Continuing with my recommendations of high-quality speculative fiction from 2009, here’s my personal list of recommended novelettes. As with the short stories, my reading hasn’t been anywhere near comprehensive, but these are long-short-stories I read this year that have really stuck with me:
- “The Gambler,” by Paolo Bacigalupi, Fast Forward 2. Interesting near-future tale about a reporter trying to cover stories of extinct butterflies in a new media world that’s only concerned with the dating life of the latest pop culture icon. Definitely a near-near-future story, but Bacigalupi’s characters and prose make this one a keeper.
- “I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said,” Richard Bowes, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. A queer (in both senses of the word) and haunting Phillip K. Dickish tale that blurs the line between speculative fiction and autobiography.
- “The Score,” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Interfictions 2. Highly original story of a rock star/peace activist, whose death leaves behind a complicated legacy for his friends and allies. Not to mention the intermittent cameos his ghost keeps making. Told in the entertaining form of blogs, emails, instant messages, and transcipts.
- “A Wild and Wicked Youth,” by Ellen Kushner, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. High fantasy tale of swordsmanship and youthful friendship against the backdrop of a richly detailed and convincing feudalistic world with a rigid class structure.
- “Eros, Philia, Agape,” by Rachel Swirsky, Tor.com. This story provides all the joys of a classic Isaac Asimov robot story, but updated for the 21st century with wonderfully sophisticated characterization, prose, and social insight on the complexities of possession, love, and individuality.
More recs coming soon!