Tangent Online 2020 Recommended Reading List

Tangent Online 2020 Recommended Reading List

As with previous years, this list is not meant as comprehensive, there being a number of items we didn’t see. As has been the case for the last several years, of necessity (too many magazines, too few reviewers) we narrowed our focus (with some exceptions) to those stories published in professionally paying markets as defined by SFWA (including when the pro rate was set at 5 cents per word; it has now increased to 8 cents per word).

There are 351 stories on this year’s list (down 21 from last year’s 372): 293 short stories (down 20 from last year’s 313), 48 novelettes (up 3 from last year’s 45), and 10 novellas (the same as last year’s 10). As with any such list—especially ours with its ever-changing review staff—different reviewers bring different perspectives on how to approach stories, how they are thus measured, and of course the stories themselves are of different “quality” (up or down) if such a thing as quality can be measured by any objective standard. However, it does seem as if each year has its own nebulous, general level of quality, with some years being commented upon in retrospect as great years for quality fiction and others not so much. There are just too many variables to nail down as to why any given year—or recommended reading list—has more or fewer stories placed on it by a different cast of reviewers, each of whom brings their own individual set of standards to the fiction they read.

Such a list as the one below brings to it a rather broad cross section of the genre’s readership (i.e., that nameless reader at which short fiction venues are always aiming to attract). Some reviewers are relatively new to SF/F, while others have a long relationship with the genre but may not have experience at the reviewing end of the process. There are those who have read extensively for decades and who have experience at reviewing as well; there are a few selling writers who know from experience what goes into crafting a work of fiction, and there are those with an academic viewpoint and wide knowledge of the genre who bring a more critical approach to the fiction they review, and then place on this list.

As is our custom, there are four sections to each length category. Those making the list in the short story, novelette, and novella lengths but having no stars, and those with either one, two, or three stars, according to how well the reviewer or reviewers valued a particular story. From time to time you will see more than a single reviewer’s initials following a given entry. We have placed the story in the category receiving the most stars. Thus, it is possible that while one reviewer placed a story on the list without any stars, another also placed it on the list but with one or more stars, thus elevating that story to the higher ranking. Where there are more than one reviewer’s initials following a story recommendation, they appear in no particular order, thus making it impossible to determine which of the reviewers provided this higher ranking. Conversely, it is also possible that each reviewer held the same opinion of any given story.

If a story is placed in an incorrect length category, please let us know and we’ll be happy to correct the oversight. Reviewers are free to place stories on this list from any of their reading during the year, and are not restricted to those venues covered here, nor to publications they have personally reviewed.

[Editor’s note: The opinions expressed below are those of the editor and do not necessarily reflect those of any member of the review staff.]

Looking at short fiction over at least the past 10 years, a general observation can be made. It would appear that Woke Culture is as pervasive and cancerous as it has ever been for at least the past 10 years. The dearth of true originality when it comes to political or socially themed short fiction is becoming more and more apparent to those of us who have observed and studied the field for decades. Political Correctness has now infiltrated the field like a metastasizing cancer, to the point where long time readers are beginning to voice complaints. The complaints arise not from what is published in the magazines or some of the original anthologies, but what is not being published. Identity Politics and the Cancel Culture have inserted themselves into the field to the extent that not only magazine fiction editors, but other areas of the SF field are bowing to intimidation and peer pressure to conform to the total obeisance the Woke doctrine demands. For years now, pros and fans alike have been either removed from SF conventions or if invited to attend a convention as a GoH (Guest of Honor) been summarily disinvited after someone has found an article or speech or comment by the GoH from the past with which they disagreed, complained to the convention powers that be, and have said Guest removed for what amounts to Wrong Think according to the Woke World. It has gotten to the point where many fans and convention committees have confused a science fiction or fantasy convention for a Woke Political Rally, and woe be to anyone who tries to engage in an informal conversation with other fans or as a formal convention panelist saying anything not sanctioned under the auspices of Woke Doctrine. Rather than 1984‘s Big Brother watching every move a fan makes, or every word they utter, now it is Big Woke Fan who will take it upon themseves in a self-righteous, pearl-clutching huff to report anyone–pro or fan doesn’t matter–to the convention’s Incident Response Team (IRT, i.e., Woke Enforcers) in order to have them removed without recourse to learning who has accused them of perhaps nothing more than what Big Woke Fan decides as anything Big Woke Fan doesn’t like, that may not adhere to the strictest interpretation of Woke Party Doctrine as they interpret it, and then are not allowed to defend themselves against such accusations. The accusation is enough in this Brave New Woke World of science fiction fandom.

