Best Short Novels – 2005

It’s not official yet, but things are looking good for me to edit a second volume of the “Best Short Novels” anthology series for the good people at The Science Fiction Book Club. Editing last year’s volume was a joy, and opening a box of copies of the first book I’d ever edited solo was a special thrill, so I’m really excited that this looks like happening.

Of course, because it’s a project I’m working on, it has to be done yesterday – I’m guessing it’ll have to be delivered in something like 50 days – so I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask readers of this blog to recommend any novellas (stories between 15k and 40k) that they thought were particularly good. You can make a recommendation using the comments feature below, the email address in the sidebar, or over at my Night Shade message board. There are a few restrictions. I am biased towards SF for the book, can’t take straight horror, and can’t consider any stories originally published by The SF Book Club during the year, but anything else is fair game.

For what it’s worth, I’ve seen some great novellas this year, and think the book should be terrific.

The beaten generation

When I was in my teens the shadow of Margaret Thatcher lay, like some fell spirit, across the United Kingdom, inciting its youth to anger and seeming to rob the nation of optimism as dole queues grew and coal mines closed. Or so it seemed to me, on the other side of the world.

That anger, and its accompanying frustration, inspired a lot of great music, some of the best coming from Matt Johnson’s The The. I never would have expected, with Thatcher and her government safely consigned to history, that Johnson’s lyrics would come to seem more relevant today, than possibly ever before.

What inspired this? Well, I was reading a news article on the newly re-elected Australian government’s determination to get all of those lazy, slacker disabled people into a job and off their disability pensions, when the lyrics to an old The The song from 1989, “The Beaten Generation“, began to echo through my mind. I wonder if, as they cast their eyes to the skylines of this once proud nation, the government can sense the fear and the hatred growing in the hearts of its population?