Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Missing: 2010

I posted a similar list last year, and I think it is worth posting some of the books I didn't read in 2010.  Now, the actual list is absurdly long, but this is a decent representation of books I would have liked to have read and, for various reasons, never did.

For the sake of keeping this list manageable, I limited it to genre books.  If I browsed through listings of LitFic and Nonfiction, well, the list would be absurd.

Iorich, by Steven Brust
Galileo's Dream, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Black Hills, by Dan Simmons
The Sorcerer's House, by Gene Wolfe
Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Kraken, by China Mieville
Leviathan Wept, by Daniel Abraham
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
The Third Bear, by Jeff VanderMeer
Gaslight Dogs, by Karin Lowachee
The Loving Dead, by Amelia Beamer
Swords and Dark Magic, by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
The Waters Rising, by Sheri S Tepper
Passion Play, by Beth Bernobich
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin
The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne M. Valente

I would imagine that had I sampled through these books, my two Best Of lists which I'll post in the coming days would look a lot different. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Top Nine Author Discoveries of 2010

The year is coming to an end and it’s time to reflect on all of the good stuff I’ve read in the last twelve months. This is going to come up again when I talk about the Best Books Published in 2010 (that I’ve read), but 2010 has been something of an off year in regards to the number of books that I’ve read and also with the number of new books and authors I have encountered for the first time. There are reasons for that, none of which I’m going to get into right now, but the pool of newness isn’t as deep this year. Happily, the quality is just as strong.

Here then, are my top nine author discoveries of 2010. In the spirit of acknowledging that there is always something or someone I’ve missed, either by a slip of memory or just lack of opportunity, the traditional tenth spot on my list remains blank.

1. Jeff VanderMeer: I’ve read VanderMeer before, the occasional short story (including his excellent novella The Situation last year), but Finch was a revelation that just blew me away. I felt like I wanted to be John Cusack in Say Anything, standing in the world’s driveway holding Finch above my head. I never did work out how the copy of Finch would play “In Your Eyes”, especially since it’s more a Murder By Death book, but there you go. Since Finch, I’ve picked up copies of some of VanderMeer’s other work.  I think that counts as "discovery".

2. Molly Gloss: One theme of this year’s list is that most of the authors will be here on the strength of just one novel. For Molly Gloss, that novel is The Dazzle of Day, a fantastic novel focusing on the quiet lives aboard a generation ship traveling to a new world. While I haven’t yet picked up another one of her books, I will. The Dazzle of Day was simply beautiful.

3. Kristine Kathryn Rusch: One novel can be enough to make you want to read everything else the writer has done. With Rusch, that novel is Diving Into the Wreck. There’s a sequel coming, but I’ve also picked up the first book in her Retrieval Artist series. Rusch has been around for a while, has won a host of awards, been involved in both ends of publishing, and is all around a recognizable name. Turns out she’s a heck of a writer, too. I only wish I read her sooner.

4. James Barclay: The only writer on the list where I’ve read more than one book. In Barclay’s case, I’ve read four. Barclay writes the sort of secondary world quest fantasy so chock full of action and ass kicking that I would have absolutely LOVED as a teenager / twenty something, and which I still quite rather enjoy today. In my review (of sorts) of The Chronicles of the Raven I wrote about how Barclay was something of a bridge between the more standard fantasies of the 80’s / early 90’s and the nastier / in your face stuff like Joe Abercrombie is writing today. This is good stuff.

5. Aliette de Bodard: Do you know anyone else writing historical fantasy set in Aztec times with the High Priest of the Dead investigating crimes that may involve the very real gods? Neither do I. Also, Servant of the Underworld was an excellent novel. Want. More.

6. Ian Tregillis: I knew the name from the Wild Cards series, but the first volume of the Milkweed Triptych, an alternate WWII tale with very broken super soldiers and secret histories, is one heck of a debut novel. Bitter Seeds isn’t nearly as lurid as all that, but it is a well told story with genetic manipulation and a breeding program by the Nazis. This is a writer you want to watch (I suppose, by virtue of being on this list, I think these are all writers you want to watch)

7. George Mann: Mann is probably best known for his highly praised debut novel The Affinity Bridge, but my experience is with Ghosts of Manhattan, which harks back to the radio pulp heroes (think, The Shadow). It's a lot of fun and sold me on George Mann as a storyteller I wanted more from.

