Thursday, January 24, 2008

My "best of the year" picks: 2008

My picks follow, in no particular order. Here is some background information, & how I pick the stories. More "best of 2008" lists at the bottom.

  1. [novella] David Brin's "The Smartest Mob"; download; Jim Baen's Universe, #11 (February 2008); hard sf: A terrorist attack is foiled, by electronically summoning an online mob of helpful amateurs, experts, & hangers ons.
  2. [novelette] Mike Resnick's "Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders"; download; Asimov's, January 2008; fantasy: An enigma is described. Hugo award 2009 nominee in novelette category.
  3. [ff] Peter MacGregor's "Ally's Torment" (A); download; AntipodeanSF, #116 (January/February 2008); fantasy: Gods from the perspective of Aleesha. I could have been more specific with description, but that would spoil the fantastic story ending.
  4. [ff] Glenn Davies's "In His Image" (A); download; AntipodeanSF, #116 (January/February 2008); grandfather paradox: A young man builds & uses a time machine to go meet his dead grandfather, & discovers he doesn't want to return. Beautiful ending, though not original.
  5. [ff] Greg Wickenhofer & Rick Wickenhofer's "Orbiter's Reward" (A); download; AntipodeanSF, #117 (February/March 2008); science fiction: Beware of "cute" & very useful robots; they can be very dangerous!
  6. [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.
  7. [ss] Tony D'Souza's "The Cook" (A); Playboy, March 2008; non genre: Small town India, seen from the eyes of 3 Americans. Same data, completely different perceptions!
  8. [ss] Mike Resnick's "Article of Faith" (A); download; Jim Baen's Universe, #15 (October 2008); religion: A robot wants to be accepted as member of a church! Hugo award 2009 nominee in short story category.
  9. [ss] Rahul Jaisheel's "21 Minutes" (A); download; The Scientific Indian, 23 November 2008; time travel: A shorter & less drastic variation on Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Vintage Season".
  10. [ss] Ben Bova's "Moon Race" (A); download; Jim Baen's Universe, #16 (December 2008): Description of a motor race on moon that includes a new type of ground vehicle that makes more of lunar surface easily accessible to human colonists.
  11. [ss] Aditya Sudarshan's "Live and exclusive"; download; The Scientific Indian, 24 December 2008: Design of a burglar-proof house.
  12. [novelette] Greg Egan's "Crystal Nights" (A); download text from publisher's site, or podcast at Transmission from Beyond (includes downloabable MP3 audio); Interzone, #215 (April 2008): A retelling of Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God". A man creates a fast-evolving micro-cosmos as a computer simulation, but things aren't quite under control...
  13. [ss] Catherynne M Valente's "A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica" (A); download; Clarkesworld, May 2008: Life stories of 2 of the early explorers of Antarctica.
  14. [ss] Ted Chiang's "Exhalation" (A); download text/MP3; Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction and Fantasy": A "man"'s quest for knowledge in an unusual universe reveals something unexpected & alarming.
  15. Karl Schroeder & Tobias S Buckell's "Mitigation" (A); Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward Two"; environment: When a robbery did some good too!
  16. [novella] Carolyn Ives Gilman's "Arkfall" (A); read online (no download); F&SF, September 2008: Adventure in a water world.
Legend: ss = short story; ff = flash fiction.


  1. My "best of the year" 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 picks.
  2. Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection": Stories first published during 2008.
  3. Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Best SF and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 3": Stories first published during 2008.
  4. Rich Horton (Ed)'s "Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009 Edition": Stories first published during 2008, both online & offline publishers included.
  5. Rich Horton (Ed)'s "Unplugged: The Best of Online Fiction": Stories first published during 2008, both online & offline publishers included. To be published in 2009.
  6. Science fiction short stories that feature in Aurealis Awards 2008: Australian stories first published during 2008.
  7. Rich Horton's best short fiction of 2008 lists for various magazines.
  8. "Best new stories of 2008" thread at Asimov's Forum.
  9. "Best of The New Yorker Fiction, 2008".
  10. "Best 2008 science fiction about Mars".
  11. "Best of" lists.


Krishnan said...

Hi beem visiting your blog almost daily. I am diehard fan of SF. I find your posts pretty informative. I am dying to get my hands on books by Greg Egan and Michael Swanwick, not many is available at bookstores in Chennai.

Tinkoo said...

Thanks for kind words, Krishnan.

While I haven't read a lot by the two authors you mention, I've liked what little I've read of Greg Egan & disliked Swanwick's. But everyone to his tastes.

If you are looking for them based on someone's recommendations rather than your own first hand experience, you might first want to try a few of their short stories available online.

I'm not very familiar with Madras, but some of my experiences in B'by might help. Usually small guys - one or two room privately owned shop or roadside guys - tend to be more effective genre sources than corporate owned big stores - later for somewhat older books; former for almost anything you want - though they might take a while to get a specific book.

I once bought a book from - large catalog to choose from, but their delivery systems are totally messed up. Say they'll deliver in 15 days, & take 3 months!! Never pay them at the time of placing order - pay only on delivery, if you must buy from them.

If you look around, you might sometimes get things at ebay/India - my experience so far is quite good (but I haven't purchased books there, though I've seen them listed). ebay accepts payment in local currency, as opposed to Amazon or Fictionwise - so they're much more practical.