Short Fiction Reviews

Finding Humor, Inspiration & Tiny Robots: Best Short Stories of August

I read a TON of short stories this month. It was my first foray into short fiction and I was blown away by the originality and depth of these stories. I’ve been focusing my reading on four specific magazines: Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Clarkesworld Magazine. Hopefully, I’ll be able to expand my reach in the coming months to include a couple more!

Without further ado, I give you my favorite reads for August 2018:

Favorite Overall Story: Eulogy for an Immortal, by James Robert Herndon
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, July/August 2018 Issue

Eulogy for an Immortal is a beautiful story of loss and love, of a young man trying to come to terms with the death of his father. This is one of my favorite stories of the year — it has so much heart and a brilliant concept of immortality. Prepare to be moved. Read review here.

Favorite Overall Issue: Clarkesworld Magazine, August 2018 Issue

The underlying theme of this month’s issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is the beautiful usage of language to create engaging, almost magical scenes within each of these vastly different science fiction and fantasy landscapes. You’ve got deep space, a church, an ice planet, 12th century England, and a hospital wing. They’re all uniquely positioned to tell their stories with ease – definitely a great read. Read review here.

Best Extension of an Existing Universe: The Phobos Experience, by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018 Issue

The Phobos Experience is a quick, adventurous jaunt into space, pairing a bit of space exploration with a few high-stakes situations and well-timed geology puns. Kowal is a master at writing realistic space expeditions and I continuously find myself amazed at her abilities as a storyteller. Read review here.

Best Robot: Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot, by Mary E. Lowd
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, July/August 2018 Issue

Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot has everything I’m looking for in a science fiction short story, namely, a tiny robot who likes to dance and is fascinated by the world. The story is a tiny burst of joy — a definite mood booster. Read review here.

Funniest Story: The Adjunct, by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018 Issue

The Adjunct is a fun story that takes a sharp turn from mundane to horror, leveled by a consistent mocking of the absurdity of citation systems and college adjunct expectations. The huge plot twist made me laugh out loud, and it’s a great usage of fantasy amidst every day life. Read the review.

Most Inspiring Story: The Backwards Lens of Compromise, by Octavia Cade
Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2018 Issue

The Backward Lens of Compromise is an ode to science education and the power it can have on the minds of kids who can barely afford to get by. We see a woman with a strange power I can’t fully grasp, accidentally using it to show kids the history of science and how far we’ve come in understanding the universe. The kids fight for their education, trying to make sure they have the same opportunities as everyone else. It’s an important narrative, and one that should be broadcast country-wide. Read review here.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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