We’re doing a combined post this year because somehow I got through the majority of 2022 without reading a lot of short stories. I know, this upsets me, too. I hope you’ll take the time to check out the ones I did read and love, as well as the amazing novels in this list.
Here are the short stories I read this year that I enjoyed, in no particular order.
“The Cold Calculations,” by Aimee Ogden
There’s a thing I really love in short stories, and that thing is when a short story just absolutely eviscerates some of the base assumptions of capitalism. This story very much does that. Read it. Then ask yourself — whose cold calculations have affected your life, and how? Published through Clarkesworld Magazine. (Science Fiction)
“D.I.Y.” by John Wiswell
Everything Wiswell does is excellent, and I certainly recommend this piece. It’s got disability rep, fun magic systems, and (you guessed it!) some great critique of patent law! Because what a theoretically good idea that absolutely gets used to punish marginalized people and keep needed resources out of people’s hands. Published through Tor.com. (Fantasy)
“An Urge to Create Honey,” by Martin Cahill
Okay, this is where I confess a thing. I’m obsessed with space bees. I don’t know why. This is the most obscurely niche thing to be into. But if you, also, are into space bees, can I interest you in a little bit of weird and lovely? Published through Clarkesworld. (Science Fiction)
“Calf Cleaving in the Benthic Black,” by Isabel J. Kim
Okay, you thought we were done with critiques of bullshit capitalist hellscapes, but we are not! One more for the road, baby! Does survival in a corrupt system excuse your crimes? What can you do to atone? What is goodness without risk? (Science Fiction)
Novels and Novellas
It’s fair to say that I have consumed some absolutely excellent fiction this year. It’s rare that I find a new favorite author, but last year I did (Margaret Rogerson, I’m looking at you). I also found a possibly favorite-of-all-time book in Light from Uncommon Stars. It was truly a year of book blessings. So without further ado, a little bit about all of these amazing reads. These are the books that really stuck with me this year, and I hope you enjoy them.
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
I don’t know exactly how to talk about this book twelve months later. I think perhaps it’s best to think of it as a composition, a poem, an artwork more than a novel. It’s that, too, of course — there is compelling plot, engaging characters, and lovely prose. But there is something about this book that feels profoundly experimental to me, something akin to Catherynne Valente’s Radiance, also one of my favorite books of all time. It is a profoundly kind book, full of impossibly hard scenes set alongside donuts and beautiful violin. It’s about finding your best self in the face of endings. I can’t wait to revisit this book, one day in the future. (Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, LGBTQ+)
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
The title by this author that was actually published this year, Vespertine is also the first of her books not to stand alone. I loved the Catholic-inspired magic system, the gothic vibes, the ghosts and demons and pure aesthetic of this book, and I can’t wait for more. (Fantasy)
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
I know this book came out ages ago, but I read it this year and yes, it is worth the hype. It absolutely floored me. The level of details in the worldbuilding was astounding, and I can only aspire to one day be so skilled. If you read it for no other reason, read it for that. But if you need another reason, the titular character is a cinnamon roll who must be protected at all costs. I would fight for him. (Fantasy)
Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
If you’ve been following this blog for a long time, you’re not surprised to see this book on my favorites list for this year. I’ve loved every book in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series. This one has shipwrecks and polar bears and is a delight. (Fantasy, Young Adult)
Psalm for the Wild-Built/Prayer for the Crown Shy by Becky Chambers
Look, don’t judge me. I finally read these books this year (well technically the second one just came out this year?) These two novellas helped me be comfortable with the fact that my burnout this year has been pretty epic. Read them if you, also, need a little hope and forgiveness cocktail. (Science Fiction, Solarpunk, LGBTQ+)
Osmo Unknown and the Eight-penny Woods by Catherynne Valente
This story was an absolute delight, and is one of the few middle grade books I have mentioned on the blog. It’s not my main genre, but I do love a well-written middle grade story. It’s a story about finding yourself and investigating your prejudices. (Fantasy, Middle Grade)
Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Coyne
I love a good Appalachian story, and this one is super lyrical. The long review made it’s own post, since I received this book as an ARC. I’ll definitely be looking for future works from this author. (Horror, Appalachian)
A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
This was one of my last reads of the year, and absolutely rocked my dome. I love compelling stories that show other ways society can be organized, especially solarpunk ones. (Science Fiction, Solarpunk, LGBTQ+)
You can see all the books that I read this year on the blog under the Reading Round-up tag.
Happy New Year!