Diversity is everything, the Woke activists proclaim proudly, with their new found power clutched tightly in their upraised iron fist. Diversity in everything except thought, that is, and that has become apparent over the past few years. And it is this rigid intolerance to the diversity of thought that has been, and is now, crippling the free expression of ideas in the fiction appearing in the magazines. When stories deal–whether in the foreground or background–with politics, religion, or social issues– the Progressive or Woke viewpoint is represented in a positive light. When any other viewpoint is represented at all, it is in a negative light (with extremely rare exceptions that prove the rule). As a purely literary endeavor this becomes boring and unimaginative rather quickly, whether one agrees or disagrees with any given viewpoint. Sameness and predictability are to be avoided at all costs, especially, one would think, in a science fiction story where unfettered imagination and the exploration of sometimes controversial ideas are to be readily encouraged. Not to mention the obvious, that when magazine editors encourage and publish only one point of view, creativity suffers and there is no need for an author to take risks in exploring differing or non-conformist or perhaps controversial scenarios. The fact that we are not seeing these risk-taking stories that may attempt to counter any cherished social or political idea currently in vogue, or directly counter to Woke philosophy itself, is proof that magazine editors are satisfied with this situation, or are encouraging this situation as a sign of virtue signaling that they and their magazine are onboard and publish only Right Think fiction. Anything to keep the Woke mobs from appearing at their virtual editorial office door or on Facebook or popular Woke blogs with the usual shallow, over-rehearsed (and now tired) chants of racist, sexist, or homophobe. You’d think after all this time they could come up with something better.

The Woke version of Diversity that has smothered the SF field for years now is the Big Lie told over and over, for it forsakes and refuses to allow the most crucial element of diversity, Diversity of Thought. Instead, and for every thinking person to see, the field’s major awards finalists and winners for the past number of years have been awarded on the basis of Identity Politics and not the quality of the work as the primary, overriding consideration:  the checkboxes for final awards lists include demonstrable adherence to Woke Doctrine (this is paramount and trumps all other checkbox considerations), whether the author is a Person of Color or ethnicity other than Caucasian, whether the author is female, and of course the author cannot be a heterosexual (especially a white male, unless a strong adherence to Woke Doctrine can be proven), or the author is one of the LGBTQuilt community. If the author passes any one of the above criteria then his or her or their short story or novel can find its way as a finalist for the field’s top awards. If the author does not adhere and cannot prove he or she or they have been baptised in the Church of Woke (CoW), then they can kiss any major award consideration sayonara. Statistics bear this out over the past few years. Do your homework.

There is a glimmer of hope, however. Even though magazine editors are not encouraging diversity of thought or divergence of opinion in their submission guidelines (the same way many of them virtue signal how author-diverse they are in said guidelines), and are even known to have rejected articles by professional, award-winning authors attempting to point out the growing problem in the field (as briefly outlined here), there are those taking matters in their own hands and are beginning to publish anti-Woke anthologies. (One such is Andrew Fox’s anthology Again, Hazardous Imaginings.) They deserve support for their fledgling efforts. The casual SF reader who doesn’t have the time or opportunity to read widely in the field in any given year may not notice the lack of innovation or risk-taking when they come across SF stories dealing with politics or social issues, but many of us do. And the lack of controversial, risk-taking material when trying to express an idea counter to the Woke Establishment (which includes the editors, who deserve the lion’s share of the blame), is what is slowly killing science fiction where experimentation with radical ideas have always been its bread and butter. Short SF in the magazines has historically been the place for testing new ideas or ways of looking at the world, and in many cases has advanced the field in a continual dialog among authors who feed from new approaches and forms of expression they read in the magazines. But not now. Unless the prevailing institutionalization of Woke thought is recognized for what it is and what damage it is doing to the field, SF will continue its ever-quickening goose step to the Diversity of Thought Graveyard.

