Friday, May 23, 2008

[B4] Short stories: A reading guide by quality - Part 8 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 B2 list that existed on 23 May 2008 because that list has grown too big & unwieldy - that B2 list is now in new B3 & B4 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. * Craig Miles' "Interrogation" (B); download; AntiSF, #113 (October/November 2007); non-genre: Very well written, not implausible, & politically relevant - but rather dark. Law makers & enforcers make a mockery of fairness & decency in a world afraid of terrorists & willing to give enormous powers to government.
  2. * David Such's "Dockland" (B); download; AntiSF, #113 (October/November 2007); science fiction, humor: An expert at culling alien vermin that often escape at an interstellar dockyard in human space has an unconventional solution to get rid of the alien "Death Slime".
  3. * Marc Schultz's "Practicing My Sad Face" (B); download; Strange Horizons, 27 August 2007; science fiction: Terrorist attack has ruined a couple's life.
  4. * Alan Campbell's "The Gadgey" (B); download; Strange Horizons, 5 May 2008; science fiction: When an alien spaceship crashed in England.
  5. Rachel Swirsky's "Dispersed by the Sun, Melting in the Wind" (B); Subterranean, Summer 2007; download; science fiction:Well written story about the last days of humanity. But rather pessimistic.
  6. Larry Niven's "The Coldest Place" (B); If, December 1964; science fiction: Hunt for alien life, at a location difficult to suspect as the coldest place in Sol. Also, Niven's first published story, & dated plot.
  7. Larry Niven's "Safe at Any Speed" (B); F&SF, May 1967; science fiction: A man is eaten by a huge bird along with his air car, & survives! On an new colony world.
  8. * Leslie Brown's "Wake-up Call" (B); download; Strange Horizons, 30 July 2007; fantasy: A woman in coma is living a full life in another parallel universe! Well told story, but for kids.
  9. * Michael Flynn's "Down, Sunset and the Colours of the Earth" (B); download; Asimov's, Oct/Nov 2006: A Bermuda Triangle type story of a mysteriously lost ship, but mostly from human interest side of the bereaved families.
  10. John Meaney's "The Whisper of Disks" (B): Three tales in one - a very moving account of a little girl's tender relationship with her mother, a grown up woman's discovery of a method to travel faster than light, & a feudal tale in England involving palace intrigue.
  11. Robert Heinlein's "The Green Hills of Earth" (B); science fiction: An extraordinary spaceman loses his eyes saving the spaceship; then loses his life saving another. And is immortalized as a poet. If you like poetry, you might want to rank it above my rank.
  12. * Bruce McAllister's "Kin" (B); download; Asimov's, February 2006; science fiction: A loner gets emotional on finding kinship.
  13. Robert Heinlein's "Gentlemen, Be Seated" (B); science fiction: Accidental air loss in a pressured tunnel on moon, & the novel way the three trapped men used to plug the leak.
  14. * [ff] Francis Conaty's "A Child's Justice" (B); download; AntiSF, #119 (April/May 2008); non-genre: A 3-year-old's interpretation of dad's "don't be naughty" dictates dooms a stranger's life.
  15. * Mike Resnick's "Connoisseurs" (B); download; Subterranean, Spring 2008; non-genre, detective, humor: Lucifer's nemesis, Erich von Horst, has enrolled him in helping divide the loot of a heist among fewer crooks.
  16. Larry Niven's "There Is a Tide" (B); Galaxy, Jul 1968; science fiction: An alien cons a human on an extra-Sol world, & regrets because of an unexpected development.
  17. * Vera Nazarian's "The Story of Love" (B); download; (probably author's own collection titled) "Salt of the Air", September 2006; non-genre: Father/daughter estrangement, & finally patch up.
  18. * Larry Niven's "Cloak of Anarchy" (B); download; Analog, Mar 1972: An experiment in an anarchy-based society where there is no government.
  19. Hal Clement's "The Foundling Stars" (B); If, August 1966; science fiction: A serious accident during an experiment to determine how stars are formed out of nebulae.
  20. * [ff] Shaun A Saunders' "Equal Opportunity" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); non-genre: Dumb majority out to oppress the smart minority (because of their smarts) are in for a surprise.
  21. * Mike Resnick's "A Jaguar Never Changes Its Stripes" (B); download; Subterranean, Winter 2008; non-genre, humor: Lucifer gets involved in tribal warfare.
