December 30th, 2009
To my great delight, the lovely folks at Strange Horizons have brought me on as a first reader for their very fine magazine. I’ve been reading the magazine on and off for years, and I’m really looking forward to the first batch of story submissions, which drops January 1.
Slush reading is one of those tasks that I think all new editors should do for a year or so (I did it for years and years over at A List Apart) because it teaches you so much about the shape of the work, and about common design patterns and tropes.
When you’re reading slush, the thing that keeps you going through stacks and stacks of stories you can’t use is the flare of recognition that lights up in your brain when you find something wonderful. I tend to think that the senses you sharpen by reading slush are some of those you use most often in actual editing. I’m tickled pink(er) to have the chance to do it for Strange Horizons.
Here are some of my favorite stories published at Strange Horizons in 2009, as an introduction to those of you who haven’t been reading it all along:
- “A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc; or; A Lullaby,” by Helen Keeble (that’s part one; here’s part two)—A beautifully executed maritime/mermaid story that kept on being wonderful every time I thought it was going to take an easy way out.
- “Bespoke,” by Genevieve Valentine—A story that pretends to be about time travel when it’s really about craftsmanship and the world on the far side of the shop counter.
- “The Regime of Austerity” and “Lily Glass” by Veronica Schanoes—A pair of treats that I’m linking to not because their author is a professor of mine, but because the first is precisely the sort of classic speculative story I loved in the Year’s Best anthologies when I was growing up, and the second reminds me so much of Cocteau.