Friday, May 23, 2008

[A4] Short stories: A reading guide by quality - Part 4 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 A2 list that existed on 23 May 2008 because that list has grown too big & unwieldy - that original A2 list 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. * [ff] Ted Chiang's "What's Expected of Us" (A); download; Nature magazine, 7 July 2005; science fiction: No entertainment, but a subtle argument - if you can send a message to past, you have no free will!
  2. Robert Heinlein's "Life-Line" (A); Astounding, August 1939; science fiction: Soothsaying can be dangerous!
  3. Hal Clement's "Uncommon Sense" (A); Astounding Science Fiction, September 1945; science fiction: A man's curiosity saves his life on a weird world.
  4. * [ss] Tom Godwin's "The Nothing Equation" (A); download; Amazing Stories, December 1957; science fiction: Loneliness can drive people nuts!
  5. Elizabeth Bear's "Tideline" (A); Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2007; science fiction: A sentimental robot teaches life skills to an urchin.
  6. * Alastair Reynolds's "The Sledge-maker’s Daughter"; download; Interzone #209 (April 2007); science fiction: A victim of sexual assault gets a weapon to punish her oppressor.
  7. * Robert Charles Wilson's "Julian: A Christmas Story" (A); download; 2006; fantasy: A medieval society follows the exhaustion of earth's oil resources.
  8. * Charles Stross' "MAXO Signals" (A); download; Nature magazine, 25 August 2005; science fiction, humor: First signals from aliens are received. And they are very familiar!
  9. * William Shunn's "Inclination" (A); download; Asimov's, April/May 2006; science fiction: An adolescent boy comes of age.
  10. Kage Baker's "The Hotel at Harlan's Landing" (A); Her collection titled "Black Projects, White Knights", 2002; non-genre: A woman reminiscences of the good old days. Very good prose.
  11. * Mike Resnick's "All the Things You Are" (A); download; Jim Baen's Universe Oct 2006; science fiction: A very lovable alien species are acting as Galactic Red Cross. With unintended & unfortunate effects on beneficiaries.
  12. * Robert Reed's "Eight Episodes" (A); download; Asimov's, June 2006; science fiction: An ancient alien observation sentinel is found on earth, in the tradition of Arthur Clarke's "2001 A Space Odyssey". With some variation. Beautifully told.
  13. Robert Heinlein's "We Also Walk Dogs" (A); science fiction: A man builds an anti-gravity device.
  14. [novelette] Wilmar H Shiras's "In Hiding" (A); Astounding, November 1948; science fiction: A child prodigy is forced to perform at the level of his peers.
  15. * Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Recovering Apollo 8" (A); download; Asimov's, February 2007; science fiction, alternate history: Shipwreck & wreck recovery in space.
  16. [ff] Susan Partridge's "Refugees" (A); download; AntiSF, #120 (May/June 2008); non-genre: Tsunami-displaced refugees are looking for a new home.
  17. Mike Resnick's "Carnival Knowledge" (A); download; Subterranean, Summer 2007; non-genre, humor: A conman gets too greedy during Rio Carnival.
  18. Holly Phillips' "Three Days of Rain" (A); Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2007: Epic tale of a parched city.
  19. Ray Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven" aka "The Third Expedition" (A); "Planet Stories" magazine, Fall 1948; science fiction: Human explorers are unwanted on Mars, & are conned by telepathic & hypnotist locals.
  20. * [ff] David Such's "Tristesse" (A); download; AntiSF, #119 (April/May 2008); science fiction; humor: A man is forcibly handed a super weapon - ability to alter reality by just wishing it, with disastrous consequences.
  21. * [ff] Tavis Potts' "Eye-Pod" (A); download; AntiSF, #119 (April/May 2008); cyberpunk: A man gets a magical eye implant.
  22. * Lisa Mantchev's "A Dance Across Embers" (A); download; Clarkesworld, October 2007; fantasy: A freedom fighter is born. Story is told as a fantasy.
  23. * Lavie Tidhar's "The Master" (A); download; Strange Horizons, 8 October 2007; non-genre: Great prose but weak plot - an author has given up on good things in life. Avoid if you have strong opinions on Israel/Arab conflict, & favor the Arabs.