Thursday, January 25, 2018

2016 SF/F Guide Charles Payseur


Best Stories

The 108 Recommendations of Destiny (2016 Edition)
Of the 108 stories in the list, we used the 59 stories that were reviewed by RSR and/or included in any of the 5 awards or 5 “year’s best” anthologies.

Novella

Chimera by Gu Shi  Time: 59m (Novella)  IssueClarkesworld 114
(Hard SF) Evan hasn't seen his wife in six years--ever since she left him and their newborn child. But their son needs special medical attention, and she's the world's expert.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [1]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2

Novelette

Angel, Monster, Man by Sam J. Miller  Time: 37m (Novelette)  IssueNightmare  40
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Breaking Water by Indrapramit Das  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 02/10/16
(Zombie) In modern India, Krishna encounters (and ignores) a dead woman's body by the river just before the dead start to walk. He feels guilty and determines to do something about it.
Nothing But The Sky by Gwendolyn Clare  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueBCS 201
(Fantasy Steampunk) Ensign Dorial hoped for a chance to prove himself, but an assignment to track down the Emperor's wayward niece wasn't what he had in mind.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Omoshango by Dayo Ntwari1  Time: 31m (Novelette)  IssueLightspeed 73
(Science Fantasy) A Nigerian program to develop people who can fly encounters opposition.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Polyglossia by Tamara Vardomskaya2  Time: 47m (Novelette)  IssueGiganotosaurus 03/01/16
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Book of How to Live by Rose Lemberg  Time: 44m (Novelette)  IssueBCS 209
(High Fantasy; Birdverse) In a world that values magic above all else, two creative women with no magic struggle to get recognition for their inventions.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Calculations of Artificials by Chi Hui  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 121
(SF AI) Unbeknownst to most people, almost everyone in the world is really a robot. Aixia helps keep the system running, but allows himself to become attached to a human boy he saved.
(Portal Fantasy) Consumed with guilt for being the sole survivor from her home dimension collapsed, Angel scrapes by in our world, living with a ghost, working as a janitor and doing limited magic on the sly.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Portal by Debbie Urbanski  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueThe Sun 483
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2 BASFF+1
The Scrape of Tooth and Bone by Ada Hoffman  Time: 29m (Novelette)  IssueGigaNotoSaurus 02/01/16
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2 BASFF+1
The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon  Time: 46m (Novelette)  IssueApex 80
(Fantasy) Someone (or something) is taking Grandma Harken's tomatoes, but finding the thief leads to a real mystery--and danger.
The Venus Effect by Joseph Allen Hill2  Time: 30m (Novelette)  IssueLightspeed 79
(Metafiction) A black author accepts  the challenge of writing a black SF hero, but the police just keep shooting him.
Unauthorized Access by An Owomoyela  Time: 34m (Novelette)  IssueLightspeed 76
(Hacker SF) Fresh out of prison for hacking, Aedo gets a request to do an even bigger hack. But why does Energy Davison want to hack its own systems?

