January Recap

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Jan 31, 2010 in Reviews |

I’ve learned a lot from reading this first batch of stories individually, so let’s see if there’s anything to take away looking at them as a group. First, a refresher for January’s Reviews:

These stories were selected from pro and semi-pro Science Fiction/Fantasy/Weird magazines at random, except for one story that was recommended to me by a friend. There were a few other stories that I read that I either didn’t feel compelled enough to finish, or didn’t feel strongly enough about to write a review, so these results will be somewhat skewed towards my personal tastes.

The stories were diverse in setting, including India, Baghdad, Dublin, Florida and two off-world (plus another two that had off-world scenes as well.) Some of these were hard to pin with a particular genre, but I’d classify three as Science Fiction, three as Fantasy/Paranormal/Weird, and one as Cross-Genre. The styles leaned heavily towards literary, and I was surprised that several of these stories were very loosely plotted. This is good news for me, since I’m always struggling with plot. Now I know this doesn’t matter so much when selling to top paying markets.

This leaves me wondering what a story must do to compensate for the lack of a strong plot. In Bad Matter it was superb world building, some of the best I’ve ever seen in such a short space.  In Spar it’s the in-your-face vileness of the situation and the rhythm of the words. And in A Rose is Rose, it’s the deep characters working together in an intricate weaving of stories.

Choosing a favorite from this batch was difficult. Ambient Morgue Music had killer concepts, and Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs made me laugh out loud more times than I could count. But in the end, I think characters take the prize this time.

So January’s Must Read is: A Rose is Rose by Georgina Bruce!

Go read it right now, if you haven’t. And if you have, go read it again.

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