Every day, new, wonderful works of fiction are published, more than most could ever read. Lately, I’ve tried to read a couple of science fiction or fantasy stories each day. It’s a good way to learn about the magazines, and the state of the genre today. It’s also a way to read some great fiction. In this post, and in the ones like it in following months, I’ll list some of my favorites.
- “The Innocence of a Place” by Margaret Ronald in Strange Horizons (Jan 13, 2014): A creepy, atmospheric story about a historian and an old flood.
- “All the Pretty Colors” by John McColley in Crossed Genres (Jan 2014 issue): In the “second contact” theme, about a disease following first contact. McColley is featured in this, his first pro publication.
- “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon in Apex Magazine (Jan 7, 2014): a southwestern fable backdrop that opens with Jackalopes dancing under the moon. I found the opening slow, but the language drew me in. Also available in podcast.
- “Tortoiseshell Cats are Not Refundable” by Cat Rambo in Clarkesworld (Feb 2014 issue): an emotionally-laden story, while still remaining quirky and resisting heaviness. Also, a cat. Also available in podcast.
- Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love with by Kate Wolford (2012): In this book, Kate Wolford, editor of the fairy tale magazine Enchanted Conversation and teacher of fairy tales at Indiana Southbend, presents ten unusual fairy tales. All are historical, but told less commonly. She offers commentary and discussion about each. I bought this on a whim rather than a purpose, but I absolutely loved it. Her discussions pointed out things I hadn’t considered about fairy tales, and gave me a whole new angle on them. I found it both fascinating and very inspiring.
- Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer (2013): I am still working my way through this book, but thus far I am very pleased with it. This is a guide to writing that actually inspires while you read; I find myself jotting down notes about things to try or aspects of old things to revisit. Often, I find myself feeling somewhat self-conscious and discouraged, no matter how kind the tone of a writing book, so I really found it noteworthy. It is packed with quirky or even absurd illustrations, and lots of visually based diagrams. It is also not only by VanderMeer, who has taught at Clarion workshop, but features essays by writers both super famous (Ursula Le Guin and Neil Gaiman, for two) and unfamiliar to me. I have read 3.5 chapters of 7, so I will have to report as to my final reaction, but so far, so good.