If you would like to review for Tangent Online, knowledge of the SF/F/H genres is a must, and reviewing experience is highly preferred. Interested parties may contact the editor here. Please note that Tangent Online is a fanzine (eligible for Hugo award consideration in the fanzine category) and does not pay its contributors.

(Cover above for Unreal, Vol. 4, Fall 2020. Cover art/design created at the editor’s house by Josh Maul, Andres Rojas, Yanaem, Mtalhalodhi, and Dennis Haupt.)

2020 Reviewer names and initials

Christos Antonaros (CA), Richard Cartwright (RC), Kat Day (KD), Tara Grimravn (TG), Kevin P Hallett (KPH), Geoff Houghton (GWH), C. D. Lewis (CDL), Michelle Ristuccia (MR), Chuck Rothman (CR), Seraph (S), Pedro Silva (PS), Victoria Silverwolf (VS), Robert L Turner III (RLT), Mike Wyant, Jr. (MJW).

I wish to thank the reviewers for the time and energy they have devoted to reading and reviewing this year’s offerings. Without them, no Tangent Online and no Recommended Reading List; they’re the ones who make it all work. Thanks are also due those who sent material for review, and of course our loyal readership throughout 2020—our 27th year since that first, slim July/August 1993 print issue was mailed out.

Below are covers from original anthologies, or reprint collections which included original fiction making the list. Magazine covers (print and online) are interspersed throughout the list in no particular order.






Short Stories

“On Clockwork Wings” by Tara Calaby (Galaxy’s Edge #42, 1-2/20) F (VS)

“The Ancestral Temple in a Box” by Chen Qiufan (Clarkesworld #160, 1/20) SF (VS)

Claudette Dulac and the Devil of the North” by Genevieve Sinha (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #294, 1-2/20) SF (KPH)

Beldame” by Nikolas Furr (Diabolical Plots #59, 1/20) F (KPH)

“In the Fields of Sin, Down Among the Dead” by Brian Winfrey (Mysterion, 1/20) F (VS)

One Lost Space Suit Way” by A. J. Ward (Analog, 1-2/20) SF (KPH)

Salvage” by Andy Dudak (Interzone #285, 1-2/20) SF (KPH)

Anvil Rock” by John Shirley (Weirdbook #42, 2/20) SF (TG)

Calaphais and the Demon Malchance” by John Shirley (Weirdbook #42, 2/20) F (TG)

That Ambulance Again” by John Shirley (Weirdbook #42, 2/20) H (TG)

“We Are the Moor” by Sylvia Heike (Flash Fiction Online #77, 2/20) F (VS)

“An Oasis of Amends” by Floris Kleijne (Flash Fiction Online #77, 2/20) SF (VS)

Jack’s Fine Dining” by T.R. Napper (Neon Leviathan, 2/20) SF (TG)

The Weight of the Air, The Weight of the World” by T.R. Napper (Neon Leviathan, 2/20) SF (TG)

“Sly Ghosts” by Geraldine Briony Hunt (Aurealis #127, 2/20) F (VS)

Things Boys Do” by Pemi Aguda (Nightmare #89, 2/20) H (TG)

Across the Ice” by Ada Hoffmann (Strange Horizons, 2/3/20) SF (TG)

Company” by Shannon Sanders (Strange Horizons, 2/10/20) F (TG)