8. Wen Spencer: A Brother's Price is a Regency Romance with the gender roles flipped and there is a serious gender imbalance in the world. Spencer's novel is good enough that I might be willing to read a standard Regency novel, and I wish she wrote more stories (Regency or not) set in this world. There is so much more to explore here. I'm overdue to read more of Spencer's work.

9. Bernard Beckett: Beckett is the author of Genesis, a slim post apocalyptic dystopian novel where we are given so much social and personal history in info-dumping explanations (the protagonist is facing his entrance examinations to the “Academy”. Genesis should stagger under the weight of exposition, but instead it shines. Genesis is smart fiction. It's enough to recommend seeking out more of Beckett's work.

Previous discoveries can be found for 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Servant of the Underworld, by Aliette de Bodard

Servant of the Underworld
Aliette de Bodard
Angry Robot Books: 2010

Historical Fantasy. Mystery. Aztecs. That's the snapshot of Aliette de Bodard's debut novel Servant of the Underworld. This isn't the sort of fantasy readers come across too often. After Servant of the Underworld it's time to wonder why. This is delightful.

During the height of the Aztec Empire in the capitol city of Tenochtitlan a Priestess disappears from her calmecac (think, school). The room from which she disappeared, unseen, is drenched in an obscene amount of blood. Tasked to investigate is Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead. Acatl has tried to avoid the politics of Empire, but the investigation will touch the politics of the Empire, gods, and of family. Servant of the Underworld is a murder mystery / family drama / historical fantasy / coming of age story and it is all awesome.

Aliette de Bodard does a fantastic job spinning this story. Acatl is absolutely uncomfortable getting involved in anything larger than the private duties of his religion, but his integrity and competence demands that he sees this investigation through, no matter the impact it may have on his family, on his brother who is implicated in the crime. There is a tenseness that pervades the novel, a sense that the time to find out the truth is running short. Politics requires an expedited investigation.

Servant of the Underworld is a fantastic novel which delves into a world so seldom explored in fiction. de Bodard mentions in the Afterword that one of her motivations was to show the Aztecs as more than the more common representation of bloodthirsty barbarian villains. Her accomplishment here is that while the side of the Aztecs we see in Servant of the Underworld is mostly that of the clergy, there is a pervading sense of a vibrant culture behind the scenes. Finishing Servant of the Underworld, which is a complete story on its own, will only compel readers to impatiently wait for the next volume, Harbinger of the Storm. I want more. 

the rare side of Wild Cards

George R. R. Martin has a Wild Cards related post and he gives a bit of an overview of where things stand for readers looking to get a hold of the earlier volumes of the series. As George mentions, the first book was published in 1987, and there have been four different publishers involved.  This is a longer excerpt than I normally quote, but it really covers the trouble readers may have with some of the later books.  George's post has prettier pictures than mine, and more paragraphs of joy.

Which is where things get complicated. With that long a history, some of the volumes are naturally much harder to find than others. The original twelve-volume run from Bantam can usually be found via ABE.books or ebay at reasonable prices, but the three volume "Card Shark" series that followed, published by Baen Books, is considerably more challenging, especially the third and concluding volume of the triad, BLACK TRUMP. If you do find it, it will likely cost you a lot more than it originally sold for.

That being said, even BLACK TRUMP is easy to find compared to the two hardcover originals published by iBooks when they brought the series back after a seven-year hiatus -- DEUCES DOWN, a typical Wild Cards book with stories by various hands, and DEATH DRAWS FIVE, John Jos. Miller's solo WC novel. DD5 was published only one week before iBooks went bankrupt and closed up shop. As result, to the best of our knowledge, only 600 or so copies ever got into the bookstores. (Was that the total print run, or are there more sitting somewhere in a warehouse? No one seems to know, and there's no one left at iBooks to ask). In the years since, and especially after Tor and INSIDE STRAIGHT kicked off the second coming, demand for the book has steadily risen, along with its price. It has become the Holy Grail of Wild Cards collectors.

