My favorite stories of 2012

I’m not the novel-writing sort, so I didn’t participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Instead, I decided to use the month to catch up on reading zines from earlier this year — partly so I could feel at least slightly informed when nominating stories for the Nebulas and Hugos. For somebody like me (who has no immediate plans to write a novel, but who likes to read short stories) it was a great use of time.

Ordinarily, I’d focus my reading on the pro zines that I like most — places like Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Lightspeed, Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and so on. After all, the pro zines usually attract the best writers and have the most consistent quality. But I decided not to do that.

Instead, I decided to spend my time with a pile of zines that can’t be considered “pro” by SFWA rules (mainly because they pay less than $0.05 per word). I’m less familiar with most of these zines (even though a few of them have published me), and I don’t usually see them talked about as often as the pro zines (though some of them are regularly reviewed by Locus or Tangent Online). In any event, I thought it would be a good idea to get more familiar with these publications as part of my writer’s education.

So, without further preamble, I present my list of stories from the non-pro zines that I read from 2012. Thanks to all the writers and editors for making such lovely stories possible! They are presented in no particular order, and they are all free to read online. I’ve linked directly to the stories where possible.

— Mary A Turzillo, “Someone Is Eating America’s Chess Masters”: Kaleidotrope Autumn 2012

Short story:
— Sunny Moraine, “The Scarred Utopian Takes a Wife”: Jabberwocky 14
— Becca De La Rosa, “Talbot’s Anatomy”: Jabberwocky 10
— Petra McQueen, “The Dauntless Girl”: Scheherezade’s Bequest Issue 15
— Joshua Gaga, “Salt”: Demeter’s Spicebox Issue 2
— Benjanun Sriduangkaew, “Chang’s Dashes from the Moon”: Expanded Horizons Issue 36
— Nathan Tavares, “Some Theories on Time Travel”: Expanded Horizons Issue 35
— Ibi Zoboi, “The Muralist”: Expanded Horizons Issue 34
— E Catherine Tobler, “Ladybird”: Three-Lobed Burning Eye Issue 22
— Ferrett Steinmetz, “Riding Atlas”: Three-Lobed Burning Eye Issue 22
— Frank Ard, “The Sensation of Falling”: Ideomancer Volume 11 Issue 2
— George Galuschak, “The Wanting Game”: Ideomancer Volume 11 Issue 1
— Liz Hahn, “Chrysalides”: Scape Zine Issue 4
— S Q Eries, “The Empress and the Comic”: Scape Zine Issue 3
— J T Glover, “Strong Enough to Shatter”: Issue 20
— Mjke Wood, “Dead Man’s Shoes”: Issue 18
— Alan Baxter, “Crossroads and Carousels”: The Red Penny Papers Fall 2012
— Katy Gunn, “The Extravagant and Venturesome Lives of Women Pyrates”: The Red Penny Papers Fall 2012
— Anatoly Belilovsky, “Durak”: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (Blog)
— Su J Sokol, “Je me souviens”: The Future Fire Issue 2012.24
— Samantha Henderson, “Everything You Were Looking For”: Bourbon Penn Issue 5

Flash story:
— Luna Lindsey, “Let the Bugs Work Themselves Out”: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology Issue 3.5
— D K  Mok, “Goodbye Beetle”: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology Issue 2.5
— Alexandra Seidel, “A Lie Written in Scarlet”: Scheherezade’s Bequest Issue 16
— Michael Haynes, “Twenty-Seven Rules for Coping”: Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi Issue 3
— Deborah Walker, “I Honour My Ancient Ancestors”: Eschatology February 2012
— Nathaniel Katz, “Strings”: Eschatology February 2012

I still have a lot of reading left to do before I make up my final list of nominations for the Nebulas and Hugos, especially among the pro zines. But if I were to make those ballots today, the short story category would likely look like this:

— Nicole Cipri, “A Silly Love Story” from Daily Science Fiction
— Katy Gunn, “The Extravagant and Venturesome Lives of Women Pyrates” from The Red Penny Papers
— George Galuschak, “The Wanting Game” from Ideomancer
— Su J Sokol, “Je me souviens” from The Future Fire
— D K Mok, “Goodbye Beetle” from The Journal of Unlikely Entomology

***Full disclosure: I’ve sold stories to Kaleidotrope, Three-Lobed Burning Eye,, The Red Penny Papers, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. I’ve submitted to most of the rest of the other publications on this list.

I’ve exchanged friendly words with E Catherine Tobler, Ferrett Steinmetz, Alan Baxter, and Alexandra Seidel. I’ve critiqued stories for Anatoly Belilovsky and Michael Haynes, and Anatoly was kind enough to send me a signed copy of the ASIM issue his story is printed in.

Any list of “favorites” is bound to be subjective, but that’s all the stake I have in these publications and writers. I wish them all well. End disclosure.***

EDIT: This post originally referred to these zines as “semi-pro zines”, which is a confusing term that I shouldn’t have used. “Semi-pro zine” has a special definition under Hugo rules — a definition that actually does encompass zines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Apex Magazine. It’s much more accurate to say that these are “non-pro magazines under SFWA qualifying rules” and I’ve edited accordingly. Sorry!


4 Responses to My favorite stories of 2012

  • Doug Donnan says:

    Hey there Matt!

    I see that you’ve been busy reading some
    2012 stories…

    If you have time why don’t you check out
    my latest piece in the December issue of
    Perihelion Science Fiction titled:

    ‘Collector’s Item’

    The two ground level protagonists are a
    recalcitrant puppy and a rejuvenated
    Roomba Robot vacuum cleaner !!!
    I think you may get a laugh or two out
    of the kitchen mischief they get into!

    Author of the one sentence submission:

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