“The Mermaid Astronaut” by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #298, 2/27/20) F (VS)

“Time Reveals the Heart” by Derek Künsken (Clarkesworld #162, 3/20) SF (VS)

Selfie” by Kat Clay (Aurealis #128, 3/20) H (TG)

Tezcatlipoca” by Patrick Hurley (Aurealis #128, 3/20) F (TG)

“Expecting to Fly” by Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg (Analog, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

“Respite” by Catherine Wells (Analog, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

“War Lily” by Beth Dawkins (Analog, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

“The Smartest Damn Machine on Earth” by Bo Balder (Analog, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

Hungry is the Earth” by William Ledbetter (F&SF, 3-4/20) SF (KPH)

The Man I Love” by James Patrick Kelly (F&SF, 3-4/20) F (KPH)

“Rena in the Desert” by Lia Swope Mitchell (Asimov’s, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

“So Long as We Both” by Tom Purdom (Asimov’s, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

“Cofiwch Aberystwyth” by Val Nolan (Interzone #286, 3-4/20) SF (KD)

“The Sniper and I” by Rich Larson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #299, 3/12/20) SF (VS)

The Eat Me Drink Me Challenge” by Chris Kuriata (Diabolical Plots #61, 3/20) F (TG)

The Old Ones, Great and Small” by Rajiv Moté (Diabolical Plots #61, 3/20) H (TG)

Tend to Me” by Kristina Ten (Lightspeed #118, 3/20) F (KPH)

“Shattering” by Christopher Kenworthy (Black Static #74, 3-4/20) H (KD)

“The New You” by Ainslie Hogarth (Black Static #74, 3-4/20) H (KD)

The Visitor: Kill or Cure” by Mark Lawrence (Tor.com, 3/20) SF (TG)

Pour Down Like Silver” by Cynthia Ward (Cirsova #3, Spring 2020) F (KPH)

“Stolen Sky” by Storm Humbert (Writers of the Future #36, 4/20) SF (VS)

“Father’s House” by Grace Chan (Aurealis #129, 4/20) SF (MJW)

Scardevil” by Jeff Salyards (Grimdark #22, 4/20) F (KPH)

Angel Pattern” by Henry Szabranski (Clarkesworld #163, 4/20) SF (KPH)

A Moonlit Savagery” by Millie Ho (Nightmare #91, 4/20) H (KPH)

“Lonely Children Lost at Sea” by Wendy Nikel (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #302, 4/23/20) F (VS)

“The Witch Speaks” by Rati Mehrotra (Lightspeed #119, 4/20) F (KD)

Cosmic Crust” by Alex Sherman (Tor.com, 4/20) H (TG)

Little Free Library” by Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com, 4/20) F (TG)

The Riot That Wasn’t in Port Neeks” by Susan R. Matthews (Overruled, 5/20) SF (KPH)

“Albedo Season” by Ray Nayler (Clarkesworld #164, 5/20) SF (VS)

“The Translator, at Low Tide” by Vajra Chandrasekera (Clarkesworld #164, 5/20) SF (VS)

“In Blood, In Feathers, In Moonlight” by Deborah L. Davitt (Galaxy’s Edge #44, 5-6/20) F (VS)

“Eyes of the Forest” by Ray Nayler (F&SF, 5-6/20) SF (MJW)

“Stepsister” by Leah Cypess (F&SF, 5-6/20) SF (MJW)

“The River” by Alice Towey (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF (CR)

“Brave New World by Oscar Wilde” by Ian Watson (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF (CR)

Those We Serve” by Eugenia Triantafllou (Interzone #287, 5-6/20) SF (KPH)

“Pan de Muertos” by E. E. King (On Spec #113, 5/20) F (VS)

Mirrored” by Jennifer Hudak (Flash Fiction Online #80, 5/20) F (TG)

Blood Magic” by Angela Teagardner (Flash Fiction Online #80, 5/20) F (TG)

