I've read around 400 short stories this year, about half of them new, but every now and then a story particularly stood out to me. Not all of them were perfect, but enjoyable, thought provoking or above all, memorable. I've finaly ended up with a list of my ten favourites published during 2007, listed here in chronological order:
A Pocket Full of Posies - Michele Dutcher – Aphelion #112
I've always liked sky elevators, and this one seems to be well-thought out. The whole story was well told and the ending had the air of a classic SF novel. The passage about the mysterious old lady added an extra dimension of realism and the whole story could easily have lasted much longer.
Passing the Test - Anna Feruglio Dal Dan – Farthing #5
This story remained with me for a long time after I finished it. It deals with a refugee’s attempts to return to Earth from one of the colonies, a very topical subject in the UK, and the test of humanity that he is obliged to take. The man’s desperation to bring himself and his daughter to safety really involve you in the story and his struggle against the seemingly indifferent authorities grips the emotions to the end
The Blue Parallel - Jessica Reissman – Hub #11
A cleverly inventive story that explores a world where reality is not solid and precautions are necessary against the chaotic work of ‘patterners’. It’s one of those stories that could be SF or fantasy, but it doesn’t actually matter as you are caught up in her marvellously crafted world.
City of Flesh - Russ Jackson – Fiction #2
The longest and most riveting story of the issue. It’s a classic ‘aliens walk among us’ conspiracy, and the various protagonists offer different slices of insight into what’s happening. The Day of the Triffids came to mind among other things, and I was gripped to the end.
The Gate – Rhian Chapman – Fiction #2
The emotive story of a star ship pilot who uses wormhole-type gates to transport cargo across the galaxy. The transit is beautifully described and the emotional highs and lows of the life of a pilot are truly involving.
Young Love on the Drowned Side of the City – William D McIntosh – Darker Matter #5
A post-apocalyptic tale of youngsters left to fend for themselves in a ruined city while the adults struggle to cope with their own trauma. The society is well realised and the relationships between the characters make it a troubling but heart warming tale.
Paston, Kentucky – Jonathan C Gillespie – Murky Depths #1
Small self-replicating machines are stripping the land of metal, leaving behind a ruined society. The different aspects of that society are well-thought out and the mission to destroy the machines is both gritty and gripping.
Spin-Off Merchandise – Roz Southey – Midnight Street #9
A story set in a future that reminded me of Blade Runner. It’s a society where celebrity and conformity have both gained such importance that almost everyone has gone under cosmetic surgery in order to imitate their favourite star. The few who don’t conform are fiercely persecuted and the mission of one woman to make her way unnoticed through the city streets was both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Audience of One – John Hickman – Aphelion #116
A fabulous story. I loved the irony and the way the frustration of being stranded on Titan came across. The alien(s) were great too. In fact, everything was great.
The Redoubt – Gareth L Powell – Aphelion #117
There was real emotional depth here as a young couple are offered the chance to send a digital copy of themselves on a universe-spanning voyage to the end of time. The scope of the concept and the agonising debate made it just perfect.
P.S. I couldn't find links for a few of the authors. If you have a link for any of them, please let me know!