Short story reviews from the 2009 best-of lists, Part 1

“Going Deep”, by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, June 2009) Locus 2009 recommended list   Strahan Year’s Best This is a somewhat depressing entry from the usually positive Kelly, who has somehow managed to get a story into every June issue of Asimov’s for 25 years in a row.  A young girl named Mariska lives on the […]

“Fast Times at Fairmont High” by Vernor Vinge

Hugo winner 2002 This novella follows two students Miri and Juan through a class project in a future where people’s integration with information and technology is ubiquitous and effortless.  Nothing in the story that I noticed seems to denote a particular point in the future, probably with good reason because the pace of technological progress […]

Century Rain, by Alastair Reynolds

BSFA nominee 2005 After several successive largish volumes of baroque dystopian space opera with a hard astrophysics slant, Reynolds tries something marginally different by combining a similar baroque dystopian background with a 50’s noir crime story set in Paris.  Floyd is the hard-boiled protagonist detective, hired to investigate the apparently accidental death of a young […]

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss, by Kij Johnson

Hugo nominee 2009 First published in Asimovs SF, July 2008 Here’s an odd little existentialist story, more a collection of vignettes and observations surrounding Aimee and her 26 monkeys, who travel around performing at local fairs.  The big finale of their act involves getting all the various types of monkeys into a bathtub, from which […]

Lord Weary’s Empire, by Michael Swanwick

Hugo Nominee 2007 First published in Asimovs SF, December 2006 Those poor souls who don’t like to read fiction tend to claim, “Why would I want to read about something that never happened?”  Even moreso with science fiction, where you typically read about something that can’t or won’t happen.  So along comes Michael Swanwick, who […]

“The House Beyond Your Sky”, by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum’s story takes place towards the latter end of the universe, where some sort of post-human priest named Matthias is tinkering with a number of individual worlds in various stages of creation. A pilgrim, representing the “old ones” who created him, comes to visit, having heard of his efforts to create a brand new universe, […]

True Names, by Benjamin Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow

Two previous nominees team up to deliver a story that manages to be way out there and yet deals primarily with a small cast of characters. What these characters are, despite their human names, emotions and speech patterns, isn’t entirely clear, they would seem to be parts of some sort of cloud of replicated intelligences, […]