Revealing Your Personality With Science Fiction

Rusty Keele over at has invited blogging friends over to write about their favorite SF short story, and I’m one of the contributors.  My post is queued up for tomorrow.  I picked “The Star Pit” by Samuel R. Delany from 1967.  Be sure and stop by and read all the posts this week.  Jason Sanford discusses his love of Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” from 1950 and John DeNardo picks “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin from 1954, after sneaking in a plea for “Diamond Dogs” by Alastair Reynolds from 2003.

It’s revealing to see what other fans like in the way of short stories, especially when you only get to pick one.  If had mentioned two, I might have included “The Menace From Earth” by Robert A. Heinlein from 1957.

To help refresh your memory of great short stories, look at these lists:

Are you a long time fan of science fiction?  If you study these lists, even in a casual way, they will bring back a flood of memories.  There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of great science fiction stories.  Our pitiful little minds just can’t hold them all our bio-RAM.  I wouldn’t have picked a different story if I had read these lists before I wrote my essay for Rusty, but reading them now makes me realize how hard it would be to pick story #2.

It’s too bad reprint rights are so expensive because it would be huge fun to create my own personal anthology of favorites and publish it at  Imagine a fad of publishing personal anthologies of short stories, where you wrote forwards and afterwards for each story. Wouldn’t that make a unique way to communicate with new friends?  In the old days you’d introduce yourself to people and leave your calling card.  Imaging leaving your anthology.

Could you define your inner core personality with 12 short stories?  I think “The Star Pit” comes close to revealing a lot of my personal programming.  Picking the next 11 stories would be difficult, but I think I’ll start going through the above lists and make a try of it.  Certainly, it will make a nice blog entry.


Best Science Fiction Short Stories 2007

It’s that time of year again, when all the annual best of anthologies start showing up.  This year I’ve come across four so far, one of which I’m reading (Hartwell & Cramer), two of which are winging their way from Amazon (Dozois & Strahan), and a fourth is waiting to be shipped (Horton).  There are probably more of these out there, so let me know.  Here are the titles I know about so far:

What’s truly strange is how little overlap there is, with only 12 stories out of 87 getting in more than one book.  This made me feel good about wanting to buy all four volumes, but on the other hand, I wished there were more obvious stand-out stories.  We know that the Ted Chiang and Karen Joy Fowler stories won Nebula awards this year, and  these stories are nominated for the 2008 Hugo Awards:

  • “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (novella) (HC)
  • “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairytale of Economics” by Daniel Abraham (novelette) (JS)
  • “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (novelette) (GD, JS) (Nebula winner)
  • “Dark Integers” by Greg Egan (novelette) (RH)
  • “Glory” by Greg Egan (novelette) (GD, JS)
  • “Finisterra” by David Moles (novelette) (GD)
  • “Lost Contact” by Stephen Baxter (short story) (GD, JS)
  • “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear (short story) (GD)
  • Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359″ by Ken MacLeod (short story) (HC)

Greg Egan and Nancy Kress got in all four best-of-books with multiple stories, and 12 other writers got into more than one volume with one or more stories.

Abraham, Daniel The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics JS
Asher, Neal Alien Archeology GD
Baker, Kage Plotters and Shooters HC
Baker, Kage Hellfire in Twilight GD
Ballantyne, Tony Aristotle OS HC
Ballantyne, Tony Third Person HC
Barnes, John An Ocean is a Snowflake, Four Billion Miles Away GD, RH
Baxter, Stephen Last Contact GD, JS
Baxter, Stephen No More Stories HC
Beagle, Peter S. The Last and Only, or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French JS
Bear, Elizabeth Orm the Beautiful JS
Bear, Elizabeth Tideline GD
Benford, Gregory Reasons Not to Publish HC
Benford, Gregory Dark Heaven GD
Bisson, Terry Pirates of the Somali Coast HC
Black, Holly The Coat of Stars JS
Brooke, Keith The Accord GD
Cadigan, Pat Nothing Personal GD
Chiang, Ted The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate GD, JS
Daniel, Tony The Valley of the Garden JS
Di Filippo, Paul Wikiworld RH
Egan, Greg Glory GD, JS
Egan, Greg Induction HC
Egan, Greg Dark Integers RH
Egan, Greg Steve Fever GD
Finlay, Charles Coleman An Eye for an Eye RH
Ford, Jeffrey The Dreaming Wind JS
Fowler, Karen Joy Always HC, RH
Gaiman, Neil The Witch’s Headstone JS
Goonan, Kathleen Ann The Bridge HC
Goss, Theodore Singing of Mount Abora JS
Gregory, Daryl Dead Horse Point JS
Hand, Elizabeth Winter’s Wife JS
Hemry, John As You Know, Bob HC
Hitchcock, Robin They Came From the Future HC
Holm, Palle Juul A Blue and Cloudless Sky HC
Irvine, Alex Wizard’s Six JS
Jablokov, Alexander Brain Raid RH
Jones, Gwyneth The Tomb Wife HC
Jones, Gwyneth Saving Tiamaat GD
Kessel, John The Last American HC
Kosmatka, Ted The Prophet of Flores GD, JS
Kowal, Mary Robinette For Solo Cello RH
Kress, Nancy By Fools Like Me JS
Kress, Nancy End Game HC
Kress, Nancy Art of War RH
Kress, Nancy Laws of Survival GD
Laidlaw, Marc An Evening’s Honest Peril HC
Landis, Geoffrey Vectoring RH
Link, Kelly The Constable of Albal JS
MacLeod, Ken Jesus Christ, Reanimator JS, RH
MacLeod, Ken Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359? HC
MacLeod, Ken Lighting Out GD
McCormack, Una Sea Change GD
McDonald, Ian Sanjeev and Robotwallah GD, HC
McDonald, Ian Verthandi’s Ring GD
McIntosh, Will Perfect Violet RH
Moles, David Finisterra GD
Palwick, Susan Sorrel’s Heart JS
Phillips, Holly Three Days of Rain RH
Pratt, Tim Artifice and Intelligence HC, RH
Purdom, Tom The Mists of Time GD
Reed, Robert Night Calls RH
Reed, Robert Roxie GD
Reynolds, Alastair The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter GD
Rickert, M. Holiday JS
Roberson, Chris The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small GD, JS
Rosenbaum, Benjamin & Ackert David Stray GD
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn Craters GD
Sedia, Ekaterina Virus Changes Skin RH
Shunn, William Objective Impermeability in a Closed System HC
Silverberg, Robert Against the Current GD
Singh, Vandana Of Love and Other Monsters GD
Sinisalo, Johanna Baby Doll HC
Skillingstead, Jack Everyone Bleeds Through RH
Stableford, Brian The Immortals of Atlantis GD
Stanchfield, Justin Beyond the Wall GD
Sterling, Bruce Kiosk GD, JS
Sterling, Bruce The Lustration HC
Sterling, Bruce A Plain Tale From Our Hills RH
Stross, Charles Trunk and Disorderly JS
Swanwick, Michael Urdumheim JS
Swanwick, Michael The Skysailor’s Tale GD, RH
Van Pelt, James How Music Begins HC
Van Pelt, James Of Late I Dreamt of Venus GD
Watts, Peter Repeating the Past HC
Wolfe, Gene Memorare HC

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