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The long and short of it


Shameful confession time. I write short fiction, but I don’t read as much of it as I should. It’s not like I have an excuse. I subscribe to a number of print magazines, and I regularly visit the sites of several online magazines. But between my own writing, and reading novels and non-fiction, I never seem to find the time to read the short stuff they publish.

This doesn’t mean I never read short stories. Just that I think I should read more. I suspect that most of the stories I read these days are in single-author collections. I do read the occasional anthology – I reviewed The New Space Opera 2 for Interzone, for instance – although it’s usually their theme which prompts me to buy them.

Obviously, I have a very good reason for wanting to increase my intake of short fiction – to help improve my own. But I’d also like to be in a position to make informed choices when it comes to nominating stories for awards.

So, for 2010, I plan to make more of an effort. I will read every issue of Interzone as it arrives. I will read every issue of Postscripts as it arrives. And Jupiter too. I will read the stories published in the online magazines I visit – Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Subterranean Online, Futurismic, DayBreak, and any others I might have neglected to mention.

And when I find any that especially impress me, I think I shall mention them here.

8 thoughts on “The long and short of it

  1. Good Luck! Nature and Necessity force me to limit myself to Interzone, to which I am devoted. But I do buy some Anthologies, e.g., the New Space Opera , first volume. I won’t buy volume 2, because I looked at it and saw that its contents would most likely not appeal to me. Moreover, I think it was you who wrote some unflattering words about it. Ditto in IZ for the latest Dozois monster. So as a compromise I bought Dozios’ “Best of the Best’ and am hoping for the Best:) Now I hear that there’s a second volume of that. What to do? I’ve no idea.

    • My review in Interzone of The New Space Opera 2 may have been a bit harsh, but only because I felt the anthology had lost sight of what it was supposed to be. Some of the contents plainly weren’t space opera, new or otherwise.

      • You hit the nail right on the head, Ian! I looked at Vol 2 about one month ago, and saw at once that there was very little space opera in it. The contents might be interesting nevertheless, but I have too many unread books right now. How about more than three bookcases filled with them? Hence a few short stories I know nothing about can wait.

  2. I sincerely applaud your resolve. I would love to do something similar given my fondness for short fiction, but financially it is something I just cannot do at this time. So, I will live vicariously through you should anything stand out to the point that you choose to write about it here.

  3. I’ve started reading January’s stories in the online magazines… And I enjoyed this one a lot: ‘Dali’s Clocks‘ by Dave Hutchinson on DayBreak‘s site.

    • I’m polishing a review of “Anathem” for The Zone. This is the first novel I’ve reviewed; Writing it is harder than was my composing academic papers, all of which I have disowned. I am enjoying learning to write in a new mode.

  4. I read Dali’s Clocks and enjoyed it, glad you mentioned it. I’m generally interested in the creative process and this story dealt with that, among other things, in a very interesting manner.

  5. Here’s another story I enjoyed: ‘Gizzard Stones‘ by Garth Upshaw, in January’s Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I’m not that big a fan of fantasy – this year’s reading challenge notwithstanding – but I did like Upshaw’s story.

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