Although I’m recommending 7 stories this month, the same as I did in February, overall I was underwhelmed by the quality of the short fiction published in March. None of it was actively bad… well maybe one story that I couldn’t finish… with most pieces scoring a 3 (out of 5). Is it possible I’m already burning out – and it’s only March!
I also think it’s worth noting that I haven’t given Clarkesworld a single 4 this year. Looking at my stats, the majority of the stories have garnered a 3.5, which means their good without being spectacular. And I did come close this month to giving a 4 to Margaret Ronald’s Sunlight Society, an interesting take on the superhero story. But after enjoying Clarkesworld so much last year I’m expecting at least one great piece every month. I don’t know, maybe I’m being too harsh. Thoughts anyone?
Anyway, this month I read from:
- Aurealis 48
- Strange Horizons
- Tor.com/The Palencar Project
- Asimov’s – April / May
- Black Static – February / March
- One Hundred Stories
- Subterranean Winter 2012
Asimov’s – April / May
James Patrick Kelly, The Last Judgement – It’s a hard boiled crime story set on a future Earth where enigmatic aliens have wiped out all the men. While the crime element isn’t particularly interesting, this is offset by the gender issues explored in the story. For some, this piece might be Gender 101, but for me it provoked all sorts of interesting thoughts.
Sandra McDonald, Sexy Robot Mom. Gender issues are also at the core of this story about androids built to carry babies full term for couples who are unable too. It’s a beautifully written piece that takes an unexpected left turn and had me wanting more.
Black Static February / March
Jacob Ruby, The Little Things – A traditional feeling horror story done very well. The last couple of paragraphs are especially strong.
VH Leslie, Family Tree – Less traditional and less horrific, but compelling, funny and unsettling.
Tor.com/The Palencar Project
James Morrow, Thanatos Beach – The best of the Palencar bunch. Funny and smart with a lovely ambiguous ending. I’ve missed reading Morrow. Towing Jehovah is one of my favourite novels.
One Hundred Stories (Rob Shearman)