Decorating with Luke” by Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare #92, 5/20) H (TG)

The Fenghuang” by Millie Ho (Lightspeed #120, 5/20) F (KPH)

“Just Desserts” by R. W. Wallace (Pulphouse #9, Spring20) F (VS)

The Widow” by Emma Törzs (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #305, 6/4/20) F (TG)

Breath of the Sahara” by Inegbenoise O. Osagie (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #305, 6/4/20) F (TG)

“Optimizing the Path to Enlightenment” by Priya Chand (Clarkesworld #165, 6/20) SF (VS)

Cousin Entropy” by Michèle Laframboise (Future Science Fiction Digest, 6/20) SF (KD)

I am NOT Little Red Riding Hood” by S.L. Saboviec (Flash Fiction Online #81, 6/20) F (TG)

Kill the Witchman” by William Broom (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #306, 6/18/20) F (TG)

The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door” by Greta Hayer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #306, 6/18/20) F (TG)

Open House on Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots #64, 6/20) F (KPH)

“Cage of Honor” by James Stoddard (Tales from the Magician’s Skull #4, 6/20) SF (VS)

“The New Mutants” by Angelique Fawns (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF (KD)

“Give Me My Wings” by Eneasz Brodski (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF (KD)

“We Make Life Beautiful Again” by Alexandra Seidel (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF (KD)

“Father” by Ray Nayler (Asimov’s, 7-8/20) SF (VS)

“The LEAP Test” by Alex Jennings (Strange Horizons, 7/13/20) F (VS)

Hide and Seek” by Shariann Lewitt (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) SF (TG)

The Sea of Stars” by Genevieve Williams (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) SF (TG)

Between the Rivers” by Judith Tarr (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) SF (TG)

The Fury of Mars” by F. J. Doucet (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) SF (TG)

Out of Tauris” by Alexander Jablokov (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) F (TG)

Wings” by Elana Gomel (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) F (TG)

The Crack at The Border” by Dimitra Nikolaidou (Retellings of the Inland Sea, 7/20) F (TG)

“Arachne’s Web” by James Rowland (Aurealis #132, 7/20) F (VS)

“Like Clocks Work” by Andi C. Buchanan (Aurealis #132, 7/20) F/SF (VS)

“DogWorld” by Peter Friend (Aurealis #132, 7/20) SF (VS)

Secret Keepers” by Dafydd McKimm (Flash Fiction Online #82, 7/20) F (TG)

The Right Reward” by Katherine Kerr (Galaxy’s Edge #45, 7-8/20) SF (KPH)

“The Stitch Beneath the Ice” by Ranylt Richildis (Strange Horizons, 7/20/20) H (VS)

“Artificial People” by Michael Swanwick (Clarkesworld #166, 7/20) SF (VS)

The Thrallcatcher’s Apprentice” by Deborah A. Wolf (Grimdark #23, 7/20) F (TG)

Spider Season, Fire Season” by Carlie St. George (Nightmare #94, 7/20) H (TG)

Satin and Velvet” by R. H. Cloake (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #309, 7-30/20) F (KPH)

“Pterrors of the Caribbean Part-2” by Deborah L. Davitt (DreamForge #6, 7/20) SF (KD)

The Offending Eye” by Robert R. Chase (Analog, 7-8/20) SF (PS)

“Keeping the Peace” by Elisabeth R. Adams (Analog, 7-8/20) SF (PS)

“Fox Hunt” by Rebecca Buchanan (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #45, 8/20) F (VS)

What Comes Before” by John Nadas (Mysterion, 8/20) F (MR)

All Those Guardians of Order and Clarity, None of Them Can Abide a Free Witch” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Lightspeed #123, 8/20) F (TG)

Still You Linger, Like Soot in the Air” by Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed #123, 8/20) SF/F (TG)

The Bone Stag Walks” by KT Bryski (Lightspeed #123, 8/20) F (TG)

