Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Read:

I wanted to read this because I thought it would give me some exposure and insight into what sorts of stories are considered the best of the best in the sci-fi and fantasy world. I've always considered myself a sci-fi fan and, more recently, came to understand that I also enjoy some of the fantasy genre as well. What I've learned after reading this anthology is that I'm more of a middle-of-the-road kind of gal when it comes to sci-fi/fantasy. Or maybe I just need it (the story, the concept) to be somewhat plausible, or, if that's not possible, then it needs to be well written in order for me to make the leap. Now, since this volume is "the best online," that means the stories within are clearly well written and chosen for these and other merits from someone who is well versed in the genre. And, still, I didn't care for a good number of the stories. They were too bizarre, too out there for me.

I find it interesting and ironic that my two favorite stories, ones I really liked and enjoyed, are anything but middle-of-the-road. Yoon Ha Lee's "Blue Ink" begins and ends with sections that are in 2nd person POV, which is almost always an instant turn off for me. But it quickly morphs into 3rd person and a storyline that is just fantastical enough to border on brilliant. Catherynne M. Valente's "Urchins, While Swimming" has a magical realism component that is really well integrated and very engaging. Both of these stories are grounded in three dimensional characters, in elements of the every day... maybe this is the structure in which sci-fi/fantasy works best for me.

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