He's not kidding with Death Draws Five.  If you can find a copy under $80 right now, you've found a good deal.  It's the only book in the series I don't own.

I got lucky with the paperbacks and, no lie, found almost the complete set in one glorious trip to Uncle Hugo's - including all three volumes of the Card Sharks trilogy.  Didn't realize those were on the rare side.  I later received Deuces Down as a gift.  Which leaves Death Draws Five.  Every time I check in at Uncle Hugo's, I am prepared to lose bladder control should I see a copy on the shelf.  I am prepared to snatch that copy, clutch it close, and call it "my precious".  That copy just hasn't shown up yet. 

I knew that there was an e-book of Death Draws Five available, but I've only read through the first seven books (plus 18-20), so just reading it isn't a priority at the moment.  My library also has one precious copy, if it came to that.  I just want a full collection in print editions. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hugo Awards

Just a heads up, start thinking about the 2011 Hugo Awards. 

If you were a member of the 2010 Worldcon (AussieCon 4), you will be eligible to nominate for the 2011 Hugo Awards.  If you want to vote, you'll need to be a member of Renovation.  The nomination period is from January to March (I saw the actual date range, just can't find it right now).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

steampunk - all day, all night

If you have been under a rock for, well, ever, and you don't know much about steampunk at all or where to go with it, you might wish to check out this post from Jeff VanderMeer at Omnivoracious

Lots of good stuff there. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Man with the Knives, by Ellen Kushner

Hey, you know that Different Sort of List I posted, the one where Jeff VanderMeer offered up a number of off the beaten path gift ideas?

Well, in that post Jeff mentioned that Catherynne Valente's Under in the Mere and Ellen Kushner's The Man With the Knives weren't available on Amazon.  If you follow the link, you'll find that Valente's novel is available via the publisher, Rabid Transit Press. 

The Man with the Knives is a limited edition chapbook published by Temporary Culture and there are few copies remaining for sale (via a link that didn't work when I tried it).

The good news: "The Man with the Knives" has been published on and everyone who missed out on the chapbook (most people) can read it. 

The story ties into Kushner's 1987 novel Swordspoint and likely answers a lingering question or two and provides some closure.  I couldn't say.  I haven't read Swordspoint.  But after reading "The Man with the Knives", I want to. 

"The Man with the Knives" stands on its own as a story and is a bittersweet tale of a somewhat broken man letting go of the past, and of a man and a woman finding a small place of quiet and home in the world.  Very good story. 

one last catch up post

Back in August I posted a catch-up with how I was doing on my anticipated reading list for 2010.  Since I'm working on the 2011 list, it's time to check in on this one last time. 

1.  Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
2.  A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin (2011?)
3.  The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch (2011)
4.  Shadow Unit: Season One, by Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear (editors)
5.  Prince of Storms, by Kay Kenyon
6.  Swords and Dark Magic, by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan (editors)
7.  Fort Freak, by George R. R. Martin (editor) (2011)
8.  Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest 
9.  The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
10. The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear (Q1 2011)
11. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal
12. Horns, by Joe Hill
13. Eclipse Four, by Jonathan Strahan (editor) (2011)
14. Gardens of the Sun, by Paul McAuley
15. The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
16. Lesser Demons, by Norman Partridge
17. The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volume 4, by Jonathan Strahan (editor)
18. Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
19. Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld

With a number of titled slated for next year, I'm only slack on seven titles.  I own the McAuley and the Strahan anthology.  Interestingly, I have an ARC of Elizabeth Bear's novel and expect to finish that by the end of the year. 

Most of them will get read, if not in the next two weeks. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Different Sort of List

Jeff VanderMeer has a post up on the Omnivoracious blog titled "Gift Book Suggestions for the Imaginative, the Curious, the Weird".  It's a selection of some twenty books from a variety of mostly small presses and I've heard of a grand total of three of them.  Chances are they will be mostly new to you, too.

I'm posting the list here, but go check out the above link to see VanderMeer's thoughts on them. Lists are just lists.  They don't tell you why. 

