10 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Clarkesworld 2016

written by David Steffen

Another great year for Clarkesworld, lots of great stories by authors both familiar and new.  Clarkesworld remains the most prolific of the podcasts I listen to, clocking in at 83 stories for the year of 2016, and with a much higher wordcount limit than most of the others, that comes to significantly more words.  Neil Clarke continues as editor, and Kate Baker continues to produce, host, and narrate most of the episodes of the podcast.

They continue to publish monthly stories published from Chinese through a relationship with StoryCom.  This has had a wonderful result, as I’ve very much enjoyed finding new Chinese authors in translation through Clarkesworld, and you can clearly see the effect on this list.

All of the stories that are eligible for the Nebulas and Hugos are marked with an asterisk (*) if they are Clarkesworld originals, or a double-asterisk (**) if they were first published elsewhere in 2016 and then reprinted in Clarkesworld.

The List

1. “The Snow of Jinyang” by Zhang Ran, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan*
Alternate history with the city of Jinyang holding many anachronistic technologies (including an internet!).  Apparently this is a whole subgenre of Chinese science fiction, and I want to read more of it!

2.  “Everybody Loves Charles” by Bao Shu, translated by Ken Liu*
Celebrity racer Charles is one of the most popular people int he world, owing in large part to his live-casting of his whole life, that anyone can come along for the ride.  But how can he have any kind of real romance, living like that?

3.  “Against the Stream” by A Que, translated by Nick Stember*
There is a rare condition where, after living one’s live normally, one abruptly starts to live it in reverse day by day.

4.  “The Calculations of Artificals” by Chi Hui, translated by John Chu*
In a world that appears like ours, but where most of the people are constructs meant only to be convincing for those few real people, the protagonist of this story is in charge of making sure this all runs smoothly.

5.  “Rusties” by Nnedi Okorafor and Wanuri Kahiu*
A girl befriends a rusty, one of the automated traffic control bots, known for their rusty appearance.

6.  “Chimera” by Gu Shi, translated by S. Qiouyi Lu and Ken Liu*
A young boy is horribly hurt in a car accident, and his scientistmother uses her developing research to save his life.

7.  “The Dark City Luminous” by Tom Crosshill**
One of the world’s best Augmented Reality developers, who has helped change the world to a complete AR experience to reskin the world however you like, and they soon won’t be able to use the AR themselves.

8.  “The Next Scene” by Robert Reed*
The aliens have come, and they’ve remade the economy and social order of the world to reward citizens for making entertaining drama for them.

Honorable Mentions

“Reef” by Paul McAuley

“Afrofuturist 419” by Nnedi Okorafor

“The Fixer” by Paul McAuley

“The Governess With the Artificial Womb” by Leena Likitalo

 

 

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