Best Short Novels 2016 – An imaginary list

I may post about my picks for Best Novella of 2016 as we work our way through the ‘year in review’ period, but for the moment I was pondering what I’d put into my old Best Short Novels series, if I was still editing it for someone today.

After a bit of reflection I came up with the following list. I wasn’t restricted to Hugo length requirements, so one story is actually a long novelette, but this list would still come close to 200,000 words which is about right for the old series.

So, herewith, the fantasy contents for Best Short Novels: 2016.

  • The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor)
  • Every Heart A Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor)
  • This Census-taker, China Mieville (Del Rey)
  • The Charge and the Storm, An Owomoyela (Asimov’s)
  • The Devil You Know, K.J. Parker (Tor)
  • The Iron Tactician, Alastair Reynolds (Newcon)
  • The Best Story I Can Manage, Robert Shearman (Five Storeys High)
  • The Vanishing Kind, Lavie Tidhar (F&SF)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor)

It surprises me a little, in this era of digital publishing, that none of these are available to read online.

9 thoughts on “Best Short Novels 2016 – An imaginary list”

  1. Thank you! I enjoyed editing the series and wish it had continued. Alas, the sales just weren’t there, and that seems to continue. I think at 4 volumes, it’s the longest novella series yet.

  2. Bleiler and Dikty did a series that lasted for three years (they called them “novels”). Terry Carr’s had two instalments. So Jonathan is the reigning champion, but Paula Guran is closing in fast, with two books out already, and hopefully a third due in 2017.

  3. Wow! Bad news; first I’ve heard of it. Fortunately you, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton and Neil Clarke do manage to make room for some novellas in your current annuals. Long may they continue.

  4. I would buy this it was published in book form. I have all your old ones.
    It would be such a good deal getting all these in just one place.

  5. Your list and approximate word count confirm what I’ve heard before: most of these novellas are far closer to the lower end of the length category than to the upper end. Perhaps the SFWA should reset the division between length categories?

  6. I should have changed the number. The 10 stories there would come closer to 400,000 words. My error. Most are at least 25,000 ws and often are up to 40,000 or even a little more.

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