Under in the Mere, by Catherynne M. Valente
The Man With the Knives, by Ellen Kushner
Half World, by Hiromi Goto (Viking)
The Wild Kingdom, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
Eden, by Pablo Holmberg (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Weird Fiction Review, edited by S.T. Joshi (Centipede Press)
The Library of Forgotten Books, by Rjurik Davidson (PS Publishing)
Elmer, by Gerry Alanguilan (Slave Labor Graphics)
Light Boxes, by Shane Jones (Penguin)
Horse, Flower, Bird, by Kate Bernheimer (Coffee House Press)
Poetry, Fiction, and Essays, by Eric Basso (various)
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, by Barbara Comyns (Dorothy)
Event Factory, by Renee Gladman
Scorch Atlas, by Blake Butler (Featherproof Books)
I Wonder, by Marian Bantjes (The Monacelli Press)
The Honey Month, by Amal El-Mohtar (Papaveria Press)
Black Static magazine, edited by Andy Cox
The Revisionist, by Miranda Mellis (Calamari Press)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Results Are In: The Final Top 10

The results of Torque Control's poll to determine the top ten science fiction novels of the last decade written by women are in and final.  Niall has been posting the list, one by one, all week.  With the announcement of the number one novel, we now have the full list. 

1. The Carhullan Army/Daughters of the North, by Sarah Hall
2. Maul, by Tricia Sullivan
3. Natural History, by Justina Robson
4. The Time-Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
5= Spirit, by Gwyneth Jones
5= The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon
7. Life, by Gwyneth Jones
8. Lavinia, by Ursula K Le Guin
9. Farthing, by Jo Walton
10= Bold as Love, by Gwyneth Jones
10= City of Pearl, by Karen Traviss
My first thought is: Cool, two of my picks were popular enough to make the final list.  Both City of Pearl and The Time Traveler's Wife are excellent novels.  I'm glad I took the time to send in my picks because without them, City of Pearl would have dropped off the list.  It's nice to see that a number of other people though highly enough of it to include it on their lists as well. 

My second thought: Clearly I need to read some Gwyneth Jones.  And Tricia Sullivan's Maul.  I own a copy.  Maybe I should open it. 

Niall has also been compiling various stats based on the voting.

Various Top Tens by Category
The Full List of Works Nominated.
Top Ten Writers (based on total nominations, not necessarily placement on the list)

There have been a number of other posts keeping in the theme of the week, discussing other female authored SF works.  Just browse around and you'll find plenty of stuff to read.  Otherwise, the womensf tag grabs everything on wordpress using that tag.  You'll get all of Torque Control's recent stuff, but it stretches back farther than just this week.  Not a huge fan of the interface there, but it's another resource. 

So there you have it. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Many Lives of Inez Wick

This isn’t something that I do very often. I’m leery of self published work, with some very specific exceptions. If you’re wondering if you are one of those very specific exceptions and want to send me an e-mail asking if I’ll promote and read your self-published novel or story? Don’t. You’re not, and I won’t. I’ve got opinions about this stuff and exceptions are hard to come by.

So why then am I posting about Aaron Wilson’s self published collection of linked stories? I haven’t read them and given my backlog and what’s coming up for me, I’m not sure when I’d even get to it.  This is just signal boosting.

Not sure if anyone remembers this, but Aaron used to run the Soulless Machine Review blog. He focused quite a bit on short fiction and delved a bit into novel length stuff, too. He’s been out of that game for a number of years now, but I did enjoy his blog back in the day. Also, for me, he’s a local writer. He’s Minneapolis based. I’ve interacted with the guy a bit in the past about our blogs and the local scene. He still has a blog under the Soulless Machine umbrella, but it’s not the same thing.

I also recently read one of his stories (included in this collection) and enjoyed it.

This is preamble to the point that Aaron Wilson has his debut collection making its way out there in the world and I want to get some word out on his behalf. Sometimes you just have to throw some support to a local author and a former fellow book blogger. And hey, his story “Dog Fight” was rather good and it’s part of this collection.

"The Many Lives of Inez Wick" is a collection of short stories that focus on the sometimes eco-heroine, Inez Wick, as she treads the underbelly of domestic terrorism, occasionally blowing up resource exploiters and pouters

Oh, and the cover art? It’s from Bob Lipski, creator of the awesomely awesome Uptown Girl comics.