“Honed Sharp and Ready” by Brigid Collins (Fiction River #33: Doorways to Enchantment, 8/20) F (VS)

“Fun House Mirrors” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Fiction River #33: Doorways to Enchantment, 8/20) F (VS)

Fire and Falling” by Andrew Dykstal (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #310, 8/13/20) F (TG)

Transubstantiation” by Evan Dicken (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #310, 8/13/20) F (TG)

Dead Girls Have No Names” by Claire Wrenwood (Nightmare #95, 8/20) H (TG)

For Want of Human Parts” by Casey Lucas (Diabolical Plots #66, 8/20) H (TG)

Flight” by Claire Wrenwood (Tor.com, 8/20) F (MR)

Doorway, Smile, Kiss, Fox” by Jeremy Packert Burke (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #311, 8/27/20) F (TG)

“The River” by Sharon Cullars (Weirdbook #43, 8/20) F (VS)

“Ecliptical Musings” by Bill Suboski (Cirsova Fall Special #1, 9/20) F (VS)

“The Horror of the Hills” by Jude Reid (Cirsova Fall Special #1, 9/20) H (VS)

The Patron” by Derrick Boden (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #312, 9/10/20) F (KPH)

The Monk of Lingyin Temple” by Xia Jia (Entanglements, 9/20) SF (RLT)

“Blue And Blue And Blue And Pink” by Lavie Tidhar (Clarkesworld #168, 9/20) SF


“The Last Day of the Faith” by T. R. Siebert (Flash Fiction Online #84, 9/20) F (VS)

The Last Great Rumpus” by Brian Winfrey (Diabolical Plots #67, 9/20) F (KPH)

“The Ghost Ship” by Leah Cutter (Fiction River #34: Stolen, 9/20) SF (VS)

“A Touch of Memory” by C.A. Rowland (Fiction River #34: Stolen, 9/20) F (VS)

“Michael” by Em Liu (Mysterion, 9/20) SF (VS)

“Drive Safely” by Stephen S. Power (Analog, 9-10/20) SF (VS)

“The Home of the King” by Dan Reade (Analog, 9-10/20) SF (VS)

“The Writhing Tentacles of History” by Jay Werkheiser (Analog, 9-10/20) SF (VS)

“Callme and Mink” by Brenda Cooper (Clarkesworld #169, 10/20) SF (VS)

“Little and Less” by Ashley Blooms (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF (CR)

“The Cry of Evening Birds” by James Sallis (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF (CR)

“This World Is Made for Monsters” by M. Rickert (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF (CR)

A Sideways Slant of Light” by Leah Cypess (Asimov’s, 9-10/20) F (TG)

Mangy White Dog” by Y.M. Pang (Asimov’s, 9-10/20) F (TG)

Traveling On” by Gregory Frost (Asimov’s, 9-10/20) F (TG)

The Conceptual Shark” by Rich Larson (Asimov’s, 9-10/20) F (TG)

The Heart That Saves You May be Your Own” by Merrie Haskell (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #313, 10/1/20) F (KPH)

Scallop” by J.L. Akagi (Strange Horizons, 10/5/20) H (TG)

“Ambrose Starkisser Encounters That Which Is Locked” by Jordan Chase-Young (UFO 8, 10/20) SF (CDL)

“Soul Trade” by Galen Westlake (UFO 8, 10/20) F (CDL)

“A.I., M.D.” by Kurt Pankau (UFO 8, 10/20) SF (CDL)

“The Fellowship of the Mangled Scepter” by James Wesley Rogers (UFO 8, 10/20) F (CDL)

“Black Note, In His Transition To A Supreme State Of Wokeness” by James Beamon (UFO 8, 10/20) F (CDL)

The Other Ted” by Wendy Mass & Rob Dircks (UFO 8, 10/20) SF (CDL)

“Terribly and Terrifyingly Normal” by Illimani Ferreira (UFO 8, 10/20) SF (CDL)

One Born Every Minute” by C. Flynt (UFO 8, 10/20) F (CDL)

