21 April 2014 ~ 2 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld 2013

written by David Steffen

Clarkesworld has expanded since I did the last list! Now they provide two reprint stories per month on top of the three originals that they were already publishing. And they’re in the middle of a subscription drive and if they meet their goal they’ll add another original to the mix. All of their stories are podcasted (most read by the very talented and extremely personable Kate Baker). It continues to be edited by Neil Clarke, and Neil recently announced that Clarkesworld is no longer eligible for the Best Semi-prozine Hugo Award because they made too much money. This is great news because it signals that the magazine is growing and doing well. You can still nominate the stories, and can nominate Neil himself for Best Editor, Short Form.

So, with this increase in publication rate, they put out a whopping 55 stories in the year of 2013.

 

The List

1. The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly
One of my favorite stories in recent memory, about a brain-damaged former astronaut and the artificial intelligence augment which tries to restore him to himself, and trying to re-establish a relationship with his wife. Unlike most stories on the podcast, which are read by Kate Baker alone, this was read by Kate Baker with the author James Patrick Kelly as the two main characters. I think I would’ve liked the story without that reading, but that reading really made it above and beyond IMO. Easily one of my Hugo picks for the year.

2. A Night at the Tarn House by George R. R. Martin
A story about a confrontation at an inn between several super-powered sorcerous types with different motivations and different abilities. It keeps you guessing until the end who will come out on top.

3. Mar Pacifico by Greg Mellor
Nanomachines have run so rampant that they have subsumed the ocean itself and many of the lifeforms on the planet. This is the story about one family’s fight against the all-consuming machines.

4. The Urashima Effect by E. Lily Yu
A space travel SF story with a fairy tale analog all wrapped up inside it. Well told, heartfelt.

5. The Wanderers by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Aliens visit Earth who know us only by our entertainments, and are especially fans of the more gruesome ones that convince them that we will not treat them as monsters. But where is everybody?

6. 1016 to 1 by James Patrick Kelly
Another story by Mr. Kelly, of a time traveler visiting the past to try to prevent World War III.

 

Honorable Mentions

Melt With You by Emily C. Skaftun

Spar (The Bacon Remix) by Kij Johnson
(note, this is a silly version of a much more serious and adult story Spar previously published in Clarkesworld)

Out of Copyright by Charles Sheffield

 

2 Responses to “The Best of Clarkesworld 2013”

  1. Shane 1 May 2014 at 5:40 pm Permalink

    Ahhh, how does “Out of Copyright” only make the Honorable Mentions list? I thought it was the best of the bunch!

    (Oh, except Promise of Space, but I had already heard that one so I didn’t re-download it here!)

  2. David Steffen 2 May 2014 at 12:25 pm Permalink

    Out of Copyright didn’t succeed in engaging me emotionally as much as most of the other ones on the list, so that’s why I didn’t place it higher. Great idea and a plausible practical use of an SFnal idea, good reveal at the end.


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