Tag: world fantasy awards

Short story: “Beyond the Dead Reef”

“Beyond the Dead Reef,” by James Tiptree, Jr.

Appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1983; won a 1983 Locus Award for best short story; collected in Tales of the Quintana Roo (Arkham House, 1986), which won a 1987 World Fantasy Award for best collection); appeared in PseudoPod 603, July 13th, 2018 (though not reprinted as text—perhaps there was a problem getting the rights)

A few thousand words

Interesting, but the initial buildup strikes me as long and not closely related to the main story (even though I love the murder plot), the monster is silly, and the moral at least borders on heavy-handed. Perhaps I’m reading it from the wrong era.

The framing comments on how unreliable the narrator is ought to undermine the story, it seems to me, but don’t. Is that typically the case? Are we wired to enjoy a good story regardless of what we think about the storyteller?


Short story: “The Specialist’s Hat”

“The Specialist’s Hat,” by Kelly Link

Collected in Pretty Monsters (Canongate Books), which won a Locus Award; the story also won the 1999 World Fantasy Award; read beautifully in Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast

Not sure how many words

This story is so strange I wonder if it originated as a dream. Not the identical twins or their preoccupation with death/Death—those strike me as fairly conventional tropes in horror and the literature of the uncanny. But that hat, which doesn’t look like a hat, and which can mimic any sound … that belongs in the realm of dream. The ending is marvelous, with children’s games and poetry ambiguously bleeding into the real world.

Short story: “The Birding: A Fairy Tale”

“The Birding: A Fairy Tale,” by Natalia Theodoridou

Appeared in the December 18th, 2017 issue of Strange Horizons, and on the podcast; edited to add: a 2018 World Fantasy Award finalist

8,640 words

Interesting. The premise could easily come off as silly, but the story is grounded in realistic details.

Short story: “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”

“Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” by Fran Wilde

Appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 18; online here; edited to add: a 2018 World Fantasy Award finalist

2,030 words

I heard this on the podcast—very well read by Amal El-Mohtar—but had to read it again on the page to get what it was about. I didn’t catch the word that rhymes with eek, for example. As Wilde and Julia Rios say on the podcast, it’s an angry piece.

Apparently this was first titled “Grotesquerie.” An apter title, in my opinion, though not as vivid as the one they went with.

From Jodie Baker of SFF Reviews (here):

“‘Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand’ feels reminiscent of Alyssa Wong’s style. It’s darkly bitter, and visits quite perfect, and quite disturbing, magical punishment on those who do wrong. Let’s just say ‘you’ do not come out of this encounter well. It’s not quite a revenge story; the punishment is too impersonal to call it revenge. It’s more about punishing society for their stares, words, and medical experiments. Punishing slowly; one person at a time. The reader is left with the feeling that the narrator will always remain, and that they have eternity to teach visitor after visitor a lesson.”

Short story: “The Faery Handbag”

“The Faery Handbag,” by Kelly Link

Originally published in the anthology The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm (Mythic Fiction #2) (2004, edited by Helen Datlow and Terri Windling), which was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2005; posted here on the Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet website; collected in Magic for Beginners

8,088 words

This story reminded me strongly of “You Don’t Even Have a Rabbit”—the conversational tone, like somebody recounting the really weird day they just had, a tone that seems to facilitate the blurring of reality and fantasy.

Short story: “The Bungalow House”

“The Bungalow House,” by Thomas Ligotti

First appeared in issue #5 (The Strange Relationships Issue) of the now defunct magazine The Urbanite, Urban Legends Press, 1995; nominated for a Bram Stoker Award that year; collected in The Nightmare Factory, which was published by Carroll & Graf (now defunct) in 1996 and won the Bram Stoker for Best Fiction Collection (1996) and the British Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (1997), and also was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection (1997); anthologized in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Seven, edited by Stephen Jones, published by Carroll & Graf in 1996; featured in Pseudopod episode 350, September 6th, 2013

Unknown word count

A real neat thing.

I feel pleased that this story ran in The Urbanite, because back in the nineties or zeroes I got hold of a sample copy that I read closely and obsessed over a bit. If only I’d read issue #5 as well—I’m sure I would have been delighted by this.