The Monkey Trap” by Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare #97, 10/20) H (TG)

The Kindly Ones” by Andrew Fox (Hazardous Imaginings, 10/20) SF (EK)

“The Original Sin of William Blackhand” by R. Keelan (Mysterion, 10/20) F (VS)

Teatime” by Zin E. Rocklyn (Tor.com, 10/20) SF (KPH)

The Front Line” by W. C. Dunlap (Tor.com, 10/20) SF (KPH)

The Ambient Intelligence” by Todd McAulty (Lightspeed #125, 10/20) SF (TG)

Everquest” by Naomi Kanakia (Lightspeed #125, 10/20) F (TG)

“Upcycling Death” by M. K. Hutchins (Brain Games: Stories to Astonish, 10/20) F (VS)

“Forced Teaming” by Monica Joyce Evans (Brain Games: Stories to Astonish, 10/20) SF (VS)

Shadow Rook Red” by Brian Trent (Weird World War III, 10/20) SF (KPH)

Deniability” by Eric James Stone (Weird World War III, 10/20) SF (KPH)

The Devil Went Down to the Daniel Webster Charter School PTA’s Annual Halloween Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser” by Eric James Stone (Deep Magic #70, Fall 2020) F (CDL)

Ethnoentomology” by James Van Pelt (Deep Magic #70, Fall 2020) SF (CDL)

“A Purpose for Stars” by Brad McNaughton (Analog, 11-12/20) SF (VS)

“The Mirages” by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s, 11-12/20) SF (VS)

On Vapor, Which the Night Condenses” by Gregor Hartmann (F&SF, 11-12/20) SF (KPH)

Skipping Stones in the Dark” by Amman Sabet (F&SF, 11-12/20) SF (KPH)

“The Land of Eternal Jackfruit” by Rupsa Dey (Clarkesworld #170, 11/20) SF (VS)

Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law” by Lavie Tidhar (Tor.com, 11/20) F (TG)

On Safari in R’lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera” with Elizabeth Bear (Tor.com, 11/20) F (TG)

The Gwyddien and the Raven Fiend” by J.T. Greathouse (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #316, 11/5/20) F (TG)

A Land of Blood and Snow” by Cooper Anderson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #316, 11/5/20) F (TG)

The Science and Artistry of Snake Oil Salesmanship” by Timothy Mudie (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #317, 11/19/20) F (TG)

A Feast from Tile and Stone” by Ryan Eric Dull (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #317, 11/19/20) F (TG)

Lamplighter” by J. Scott Coatsworth (Galaxy’s Edge #47, 11-12/20) SF (KPH)

Tiger’s Feast” by KT Bryski (Nightmare #98, 11-12/20) H (TG)

“The Last Julian” by Annie Reed (Obsessions, 11/20) SF (VS)

“A Rare Bird” by Joe Cron (Obsessions, 11/20) F (VS)

Introduction to the Horror Story, Day 1” by Kurt Fawver (Nightmare #98, 11/20) H (TG)

And This is How to Stay Alive” by Shingai Njeri Kagunda (Fantasy #61, 11/20) SF (KPH)

The Ephemeral Quality of Mersay” by John Possidente (Interzone #289, 11-12/20) SF (KPH)

The Dead Outside My Door” by Steve Rasnic Tem (Black Static, #77 11-12/20) H (TG)

The Beach at Ocolondé” by Claude Lalumière (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) DF (EK)

Xenophobe” by Liam Hogan (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF (EK)

“Felt Along the Seam” by Kelly Sandoval (Flash Fiction Online #87, 12/20) F (CR)

“Raising Mermaids” by Dai Da (Future Science Fiction Digest #9, 12/20) SF (VS)

Tiger, Tiger” by Teel James Glenn (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

Pulsa” by Edward M. Erdelac (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) H (TG)

White Casket” by Ville Meriläinen (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

The Murmurous Dead” by Eric Del Carlo (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