Cat Valente's Ventriloquism

Back in September I posted a list of some of the books I was looking forward to in the fourth quarter, 2010.  Included on the list was Ventriloquism, a short story collection from Catherynne M. Valente published by PS Publishing (a UK based publisher). 

I mentioned at that time that I was concerned about difficulties finding a copy in the US.

Well...from time to time, Subterranean Press partners with PS Publishing to distribute PS volumes here in the States.

See where this is going?

SubPress will be selling Ventriloquism to American audiences.  I've purchased several PS volumes this way.  It's a great deal for folks in the US.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Senses Five Press Holiday Sale

Via Kelly Barnhill (on Facebook, but I can't really link that)

Senses Five Press, the publisher of the Sybil's Garage Magazine and the Paper Cities anthology, is having a half price sale for the Holiday season.  On everything (which would be 7 magazines and one book). 

Sybil's Garage is a very well regarded magazine.  I own a copy of issue 6, but haven't read it.  Not sure exactly how long the sale is running, but I'm inclined to do some shopping.  They've got e-copies of the early magazines on the cheap.  You know, the ones that built the reputation.

To whet the appetite (and something I just discovered), issues three and four are currently available for free download.  I do have to drop a disclaimer, though.  There's something wonky about he checkout process to download the files.  Even though they are PDFs, the shopping cart keeps trying to add a nominal shipping charge to the order.  I did send a note via the "Contact Us" link - which is likely to editor Matthew Kressel, and I'd expect that stuff to get figured out.

Regardless - if you've been looking to try out the newer issues of Sybil's Garage, this is the time to do it.  Half price for what is essentially a short anthology series (my copy of issue 6 is 100 pages with 16 stories and 13 poems).  Not a bad deal at all.

Edit: The situation with inadvertent shipping charges has been resolved.   

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Justina Robson's Heliotrope

Via Torque Control, Justina Robson has a short story collection due out next year titled Heliotrope.  Here is the press release

Awesome news.  I haven't read much Robson outside her excellent Quantum Gravity series (start here) and a couple of her stories, but everything has been quite good.

Hopefully this collection can find its way over to the US and not taunt me from the UK.  It'll be one to look for. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Top Ten SF Novels of the Last Decade, Written by Women (and which i have read)

Over at Torque Control, Niall Harrison is having a weeklong discussion of SF written by women. The genesis of this stems from several different conversations, and you can follow the links from his post. I come into this sort of on the backend. What I missed over the last week was Niall's post several days ago asking for people to e-mail him their nominations for the Top 10 SF novels written by women over the last ten years (2001 - 2010). I quick looked over my collection, at my Years's Best posts from the last four years, and at a host of other links Niall had included and pulled together my list.

I had just missed the deadline, but since this isn't hard science, Niall let it slide and took my nominations anyway.

I noted to Niall that I'm not as well read in SF as I am in fantasy, which is true, but there is a further point is that I'm also less well read in SF from the last decade. Several novels I would have included without question or hesitation were published in the 90's. Nicola Griffith's Ammonite was published in 1992. The Sparrow, from Mary Doria Russell in 1996. Emma Bull's Bone Dance in 1991. Molly Gloss's The Dazzle of Day in 1998. Those were just the first four that came to mind.

So what, then?

There is no doubt that not only have I likely overlooked something awesome I read six years ago that would qualify for inclusion, I simply have to assume that there are dozens upon dozens (upon dozens) of novels which, if only had I read them, I would shout from the rooftops about how wonderful they are. To those authors, I apologize. I simply haven't read you.

Which brings me to the list of novels I did e-mail Niall as my nominations. I have some reservations about it, more regarding the novels I've overlooked and the novels I haven't read yet than regarding the actual inclusion of what I have here. Give me another decade and this list looks very different and I feel more assured of my choices. Another reservation is just where to draw my genre line between SF and Fantasy. Regardless, here are my nominees - based on what I have read and what I remember having read.

