If you’re a fan of the speculative fiction short story, you really do owe it to yourself to be following the Last Short Story blog. It’s maintained by a small group of dedicated readers committed to reading every short story published in the field over the course of a year and making note of their favourites. I was a big fan during the blogs first year, 2007, when it directed me towards some outstanding anthologies I would have otherwise missed – New Space Opera & Interfictions – and directed me towards what would become one of my favourite stories of the year, Garth Nix’s Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go To War Again.
Being such a fan of the blog, it’s been kind of neat to watch some of the nice things they’ve said about two pieces of my fiction over the last couple of months.
About The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga in Dreaming Again
– BenPayne: “… tells of a young cabin-boy on a pirate ship, taken on his first visit to a whorehouse. Nothing is as it first seems; either boy or whorehouse. But more powerful than the surprises are the deft writing and the fragility and compassion that imbue this story. Not at all what I expected; it’s another deftly written character story, and another writer worth keeping an eye on.”
– Cassiphone: “I thought I was over pirate stories after the glut of them in recent times, but Ball has provided a sexy, charming and utterly sinister pageturner, about a crew of pirates who come ashore at an infamous brothel staffed by zombies.”
About On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves in Fantasy Magazine
– Cassiophone: “… a sinister story about love ending. More magical realism than fantasy, it left me with my stomach all twisty and unhappy.”
– BenPayne: :… is a nicely evocative little relationship story, emotionally jagged and well-crafted.”
The Last Short Story crew are at a point where they’re finalizing their recommendations for 2008 and preparing for the onslaught of the new year, so it’s the perfect time to start reading. They’re folks that work hard, they recommend good work, and they attempt the impossible (think about it for a second – *all the spec fic stories published in a year; every magazine and anthology and website* – you’ve got to give them props for that). Setting aside the obvious bias generated by the kind words on display above, I recommend checking them out.