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.
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.
(Cover image for Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 by Julie Dillon)
REVIEW SUMMARY: The seven stories short-listed for this year’s Nebula Award for Short Story demonstrate that the medium remains a strong and effective method of telling good stories.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Aging, death, child care, cultural identity, the importance of books, the price of true love and other pertinent life issues are examined against the backdrop of science fictional and fantasy settings in these seven short stories.
PROS: Each nominated story possesses its own strengths; wide variety of style and subject matter; emphasis on the human condition.
CONS: Readers who primarily enjoy fantasy may be disappointed to find that six of the seven stories have a science fictional bent; the judges did not make their task easy when narrowing it down to these seven entries.
BOTTOM LINE: Take advantage of the fact that these stories are all available free online. SFF readers exhibit a range of tastes and there is arguably something for most readers to enjoy from this solid group of nominees.
Last week the nominations were announced for this year’s Nebula Awards. The Forty-Eighth Nebula Awards Weekend will be held May 16-19th, 2013. Details concerning the awards weekend can be found here. I have been hosting Short Fiction Friday for a month now, featuring a different current issue of a short fiction magazine each week. With the announcement of these nominations I thought it would be fun to read the Short Story nominees and offer up a brief description of each one. I was initially hesitant to provide a rating for these stories because each is a strong contender. Here as always I made an effort to rate the stories according to a combination of my own personal experience in reading them as well as stepping back to make a more general view of how I accessed each story’s effectiveness judged solely against itself. With this year’s nominees I firmly believe you could get seven different people in a room and each one could passionately argue for a different story to be crowned the winner. I do not envy the judges their task.