  22. * [ff] David Such's "Tagged" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); science fiction: Horror perpetuated by government's mandating of biometric id cards of all citizens.
  23. * [ss] A M Dellamonica's "Five Good Things About Meghan Sheedy" (B); download part 1 & part 2; Strange Horizons, 21 & 28 April 2008 (two part serial); science fiction: Aliens now own earth, though there are some human groups resisting them - guerrilla-style.
  24. * Ken MacLeod's "Who's Afraid of Wolf 359?" (B); download; Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan (Eds)' "The New Space Opera", HarperCollins/Eos; space opera: A man on the run becomes a king maker.
  25. * [ff] Simon Petrie's "The Elder" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); science fiction: A young semi-sentient tree learns the nature of its relationship with humans.
  26. * [ff] Shaun A Saunders's "Dreaming The Futures To Be" (B); download; AntiSF, #119 (April/May 2008); non-genre: A struggling sf writer makes a career choice.
  27. * Greg Egan's "Dark Integers" (B); download; Asimov's October/November 2007; science fiction: Communicating with & fighting aliens from a parallel universe!
  28. * Mary Turzillo's "Pride" (B); download; Fast Forward 1, Pyr, February 2007; non-genre: Joys & pains of raising a big wild carnivore from a little cub. There is a very minor sf element, but it's essentially a non-genre story.
  29. * [ff] David Such's "Black Hollow"; download; AntiSF, #120 (May/June 2008); non-genre: Description of an interesting ceremony - with a twist near end.
  30. * [ff] Melanie Rees' "Pre-Emptive"; download; AntiSF, #120 (May/June 2008); science fiction: A take on US occupation of Iraq, but told as an aliens' story.
  31. * [ff] Owen Godfrey's "Really Nothing" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); philosophy: Some bumbling on the nature of "nothing". But readable.
  32. * [ff] Shane Jiraiya Cummings' "Dread Seasons Quartet: Pallid Wisps Of Snow (Winter)" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); non-genre: A woman is angry after being rejected by her man.
  33. * [ff] Susan Partridge's "The Rape Of Io" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); science fiction: Story of colonization & annexation of others' territory retold - symbolically.
  34. * [ff] Shaun A Saunders's "A Fine Madness" (B); download; AntiSF, #110 (July/August 2007); science fiction, humor: Alien visitors get rather lukewarm reception.
  35. * [ff] Meika Loofs Samorzewski's "Lie Back And Think Of Efficiency" (B); download; AntiSF, #110 (July/August 2007); science fiction: A woman is regretting the decision to surgically change her emotional response to babies to neutral.
  36. * [ff] Angela Slatter's "Little Green Apples" (B); download; AntiSF, #110 (July/August 2007); non-genre: A girl is pensive about her eating habits that are actually depriving the body of nutrition.
  37. * [ff] David Kernot's "Chicken Soup" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); science fiction: Humanity's losing fight against big mutant bugs.
  38. * [ff] Tony Williams' "Disintegration" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); science fiction: Inventor of a new kind of killing machine gets a surprise.
  39. * [ff] Alan Delaney's "A New Arrival" (B); download; AntiSF, #119 (April/May 2008); science fiction:State wants to know everything about the citizens.
  40. * Jerome Stueart's "Brazos" (B); download; fantasy: Matrimonial negotiations of a male god with a female human.
  41. * Mike Rimar's "Avarice" (B); Darwin's Evolutions, June 2008; download; fantasy: An urban ghetto story. Fighting gods are using humans a pawns.
  42. * Dirk Flinthart's "The Once and Future King" (B); Darwin's Evolutions, June 2008; download: In a society where innovation is discouraged, a boy feeling guilt of minor innovation is reassured by an older man.
  43. * [ff] Frank Roger's "Incomplete Information" (B); download; AntiSF, #120 (May/June 2008); non-genre, humor: A man didn't read the contract carefully when buying emergency services.
  44. * [ff] David Price's "The Astral Strike" (B); download; AntiSF, #120 (May/June 2008); religion: A cricket game among God, Jesus, Satan, St Peter, etc has wrecked New York City!
  45. * [ff] Melanie Atkinson's "Barrett And Quinlan In The Woods" (B); download; AntiSF, #109 (June/July 2007); non-genre: Looking for "shapeshifters" in the woods...