Saturday, November 3, 2007

[A2] Short stories: A reading guide by quality - Part 2 of 10

This file does not contain any new content - at least at the time of creation. It contains a portion of the short story A1 list that existed on 23 May 2008 because that list has grown too big & unwieldy - later half of that A1 list is now in this file (what was in A2 list on that day is now in new A3/A4 files). Some opening remarks of main story list document conventions, if you are here the first time.

This file will again be split in future when it grows big - so it's not safe to link to. Links should be only to original main story list that contains initial part & links to remaining parts; that's the only stable URL among the files comprising this list.

Idea is to keep each file between 25 & 50 stories.

List navigation.

Current file's name is in bold. Files earlier in the list hold better stories; those later in the list worse stories. Files names Ai contain A-rated stories, etc.

first, previous, next.
A1, [A2], A3, A4, B1, B2, B3, B4, C1, C2.

Story list (best first).

  1. * Ted Chiang's "Story Of Your Life" (A); download; Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Ed)'s "Starlight 2", October 1998; science fiction: Examines language & cognition styles completely alien to humans. Quite technical; skip if you prefer easy reading.
  2. * Mike Resnick's "The Lost Continent of Moo" (A); download; Subterranean magazine, Spring 2007; non-genre, humor: Lucifer wants to be recognized as god by a tribe, & must gives tests to prove eligibility!
  3. * H Beam Piper's "Omnilingual" (A); download; Astounding, February 1957; science fiction: Description of a Rosetta Stone useful for decoding written languages of unknown long dead industrial cultures when no other clues are available.
  4. Philip K Dick's "The Indefatigable Frog" (A); Fantastic Story Magazine, July 1953; hard science fiction, humor: A parody of the ancient "Dichotomy paradox" of Zeno.
  5. Jules Verne & Michel Verne's "In the Year 2889" (A); download; The Forum, February 1889; science fiction: Description of a day in the life of a rich man 1000 years from the date of story's publication. Many predictions of this future history are already common place.
  6. * Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" (A); download; novelette; as a short book by Subterranean Press, July 2007; fantasy: Four time travel folktales - told in the style of (I think) Arabian Nights. Added to my best of the year 2007 list.
  7. Larry Niven's "The Warriors" (A); If, Feb 1966; science fiction: Very readable space opera. Man's first encounter with aliens of Kzinti species. Kzinti's have vastly superior technology, but heroic men beat them in the little war in deep space!
  8. * Mike Resnick's "Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders" (A); download; Asimov's, January 2008; fantasy: An enigma is described. Added to my best of the year 2008 list.
  9. Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Exit the Professor" (A); sometimes as by Lewis Padgett; Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1947; fantasy, humor: Radiation exposure has given a family the powers of gods themselves.
  10. Robert Heinlein's "...And He Built a Crooked House" (A); download; Astounding, February 1941; science fiction, humor: If you ever build a 4 dimensional house, make sure you anchor it securely in accessible dimensions!
  11. [ss] Eric Frank Russell's "The Witness" (A); Other Worlds Science Stories, September 1951; science fiction: An alien seeking asylum has created major public fear of alien invaders. Should it be granted asylum?
  12. A E van Vogt's "The Monster" (A); Astounding, August 1948; science fiction: Nasty aliens attempting colonization of dead earth get a rude shock.
  13. [novella] Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Vintage Season" (as by Lawrence O'Donnell) (A); Astounding, September 1946; science fiction: Uncaring future time travelers visit our time on vacation to enjoy a major disaster!
  14. [novella] John W Campbell, Jr's "Who Goes There?" (as by Don A Stuart) (A); download; Astounding, August 1938; science fiction, thriller: Curious figuratively & inadvertently open the bottle to let the djinn out, & all hell breaks loose.
  15. [novelette] Hal Clement's "Sunspot" (A); Analog, November 1960; hard sf: A manned research ship's journey through the solar corona & very near the Sun's photosphere.
  16. [novelette] Ted Chiang's "Tower of Babylon" (A); Omni, November 1990; science fiction: Babylonians actually erect the tower to reach the abode of gods, & are in for a surprise.
  17. [novelette] C M Kombluth's "The Little Black Bag" (A); Astounding, July 1950; science fiction: A medical doctor going through a bad patch finds a magical medical kit from future that helps him find a purpose in life.
  18. * Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" (A); download; F&SF, March 1954; science fiction: Some jokes can be very costly.
  19. Eric Frank Russell's "The Rhythm of the Rats" (A); Weird Tales, July 1950; fantasy: In a haunted village, a suspected wizard is suspected of turning children into rats!
  20. * [novelette] Kim Stanley Robinson's "A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations" (A); download; Asimov's, April 1991; non-genre: First half is a very gripping perspective on wars of twentieth century - with some hard numbers; second half is an OK travelogue.
  21. * [ff] Julie Bailue's "Egg Sharing"; download; AntiSF, #110 (July/August 2007); science fiction: Near future implications of sperm or egg donation.
  22. * [short story] Robert Silverberg's "Caught in the Organ Draft" (A); download; Roger Elwood (Ed)'s "And Walk Now Gently Through the Fire" (1972); science fiction: In a future dystopia, state can force young people to donate their body organs to influential seniors!
  23. [ss] Jane Smiley's "Paradigm Shift" (A); Playboy, June 2008; science fiction, humor: Going green can spice up your married life! Caution: skip this story you cannot withstand explicit sex talk. Added to my best of the year 2008 list.
  24. [ss] A Bertram Chandler's "The Cage" (A); F&SF, June 1957; science fiction: A shorter version of Pierre Boulle's "Planet of the Apes".
  25. * Greg Egan's "Glory" (A); download; Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan (Eds)' "The New Space Opera", HarperCollins/Eos, 2007; science fiction: Two humans of far future have traveled to an alien world in a far away star system to make first contact. Extremely interesting interstellar travel arrangements. Added to my best of the year 2007 list.
  26. Larry Niven's "How the Heros Die" (A); Galaxy, Oct 1966; science fiction: Only one of the two men can live. Who?
  27. * Mike Resnick's "Distant Replay" (A); download; Asimov's, April/May 2007; fantasy: An old man in love with his long dead wife's younger self!