Short Story

1957 by Stephen Cox2  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 84
(SF Horror) Daniel is 17, attends a British boys school, and is very happy except in those moments when he remembers a very different life.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
(Magical Realism) Hannah watched her sister Melanie die, incinerated with her own magic. Hannah can't accept that and sets out to use her own magic to put things right.
(Magical Allegory) Your lover has sunk to the bottom of the sea. You're a witch with tremendous powers, but can you really save him?
Afrofuturist 419 by Nnedi Okorafor  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 122
(SF Humor) Nigerian astronaut Abacha Tunde has been abandoned in space since 1990 and he would appreciate some help getting home.
An Ocean The Color Of Bruises by Isabel Yap  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 11
(Horror) Five twenty-something kids from Manila take a beach vacation to reminisce about their college days. It's the off season, but it's odd that no one else is there.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
(Near-Future SF) An interview with a simulation of the dead artist, Satka, who still has a big online following years after her death.
Black, Their Regalia by Darcie Little Badger  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueFantasy 60
(Fantasy) Three college kids infected with the plague head off to quarantine, still believing their music can make a difference.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Breathe by Cassandra Khaw  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 116
(Hard SF) Deep under the lightless ocean of an alien planet, you study the only lifeform ever discovered there.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Can't Beat 'Em by Nalo Hopkinson  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 13
(Slipstream) Marisella's so obsessed with the hot lady plumber that she almost doesn't hear that her drain is clogged by a baby monster.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Das Steingeschöpf by G.V. Anderson1  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 12/12/16
(Historical Fantasy) On the eve of the Nazi takeover, a young German man's first assignment fixing a living statue becomes more complicated than he expected.
Everything that Isn't Winter by Margaret Killjoy  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 10/19/16
(Post Apocalypse) Just as things are looking up, survivors in a Northwest community face a threat from the east.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR+2 CPayseur+2
Her Sacred Spirit Soars by S. Qiouyi Lu1  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 07/18/16
(Alternate History) In 1949, researchers attempt to harness "oriental lovebird energy" to cure human comas.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
How High Your Gods Can Count by Tegan Moore1  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 05/02/16
(Modern Fantasy) A troop of monkeys at a Mayan Pyramid interacts with the tourists and broods on their creation myths.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
(Modern Fantasy) Sergio is called to remove an offensive mural, but when he touches it, it makes him "remember" things from other people's lives.
Morning Cravings by Nin Harris2  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 73
(Magical SF) Derthye is a human who likes eggs. Her husband is a Barlishya, who is forbidden from eating eggs. This presents a problem.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Nobody Puts Baby in a Chamber by Alexis A. Hunter  Time: 01m (ShortStory)  IssueMothership Zeta 3
(SF Humor) The AI vacuum cleaner didn't mean to suck up the baby, but now what?
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander  Time: 03m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 13
(Horror) The girl he killed was much more than merely human, and there will be consequences.
Plea by Mary Anne Mohanraj  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 77
(SF) Baseline humans on Eris are fighting modified ones. The natives will accept some refugees, but Gwen is afraid her family won't pass inspection.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Postcards from Natalie by Carrie Laben  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueThe Dark 14
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Screamers by Tochi Onyebuchi  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueOmenana 8
(Horror) America has imported policemen from Nigeria to patrol black neighborhoods, and they’re struggling to solve cases where people seem to simply explode for no reason.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Secondhand Bodies by JY Yang  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 68
(SF) Agatha wants a svelte replacement for her plump body, but since she can't get one grown in a reasonable time, she looks into an illegal swap.
Terminal by Lavie Tidhar  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 04/13/16
(Planetary SF) A vast fleet of "jalopies" carry individuals on a one-way trip from Earth to Mars. People do it for different reasons, some of which we learn about in this story.
(Military SF) Rinthira retired from the Thai military a while back, but her former commander (and ex-lover) has come to call her back to duty.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Artificial Bees by Simon Guerrier  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 9
(SF) Randall, a robot, investigates an unfamiliar place: a home garden.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Cedar Grid by Sara Saab  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 115
(SF) After an alien terrorist kills Majd's little brother back on Earth, he struggles to accept it, and starts making changes to his own life.
The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 09/28/16
(Modern Fantasy) A young hustler discovers that he's supposed to play a big role in transforming New York from a city to a City. If he can survive it.
(Fantasy; Birdverse) Vadrai and Maru begin a professional correspondence as fellow artisans, and over time it becomes more than that.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Drowning Line by Haralambi Markov2  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 10
(Horror) Reinhart wanders in his sleep, drawn by the ghost of a long-dead ancestor determined to drown him.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Four Gardens of Fate by Betsy Phillips  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 81
(Paranormal) Fifteen-year-old Kayla can predict the future, but she wants to avoid the bad things that have happened to her other gifted relatives.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Gentleman Of Chaos by A. Merc Rustad  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 87
(High Fantasy) An immortal assassin threatens the new king, so he has his sister trained as the ultimate bodyguard.
The House That Jessica Built by Nadia Bulkin  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueThe Dark 18
Not reviewed by Rocket Stack Rank.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review []  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Jeweled Nawab Jungle Retreat by Priya Sridhar  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 214
(Indian Steampunk) Mr. and Mrs. Coates came to India to hunt the most difficult prey, and no one can convince them that hunting the Great Worm is suicide.
The Mama Mmiri by Walter Dinjos1  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 190
(African Fantasy) The narrator's twin died in a caisson, but he's sure the foreigner supervising the construction sacrificed him to the water spirit.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Marvelous Inventions of Mr. Tock by Daniel Baker  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 213
(Steampunk Horror) Justice Latch investigates the curious case of a girl who exploded.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
(High Fantasy) Hester sells eggs that turn you into a reptile if you eat them. It's the only way out of the city, but they never work on Hester herself.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
The Old Man and the Phoenix by Alexandria Baisden1  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 88
(Slipstream) An old man lies dying, his faithful companion at his side.
The Sweetest Skill by Tony Pi  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 197
(Chinese Fantasy; Candyman Ao) New to Chengdu, young Ao doesn't expect the fearsome tiger spirit to ask him for a favor--to rescue the Guardian of Chengdu. Ao has some magic, but cleverness may be more important.
Things With Beards by Sam J. Miller  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 117
(Horror) Following a disaster in Antarctica, MacReady spends summer 1983 in New York and starts to wonder what he might have brought back with him.
Three Points Masculine by An Owomoyela  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 72
(Military SF) On top of fighting against an anarchist revolution, a soldier copes with what he's sure is a man pretending to be a woman in the Women's Volunteer Corps.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR+2 CPayseur+2
Toward the Luminous Towers by Bogi Takács  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 120
(Military Fantasy) On a remote planet, the narrator uses a mix of magic and technology to control the drones that fight his country's enemy.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Tower of the Rosewater Goblet by Nin Harris2  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 01/04/16
(Fantasy) Erheani wanted to be a master storyteller, and the first task her teachers set for her was to update an old classic tale. But there are tales within tales...
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
u wont remember dying by Russell Nichols  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueTerraform 6/23/16
(Near-Future SF) A dying young black man writes notes for his future self.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
(SF Humor) A choose-your-own-adventure story in which you navigate the clinic on a space station full of aliens.
What Pada-Sara Means To The Elephant by Jeremy Sim  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 206
(High Fantasy) A boy and his sister flee their home city during a crackdown on the underclass, but the soldiers chasing them are closing in.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2
Ye Highlands And Ye Lowlands by Seanan McGuire  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 10
(SF) A scientist mourns the failure of scientists to anticipate the consequences of making contact with an alien race.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: CPayseur+2


Notable Stories


Novella


Novelette


Short Story



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