Best SF Presents

In 2007 I started dabbling a bit with ‘Best SF Presents’, putting online a number of stories that I’d read and enjoyed, and whose authors generously gave permission to make available. But as more and more reprint opportunities for authors became available, possibly paying, and definitely higher profile, I eased back and eventually stopped approaching authors in 2012.

Chris DeVito. Anise.

Anise‘ first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2011. It opened with a word of warning from editor Gordon van Gelder that the story ‘has adult themes and graphic elements that probably wouldn’t be appropriate to younger readers’, which grabbed my attention, as I want my fiction to be challenging and rise above the increasingly fairly safe science fiction that seems to be moving in the opposite direction towards the YA market. As I mentioned in my review, DeVito opens with a Cordwainer Smith quote which set the bar high for a new author, and DeVito lived up to that standard.

[added 17th May 2012]

Jay Lake. To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves

For several years Jay Lake has been writing SF stories I invariably get huge enjoyment from reading. He expertly handles the small-scale emotional aspects of being human within a framework of looking at where humanity as a whole is going against that awfully big canvas out there amongst the stars. He addresses human frailty and desire, sexuality, love, ambition and fear, and a whole lot of other stuff that many other writers shy away from. He’s written ten novels, and over 300 short stories, and if you’re not familiar with his fiction, try this story and seek his work out. Keep up to date with Jay on his website.

To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves‘ appeared in ‘The New Space Opera 2’, edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan back in 2009. That volume sits alongside ‘The New Space Opera’ which appeared in 2007, which itself sits alongside ‘Space Opera’, the anthology edited by Brian W. Aldiss, which I bought w-a-y back in 1974.
[added 4th March 2012]

Gwyneth Jones. Collision

Gwyneth Jones has a string of novels and short stories to her name (and one other name under which she writes). She’s won multiple awards, including the BSFA Short Story Award, the P.K. Dick Award, and perhaps most notably the very first Tiptree Award which she shared with Elearnor Arnason.

Collision‘ first appeared in ‘When It Changed’, an anthology edited by Geoff Ryman, published in 2009. I didn’t see that anthology, but the story was picked up by Hartwell/Cramer for their Year’s Best SF #15, and I approved of the story when I read it there, noting that it had ‘plenty to boggle your mind’.

So, enjoy. And be boggled.

[added 20th January 2012]

Paul Di Filippo. Return to Cockaigne.

Paul Di Filippo has been a favourite author of mine for some time, providing a steady stream of imaginitive fiction over many years. I reviewed one of his collections, ‘Babylon Sisters’ a couple of years back, and his outstanding ‘A Year in Linear City’. That latter world is being revisited in a sequel, recently completed. I’ll be watching out for this volume (And check out his website for more information on this, and his other collections and publications).

I’m pleased to be able to make available ‘Return to Cockaigne‘, which originally appeared Interzone 163, January 2001. I think it showcases his ability to address standard sf (and fantasy) tropes in a non-standard way. Enjoy.
[added 6th July 2009]

Jack Skillingstead. Bean There.

Bean There‘ was published in Asimovs April/May 2005. It is one of a series of strong stories by this new author to appear in recent years which have caught my eye.

He has a collection coming out in Fall 2009 – ‘Are You There, and other stories’, published by Golden Gryphon alongside other collections by Mike Resnick and Lucius Shepherd, which puts him in good company. Keep an eye out for this volume at his website.
[added 4th January 2009]

Ian R. MacLeod. Isabel of the Fall.

Isabel of the Fall‘ was published in Interzone #169, July 2001, and impressed me. Being a librarian, the appearance of three of the founding fathers of librarianship was a bonus! A followup story was featured in Asimovs a couple of years later – ‘Breathmoss’ was the title of one of a couple of collections of his that have appeared over the years.

You can keep up to date with Ian’s work, and his novels, at his website.
[added 3rd December 2008]

Tony Ballantyne. A New Beginning.

A New Beginning‘ was published in Interzone in 2001, and I’m pleased to be able to make available this story of a subtle alien invasion.

Tony Ballantyne has been a regular contributor to Interzone, as has had three novels, published in recent year. You can catch up with him at his website
[added 19th November 2008]

Charles Stross. Rogue Farm.

Charles Stross has had his short SF published for the best part of 20 years now, appearing sporadically in mostly British magazines during the 1990s whilst working as an IT journalist. Some of his early work is collected in the anthology ‘Toast’ in 2002, including a number of stories from Interzone and the short-lived Spectrum. His Manfred Mancx story sequence in Asimovs was subsequently published as a well received novel, Accelerando, and his novel output has been substantial since then. You can keep up to date at his regularly updated blog.

Fortunately for us short SF readers, he has yet to leave behind this market, and I’m very pleased that he’s happy to make available ‘Rogue Farm‘, which appeared in the excellent anthology ‘Live Without a Net’ in 2003. It’s a cracking story, and rather than me waste my time waffling on, I’ll shut up and let you read it.
[Added 1st September 2007]

Chris Roberson. Companion to Owls.

Companion to Owls‘ first appeared in Asimovs in March 2006. I particularly liked this story for, as I originally reviewed it, ‘an impressive piece of world-building’.

Roberson’s ‘Celestial Empire’ story series, set in an alternate background with China dominant, has garnered good reviews and in 2008 ‘The Dragon’s Nine Sons’ [ |] was published by Solaris. You can keep up to date with Chris at his website.
[added 2nd August 2007]

Jonathan Sherwood. Under the Graying Sea.

Under the Graying Sea‘, which appeared in Asimovs in February 2006, was Sherwood’s first published story, and I was most impressed. TangentOnline reviewed it as “filled with suspense, passion, and cleverness .. (it) stands above the other stories as the strongest contribution to the issue”.

Find out the latest on Jonathan’s writing on his website.
[Added 1st July 2007]

Gareth L. Powell. The Last Reef.

The Last Reef‘ appeared in Interzone #206 Jan/Feb 2006, and was long listed for a BSFA award, and came sixth in the Interzone Reader’s Poll for best short story of 2006. It’s the title story of his collection of stories, published in 2008 by Elastic Press. Keep up to date with his writing at his website.
[Added 1st June 2007]

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