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[Reading] Uncle Josh’s Story a Day Wrapup: January 2015

I have called 2015 the Year of the Novella, as I plan on cranking out my stories that I feel are novella length. Actually, they may be novelette length but I’m being optimistic. The second project has to do with reading more, and actually tracking what I read.

I subscribe to Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, and Clarkesworld through my Kindle. I get Daily Science Fiction in my email, and of course Strange Horizons is out every week with something worth reading. is constantly publishing things. I am drowning in new fiction to read, and yet I don’t. So I’m being intentional about it. My goal is one story a day, but I fell short of that goal, because programming appeals to me and can suck up my time. Plus, the library finally got me a copy of Grimm season 3, so there was week of mainlining television shows. (Yeah, it’s a poor excuse. I have lunch breaks.)

Novels read in January 2015: The Serpent of Venice (Christopher Moore), Ship Breaker (Paolo Bacigalupi), Lock In (John Scalzi), The Galton Case (Ross Macdonald), and Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus 7 (Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima).

I won’t enumerate the short fiction, but I will cover highlights. I read 12 storise by men, 10 by women, and 1 I’m not sure about. My goal is to balance the gender distribution. My goal was also to read a story a day, but I only managed 23 in January. These included 7 novelettes, 15 short stories, and 1 flash. I read 21 different authors.

Short fiction highlights:

Forgiveness, by Leah Cypress (Asimov’s)

This story challenged me on many levels. I tend not to read emotionally, but I really did not know how to feel after reading this. Thinking back on it still gets me worked up. Damn good story.

Blue Ribbon, by Marissa Lingen (Analog)

Another story that got me involved. I loved the idea that 4-H would be applied to colonies in the Oort cloud. I had nothing but sympathy for the kids in the story, and I cheered them on.

Tasha’s Fail-Safe, by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog)

Great spy stuff. I had forgotten that I had read other Andrea Cort stories, so this was a re-introduction to her world. I have always struggled with trying to make each character smarter than all the other characters, and end up stuck in heads as potential plans unfurl. This is a good example of how to write smarter-than-thou characters and deal with them.

Final Notes

I score each story on a scale from 1-5, and after the first week or so, my scores were all 4s and 5s but things settled down to a bunch of 3s and a 2. Reading this much is bound to get a higher noise to signal ratio. There are some stories I just don’t like, but I have to read them anyway on this diet. I suspect I’ll find myself landing on a bell curve, slightly skewed to the higher numbers.

The final numbers were a 3.24 average.

Hopefully I’ll be more active in February, but I have started a new writing project, which will eat into my reading time.