Tuesday, January 28, 2014

4500 Pages of Short Stories

For my Adam Smith sanity break, I decided to read some of the free short stories published in "The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on Tor.com". I tweeted about one of the stories that the collection was 5000 pages, but with the font set to the smallest size, it is only 4572 pages in the Apple eBook reader. So I've read over 1/5, 900 pages. There is a lot of fill around the stories tho: a cover art page (nice!); title page; DRM verbiage page; and a TOC. After the stories, for the established writers there's a listing of their work; for the newer writers, there were several 1-3 chapter previews of their novels. Still, this is great free content, thanks Tor! It winds up being 150 stories, alphabetically arranged by author's last name, and I've read 33 so far.

I'd read a few of the stories already. All have been pretty strong, except for one by a YA author which did seem a bit juvenile. Favorites:

  • "Six Months, Three Days", by Charlie Jane Anders. "The man who can see the future has a date with the woman who can see many possible futures." Fun and games playing with prescience. The author is apparently transgender, so maybe she has seen the dating scene from both sides?
  • "The Girl Who Sand Rose Madder", by Elizabeth Bear. I'd read this before. For those of you wondering how Keith Richards keeps going.
  • "The Final Now", by Gregory Benford. "Great Sky River" by Benford would definitely be in my list of top SF of all time. This is a nice, quirky (if theistic) look at the history of the universe. His "Grace Immaculate" story in the collection also has theistic overtones, whazzup widdat?
  • "A Window or a Small Box", by Jedediah Berry was I think my favorite story so far. An engaged couple, possible with cold feet, wind up in a totally odd parallel world -- maybe a variant of Pepperland. Adventures ensue. I ordered his novel "The Manual of Detection", which is apparently a fantastic, alternate-reality detective novel.
  • "TVA Baby", by Terry Bisson. A totally off-the-walls, WTF story.
  • "The Ruined Queen of Harvest World", by Damien Broderick. Nicely mythic and sure of itself. Apparently Mr. Broderick has been writing Sci-Fi in Australia for decades. I ordered a collection of his short stories.
Before going back to "Wealth of Nations", I'm clearing the magazine stack for February. The newest issue of "Technology Review" has on it's cover "Buy Fresh, Buy GMO". I think I will probably use this to do some pro-GMO tweets and FB postings. There's too much superstitious peasant anti-GMO sentiment out there.

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