I’ll be releasing my full list of short fiction recommendations later, but here’s a quick catch-up on a couple things I liked recently.
I didn’t put Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy on that list because it slipped my mind–repeatedly. I put it in my notes, even, but then not in my entry. That’s because I read the book early and keep forgetting it was published in 2015. I recommend it.
E. J. Fischer’s “The New Mother” is the best riff on “disappearing male” stories I’ve ever seen, a smart story that accomplishes both literary and speculative goals in a sharp, well-characterized, traditionally “what if?” SF way. My point of comparison in Nancy Kress.
Will McIntosh’s “A Thousand Nights Till Morning” is about a psychiatrist with an anxiety disorder who is on a Mars expedition when they receive the news that Earth has been conquered by aliens, possibly with no survivors. An adventure story with traditional SF elements and Will’s smart voice.
Caren Gusoff’s “Three Songs for Roxy” (Aqueduct) is a three-part, beautiful tale, about strange aliens coming to earth. The lives she writes about are delicately, beautifully rendered, and startlingly unusual. In terms of odd character detail, it’s like a tender Pahlaniuk–a really lovely and unique read.
Sarah Pinsker’s “Our Lady of the Open Road” will resonate better with people who have a strong interest in the music scene, but is a meaty science fiction story with very strong characters which has been recognized highly by the Asimovs readership and the Neb recommended reading list.
Charlie Jane Anders’ “Ghost Champagne” is another remarkable piece from this author, combining her humor and warmth of perspective with reflection on important life questions. It tells the story of a struggling young comedian who lives under the shadow of the disapproving, silent ghost of her own dead self.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Midnight Hour” takes standard fantasy set pieces, including a mad king and cursed queen, to render an intimate portrait of two characters struggling together, with significant emotional breadth that it will take me some time to unpack (and which I suspect will vary from reader to reader).
Here’s a link to my recommendation post for 2015 Norton candidates. There are a number of books on this list that I absolutely loved, and it’s simplistic to call out only one or a couple, but I’m going to take the opportunity to link one more time to Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us.
I hope people enjoy their reading, from 2015, 2016, or whenever.