REVIEW: Clarkesworld Year Six, Edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace

REVIEW SUMMARY: Clarkesworld Year Six includes all 34 original pieces published in Clarkesworld Magazine during their sixth year. If you’re looking to get caught up on Clarkesworld, you can’t beat their yearly volumes.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Large variety of voice and style; good mix of famous writers and newer voices; includes many excellent examples of speculative fiction that pushes the boundaries; stories can be read in any order.
CONS: None. One of the strongest collections I’ve read in a long time.
BOTTOM LINE: This collection is jam-packed with Nebula and Locus award winners and Hugo nominated works. Well worth the money for that alone.

Skimming the table of contents of Clarkesworld Year Six, you’re going to recognize a lot of titles. The fiction that Clarkesworld published in their sixth year includes Nebula and Locus winners and nominees, Hugo nominees, and stories included in Gardner Dozois’ Years Best Science Fiction, Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. So it easily goes without saying that the 34 stories included in Clarkesworld Year Six are some of the best of the best.

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Check out the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel anthology Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson.

Here’s the synopsis:
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A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

Women to Read: Where to Start – Part 7

by A.C. Wise

Welcome to another installment of Women to Read: Where to Start. There’s no particular theme this time around, just a bunch of work I’m excited about, things I read and loved that I want other people to read and love, too.
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Kij Johnson doesn’t so much write science fiction/fantasy as metafiction, but whatever she’s doing, At The Mouth Of The River Of Bees is a treasury of story-telling by an award-winning author. Now that she’s also accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing at the University of Kansas English Department, there will be ample opportunity to define her “fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality…Metafiction explore[s] a theory of writing fiction through the practice of writing fiction.” Honey-dripping reviews should swarm to this book as in its title story, though I think Story Kit is the key to the hive, echoed in The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change and The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles: “Everyone had their own stories, and the stories of their families and ancestors. There were adventures and love stories, or tricks and jokes and funny things that had happened, or disasters. Everyone wanted to tell their stories, and to know where they fit in their own fudokis.” [medieval Japanese = diaries/records] “She was not that different.” (195) Story Kit helpfully begins with a guide to identify Johnson’s tales among the list of “Six story types, from Damon Knight”:

  • The story of resolution. The protagonist has a problem and solves it or doesn’t.
  • The story of explanation.
  • The trick ending.
  • A decision is made. Whether it is acted upon is irrelevant.
  • The protagonist solves a puzzle.
  • The story of revelation. Something hidden is revealed to the protagonist, or to the reader. (131)

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Small Beer Press has posted the table of contents and free fiction links for Kij Johnson’s new collection At the Mouth of the River of Bees:

Here’s the book description:

A sparkling debut collection from one of the hottest writers in science fiction: her stories have received the Nebula Award the last two years running. These stories feature cats, bees, wolves, dogs, and even that most capricious of animals, humans, and have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and The Secret History of Fantasy.

Here’s the table of contents…
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In episode 132 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with Kij Johnson, Hugo Nominated Author of The Man Who Bridged The Mist.

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At Fractal’11 last April, author Kij Johnson gave an interesting lecture, The Enigma Machine: Writing, Typewriters, and Decoding the Truth:

During World War two, the German military sent information critical to the war through messages encoded and decoded on Enigma machines, small rotor machines that looked a bit like typewriters. A message encoded by an Enigma machine was nearly impossible to decode except with another Enigma machine.

Here’s another way to think of it: the Enigma was a typewriter that concealed and revealed the truth. Every writer works as an Enigma machine, using her typewriter (or computer keyboard or pen) to do the same things. This talk explores the ways a writer uses fiction to code and decode reality, lie and tell the truth.

Here’s the video of tha talk:
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