • “Eminence”, Karl Schroeder (Chasing Shadows)
  • Confessions of a Con Girl”, Nick Wolven (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [read late]

Changelog/Credits:

  • 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 (all titles unique).
  • 2018-02-23: Added links to “Soulmates.com,” “Number Thirty-Nine Skink,” and “The Speed of Belief” from the Asimov’s Reader’s Awards finalists, Thanks to File 770.
  • 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.
  • 2018-05-20: Added Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume Five, Shearman/Kelly, eds. Thanks to File 770 for the titles (all unique).
  • 2018-05-22: Added source for the Pereira story. Thanks to Roger Silverstein.
  • 2018-05-27: Added The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Volume 4, Afsharirad, ed. Thanks to Black Gate for the titles (all unique except for “Bots”).
  • 2018-07-11: Added Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2018, Guran, ed. Thanks to paulaguran.com.
  • 2018-08-17: Added link to “The Stories We Tell About Ghosts.” Thanks to Roger Silverstein.
  • 2018-08-21: Added Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Jemisin, ed. (Thanks to johnjosephadams.com.) Also removed all references to “unread” stories, making everything consistently “unread unless otherwise noted.”

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 * Tor.com, 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 * Tor.com, 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 * Tor.com, 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!

Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!)

Last year, I collated and linked to the webzine stories picked by Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan for their annuals. This year, I’ve collated all the selections. (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.)

For a version of this list which collates nine SF/F/H annuals, please see “Expanded Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, Links).”

Latest change (earlier changes/credits are at the end of this post): 2018-10-01: Added link to “In Everlasting Wisdom.”

Four Annuals

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

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 (Tor.com) [honorable mention]
  • Come See the Living Dryad”, Theodora Goss (Tor.com) [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 (Tor.com) [read]
  • Confessions of a Con Girl”, Nick Wolven (Asimov’s Science Fiction) [read late]
  • Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) [read]

Changelog/Credits:

  • 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.)
  • 2018-02-23: Added links to “Soulmates.com,” “Number Thirty-Nine Skink,” and “The Speed of Belief” from the Asimov’s Reader’s Awards finalists, Thanks to File 770.
  • 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.
  • 2018-08-25: modified and moved note about the expanded version of this list.

Web’s Best Fantasy #1 (2017 Stories)

Web’s Best Fantasy #1 (2017 Stories)

Introduction

As with Web’s Best Science Fiction, Web’s Best Fantasy is a 70,000 word “virtual anthology” selected from the fifteen webzines I’ve covered throughout the year, with the contents selected solely for their quality, allowing that some consideration is paid to having variety in the reading experience. The contents were sequenced as best I could with the same concern in mind.

Enjoy!

Contents

Remote Presence * Susan Palwick
Lightspeed #83, April 2017

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

When We Go * Evan Dicken
Beneath Ceaseless Skies #223, April 13, 2017

The Black Clover Equation * Zach Shephard
Flash Fiction Online, April 2017

An Unexpected Boon * S. B. Divya
Apex #102, November 2017

Crossing the Threshold * Pat Murphy
Lightspeed #85, June 2017

The Dark Birds * Ursula Vernon
Apex #92, January 2017

The Garbage Doll * Jessica Amanda Salmonson
Nightmare #53, February 2017

The Dead Father Cookbook * Ashley Blooms
Strange Horizons, July 17, 2017

Marking the Witch * Lina Rather
Flash Fiction Online, February 2017

The Şiret Mask * Marie Brennan
Beneath Ceaseless Skies #238, November 9, 2017

The Library of Lost Things * Matthew Bright
Tor.com, August 23, 2017

The West Topeka Triangle * Jeremiah Tolbert
Lightspeed #80, January 2017