Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I talk about my favorite stories of 2017.
Fiction Friday: Silver Claw Inn’s Favorite Stories Of 2017
Welcome to a Fiction Friday special. Instead of another review, I’ll end the last post of the year with an overall review of every story I’ve read and decide which one I like the most. I’ve read a lot of short stories, but not that many novels, so but come next year, the list will be bigger. So, while this isn’t a super huge big deal, it’ll be fun to look over the last year in terms of Fantasy and Science Fiction (and Horror) and determine my favorite short stories and novels.
So to start, here’s everything I’ve read over the past year.
For Short Stories, I’ve read:
- East of Eden and Just a Bit South (Lightspeed, Reprint)
- Red Bark and Ambergris (BCS)
- Contractual Obligations (Cast of Wonders)
- Hollywood Squid (F&SF)
- The Last Cheng Beng Gift (Lightspeed)
- A Wish and a Hope and a Dream (Cast of Wonders)
- On The Road To The Hell of Hungry Ghosts (BCS)
- Don’t Turn on The Lights (Nightmare)
- The Weirdo (The Dark)
- The Case of the Mysterious Meat (Apex)
- The Şiret Mask (BCS)
- Random Play All and The League of Awesome (Cast of Wonders, Reprint)
- Who Won The Battle Of Arsia Mons? (Clarkesworld)
- By The Red Giant’s Light (F&SF)
- Low Bridge! Or The Dark Obstructions (BCS)
For Novels, I’ve read:
- Branches of Time Part 1
- Fire of the Fallen
- Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View
- Daniel Coldstar: The Relic War
It’s been a busy time for me, despite reading so little. I’ve read so many good stories and I’ll have to consider carefully what will be the top three in each. Let’s start with my favorite short stories of this year.
Top Three Short Stories
#3: Random Play All and The League of Awesome
This story was too much fun to read. It’s a superhero story where the powers are as ordinary as they get but in a good way. The narration is fantastic and the characters feel like something out of a cartoon episode. I can totally envision this as a plot to a kids show on Cartoon Network or something.
I feel like this is a wonderful story that shows you don’t need to be superman to be a hero. Who needs flight and super strength when you can listen to your MP3 Player and get powers that way, right?
It being number 3 is due to this being a reprint, but I still would have put it here anyway. It’s been a tough choice for short stories.
#2: Hollywood Squid
This is a super creative and hilarious story about a washed up director caught in a made up conspiracy that happened to be part of a future plot for a film. His co-worker is an alien squid who lies a lot, but his lie turns out to be true.
I felt this was more entertaining than Random Play All, and while the previous story is a reprint, this one is a recent work. It’s absurd and it feels like a sci-fi comedy that I could easily see turn into a film. It’s cinematic and appropriate for the setting. And Eppie was hilarious in general.
This was definitely a good read.
#1: The Weirdo
I didn’t expect a fun side story to provide such a chilling story, and this one stood out for me. It’s scary and the twist is brilliant. It does what most horror stories don’t really accomplish. The mood is unnerving and the writing is fluid and packs a punch.
I did this as part of a spook-a-thon for Halloween, but this story was amazing. This is my number one spot for sure.
Top Three Novels:
I know I only reviewed five novels this year, but this was still a challenging choice between the top three. So let’s see the winners.
#3: Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View
With The Last Jedi in theaters (I have not seen it yet and likely won’t until after New Years. I’ll do a segment on that as well), but this one is a true love letter to Star Wars. It follows the plot of A New Hope from all different perspectives from minor characters looking in on the main story. While admittedly, some of the stories weren’t the best I’ve seen, a few stood out to me. I list some of them in my review.
This is a book that shows that Star Wars can be fun in book form. I’d give it a chance if you’re curious about the expanded universe.
#2: Fire of the Fallen
This is a great epic fantasy story about a young elphkin woman who is cursed with dark magic. She must find a way to cope with her powers while a massive conflict is taking place. It’s a multi-pov in a similar vein to Game of Thrones. The magic system is unique and the story isn’t too gritty or dark. It’s accessible for most fantasy fans who are tired of the gore and GoT wannabes and just want a good fantasy read with a good magic system and a dark, non-apocalyptic world.
I still think the flaws (The wordy paragraphs and the typos) bring it down, and if it didn’t have that, it would have been number one, but hopefully, this improves on the sequel.
This was an overall great story. It’s about a young woman who’s born into a caste of weapon makers who’s forced to join their military and fight against the rebellion. It’s a standard dystopia story, but it has an engaging plot and the characters are well made.
I enjoyed this story when it came out, and I do think this could be a good alternative to Hunger Games. While a lot of questions remained unanswered (This is book one, after all) I eagerly await reviewing the follow up next year.
So that’s the top three. While it’s not a prestigious as the Nebula or Hugo awards, I like making my own top three lists. Again, this is just an opinion and it’s based on what I’ve read. I plan to read more short stories in the future and I’ll have a bigger list.
That’s all for this year. It’s been a wild ride and I hope this blog grows bigger and better in the future. This was a huge learning process for me and I always seek to do better. So here’s hoping 2018 is a great year not only for myself but for my blog.
That’s all for today. See you next year, and remember, the inn is always open.