written by David Steffen Clarkesworld continues strong this year with a mix of science fiction and fantasy, and edited by Neil Clarke, with Kate Baker producing and usually narrating the podcast. They published 80 stories in 2019 by my count. Their translation stories are many of my favorites, as they have been for the past … Continue reading The Best of Clarkesworld 2019
“Cat Pictures Please” is one of the Hugo Finalists for the short story category this year. It was published by Clarkesworld Magazine, and you can read it here in its entirety or listen to it in audio.
The protagonist of “Cat Pictures Please” is an AI written as the core of a search engine algorithm. As the story points out, an AI isn’t needed to find things that people search for, but it is needed to find what people need. The search engine knows a lot about people, including things they will not share with each other.
Clarkesworld Magazine has had an incredible year. As I write these lists I am considering my own Nebula and Hugo nomination ballots and I think that no less than 3 of my 5 picks might come from Clarkesworld. This year they’ve been publishing a monthly story translated from Chinese as part of an ongoing initiative to share more Chinese author’s works with the English reading fandom. These stories have been a wonderful change of pace, different in some ways from what I’m used to in works written in English, something new and fresh.
The magazine continues to be edited by Neil Clarke, published by Sean Wallace, and the podcast is hosted and most-often narrated by Kate Baker of the excellent voice.
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).
So, with this increase in publication rate, they put out a whopping 55 stories in the year of 2013.
written by David Steffen
It’s award season again! If you’re eligible to vote for the Hugos, you have until the end of March to decide on your picks. I wanted to share my picks, as I always do, in plenty of time so that if anyone wants to investigate my choices to see for themselves they’ll have plenty of time.
I’ve spent the last several months reviewing award nominees. I decided to take it one step further and post the final decisions that I plan to post to my Hugo ballot with explanations (where I deem them necessary) about why I voted the way I did. I encourage anyone reading this to post discussion in the comments about how they voted, why I am wrong in my choices, etc.
What makes this more interesting is that the Hugo Awards use an instant runoff voting system. You rank your changes from 1-x, and can also set a number to the “No Award” category. You can find all the nitty gritty details at the Hugo Page explaining votes. I like the system a lot, much more than just a simple single-cast vote, because if your primary vote is for the least popular story, your other preferences still count for something.
Clarkesworld Magazine has been growing! Some time after my last Best of Clarkesworld post, they did a subscription drive where they promised to go from providing two stories per month to providing three stories per month. That drive was a success, and so they’ve been providing stories at the new rate for more than a year.
And now they’re working on yet another expansion. If they can get another push of subscribers in the near future, they’ll go up to 4 stories per month, which includes a podcast for each one. If you like the stories you read here, consider getting a subscription to help them produce even more! And, on top of that, they’ve brought in Gardner Dozois for a reprint division, which will be yet another story every month.
This is the first year that I’ve chosen to pay for a supporting membership to Worldcon. This is where the Hugo awards, the fan-based major award of the science fiction community, are presented. Paying for a supporting membership not only gives you the right to nominate and to vote, but also gives you the Hugo packet, a package containing most of the individual Hugo nominated works and examples of work from Hugo nominated individuals and magazines. That’s a load of bargain-priced brand-new fiction at $50.
Clarkesworld has published some amazing stories. Like all markets, I don’t like every one of their stories, but when they do publish a story that I like, the story’s not just good, it’s great. It was not hard to fill this list. It was so hard that the entire top 5 are equally worthy of 1st place in my opinion. But ranking them a 5-way tie for first place would be rather wishy-washy and would sort of undermine the point of having a list. So I thought about it long and hard to decide on particular aspects of each story that I liked more than the others to come up with this final ranking.