Best Short Novels: 2006 Preview

I’ve just finished proofreading the manuscript of the third volume of my year’s best novellas anthology series. It’s set to be published by the Science Fiction Book Club in June of this year, but I thought readers of this blog might like some kind of advance sampler to see what they’ll get before they hand over their hard earned dollars.

While my budget is limited, there’s a surprising amount of stuff you can find out on the web already that will give you an advance taste of the final book. Stories have been published online for awards’ consideration, podcast, sneak peeked or whatever, so…

  • The Little Goddess, Ian McDonald
    Ian McDonald’s story of faith and fate in a near future India is once of the most celebrated stories of the year. Read it online at Asimov’s.
  • The Gist Hunter, Matthew Hughes
    Hughes is establishing himself as one of the best writers of science fantasy working today. This story sees investigator Hengis Hapthorn hoist by his own petard on the cusp between science and magic. You can’t read or sample this one online, but you can get a feel for it by reading some of the fiction published on Matt’s website.
  • Human Readable, Cory Doctorow
    Emergent networks, insect intelligences, politics in Washington, and a life and death emergency at Jewish funeral near the beach. What more could you want from a story? Cory has podcast his story from Future Washington on his website. You can subscribe to his podcast, or download it in seven parts.
    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 |
  • Audubon in Atlantis, Harry Turtledove
    An ageing John James Audubon, America’s most famous naturalist, travels to an unlikely land to catch his last great glimpse of nature (and kill it). You can read an excerpt at Analog.
  • Magic For Beginners, Kelly Link
    You can read Kelly’s strange and lovely story about a tv show that you wished existed over at the F&SF website.
  • Fishin’ With Grandma Matchie, Steven Erikson
    This one’s not online at all. You can order a lovely edition of this strange post-modern SFnal tale from publisher PS Publishing.
  • The Policeman’s Daughter, Wil McCarthy
    You can read an excerpt from Wil McCarthy’s novella of murder and intrigue in his Wellstone universe at Analog.
  • Inside Job, Connie Willis
    You can read Connie Willis’s story of love, superstition and H.L. Mencken over at Asimov’s
  • Mysterious ninth story
    And there’s still the mysterious ninth story.
  • Online bonus
    Year’s best editors often complain that, if they just had a little more space, they would have added this or that story to their book. If I could have added just one more story to my already overstuff book, it would have been James Patrick Kelly’s extraordinary short novel, Burn. While you can order it from the publisher or Amazon.com, you can also listen to it as a sixteen part podcast. Or if that doesn’t suit, it’ll be in Gardner Dozois’s next year’s best SF. It’s very cool.

I hope to be writing more about my year’s bests over at www.yearsbests.com. Until then, you can always check out the official SFBC website.

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3 Comments

  1. So where can we read the mysterious ninth story? ;)

    A very nice list! I’ve actually read most of them, but it still looks worth getting them all together.

  2. In Best Short Novels? I can’t give away anymore information right now. Both the author and publisher granted special permission to allow the story to appear in my book, and I agreed not to break silence until the book was solicited by the publisher, so soon.

    On having read the stories: I’m not too surprised that a dedicated reader such as yourself would have seen most of the stories. Hopefully it’ll still be worth getting. And, if there’s anything you can think of that would add value to the experience, let me know.

  3. I really do think it’d be worth getting! The stories I haven’t read are a bonus (especially when I find I agree with the anthologiser (is that the word?), as I so often do with your selections, sir!) and there’s added advantages, I think, to having stories collected in book form.
    It’s interesting that none of these were published online, but when stories are, I do like having them in dead tree format too.

    SFBC books are a bit hard to get in Australia but eventually escape the confines of the US…

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