The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
City of Pearl, by Karen Traviss (2004)
Alanya to Alanya, by L. Timmel Duchamp (2005)
Dust, by Elizabeth Bear (2007)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)
Refining Fire, by Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear (2008) (no review, per se)
Regenesis, by C. J. Cherryh (2009)
Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest (2009)
City Without End, by Kay Kenyon (2009)
Diving Into the Wreck, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2009)

I have linked my reviews, where possible.

What would you have included? Sound off.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Iron Khan is here!

Well, electronically, that is. 

Editor Marty Halpern points out that the fifth volume of Liz Williams' Detective Inspector Chen series, The Iron Khan, has been published as an ebook by Morrigan Books.

Halpern mentions that a print edition is still planned and will be announced, but this is a great first step and it is wonderful to see that Detective Inspector Chen is still alive and kicking after the mess of this summer

I've had a Night Shade ARC of The Iron Khan for the last year, but held off on reading it - not knowing when, exactly, the manuscript would be published and if there were any substantial changes to it.  I still don't know this, but the real news is that the rest of the world will get the chance to read more Chen. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

"Ghosts of New York" available for free reading

Via Jennifer Pelland.

I tracked down a copy of the Dark Faith anthology for just a couple of stories from some of my favorite writers, Jennifer Pelland's "Ghosts of New York" right at the top of that list.  I wrote about the story back in June.  As expected, it was excellent. 

But, the story was only available in a small press anthology and I couldn't share this awesomeness with everyone else.

Until now.

Apex has published "Ghosts of New York" on their website for some quality free reading.  This would be an excellent time to go read the story.  You don't even have to leave the comfort of your house. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Taxidermist's Other Wife, by Kelly Barnhill

Since it is the beginning of another month, we have another set of stories from Clarkesworld Magazine.  I assume you've been reading Clarkesworld for a while now, but just in case you haven't...

The one I wanted to point out, if you haven't noted the title of this post, is "The Taxidermists's Other Wife", by Kelly Barnhill.  This is a twisted little tale, especially as the realization begins to set in. 

Now, I have to admit, Kelly Barnhill is a friend and a delightful person.  BUT, she is also a wonderful writer and while I've been anticipating her debut novel (The Mostly True Story of Jack, due out August 2011), I'm thrilled to run across her stories anywhere they may be.  You may recognize Barnhill from the VanderMeer's pirate anthology Fast Ships, Black Sails (though, clearly not from my review).  She's also been published in Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, Postscripts, and Sybil's Garage.  Not too shabby.

Now go read.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

TOC: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 5

Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for the fifth volume of his annual Year's Best anthology of SFF.

Strahan has a great eye for picking out the best stories, so each volume is a must read.

Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
“Elegy for a Young Elk,” Hannu Rajaniemi
“The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains,” Neil Gaiman
“Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots,” Sandra McDonald
“The Spy Who Never Grew Up,” Sarah Rees Brennan
“The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue,” Holly Black
“Under the Moons of Venus,” Damien Broderick
“The Fool Jobs,” Joe Abercrombie
“Alone,” Robert Reed
“Names for Water,” Kij Johnson
“Fair Ladies,” Theodora Goss
“Plus or Minus,” James P. Kelly
“The Man With the Knives,” Ellen Kushner
“The Jammie Dodgers and the Adventure of the Leicester Square Screening,” Cory Doctorow
“The Maiden Flight of McAuley’s Bellerophon,” Elizabeth Hand
“The Miracle Aquilina,” Margo Lanagan
“The Taste of Night,” Pat Cadigan
“The Exterminator’s Want-Ad,” Bruce Sterling
“Map of Seventeen,” Christopher Barzak
“The Naturalist,” Maureen McHugh
“Sins of the Father,” Sara Genge
“The Sultan of the Clouds,” Geoffrey A. Landis
“Iteration,” John Kessel
“The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” Diana Peterfreund
“The Night Train,” Lavie Tidhar
“Still Life (A Sexagesimal Fairy Tale),” Ian Tregillis
“Amor Vincit Omnia,” K.J. Parker
“The Things,” Peter Watts
“The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball,” Genevieve Valentine
“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window,” Rachel Swirsky
"The Things", from Peter Watts, is excellent.  I expect the others to be equally good.  A story from Rachel Swirsky is always a good sign.