Hunt of the Mine Worm” by Jim Breyfogle (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

The Cunning of Artocris” by Jeffrey Scott Sims (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

The Cat, the Hand, and the Plight of the Sacred Bull” by Christine Lucas (Cirsova #5, Winter 2020) F (TG)

And The Ones Who Walk In” Sarah Avery (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #31912/17/20) F (MR)

Tony Roomba’s Last Day on Earth” by Maria Haskins (Diabolical Plots #70, 12/20) F (TG)

“The Book of Drowned Sisters” by Caspian Gray (Nightmare #99, 12/20) F (KPH)

“At the End of All Things” by Chris Cornetto (DreamForge #7, 12/20) F (CR)

“On the Way There” by Evan James Sheldon (DreamForge #7, 12/20) F (CR)

The Red Walls of Ishri” by Patrick Hurley (Deep Magic #71, Winter/20) F (CDL)


Short Stories One Star

Hive” by Jay Werkheiser (Analog, 1-2/20) SF* (KPH)

Familiar Face” by Meg Elison (Nightmare #88, 1/20) H* (KPH)

The Candle Queen” by Ephiny Gale (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #295, 1-16/20) F* (KPH)

Sinew and Steel and What They are Told” by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, 2/20) SF* (KPH)

“A Simple Pine Box” by James Van Pelt (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) F* (CR)

“The Adventures of Rabbi Shlomo Jones and the Half-Baked Kid” by Eytan Kollin (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) H* (CR)

“The Murder of the Rag Doll Kid” by David Boop (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) F* (CR)

Say You’re Sorry” by Amman Sabet (F&SF, 3-4/20) F* (KPH)

“An Infinite Number” by David Amburgey, (DreamForge #5, 3/20) SF* (KD)

“Climbing the Motherman” by Henry Szabranski (DreamForge #5, 3/20) F* (KD)

“Rocket Man” by Louis Evans (Interzone #286, 3-4/20) SF* (KD)

The Golden Pearl” by Jim Breyfogle (Cirsova #3, Spring 2020) F* (KPH)

“Glass Bottle Dancer” by Celeste Rita Baker (Lightspeed #119, 4/20) F* (KD)

License to Live” by Sarah A. Hoyt & Laura Montgomery (Overruled, 5/20) SF* (KPH)

“Another F*cken Fairy Tale” by M. Rickert (F&SF, 5-6/20) F* (MJW)

“The Voice” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF* (CR)

The Black Paintings” by Simon Avery (Black Static #75, 5-6/20) H* (KPH)

The Whispering Healer” by Larisa Walk, (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #44, 5/20) F* (S)

Do Not Fear, for the Work Will be Pure” by Michael Johnstone, (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #44, 5/20) F* (S)

We’re Here, We’re Here” by K.M. Szpara (Tor.com, 6/20) SF* (MR)

“Just Like Living with Dad” by Jenny Blackford (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF* (KD)

“SoulShine,” by Koji A. Dae (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF* (KD)

“For Mom: Standup Cosmic Comedy” by Erie Matriarch (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF* (KD)

“Night Chat” by John Kiste (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF* (KD)

True Silk” by Tais Teng (Unreal, Vol. 4, Fall 2020) F* (CDL)

Knock, Knock Said the Ship” by Rati Mehrotra (F&SF, 7-8/20) SF* (S)

The Fastest Dragon” by Mike Resnick (The Hex Is In, 7/20) F* (CDL)

“Kobold Domain Patch Notes ” by Christopher Mark Rose (DreamForge #6, 7/20) SF* (KD)

“Pangenesis” by Scot Noel (DreamForge #6, 7/20) SF* (KD)

“The Shepherdess, the Roc, and One Errant Sheep” by Alexandra Seidel (DreamForge #6, 7/20) F* (KD)

The Plague” by Yan Leisheng (Clarkesworld #167, 8/20) SF* (KPH)

“Soaring, The World on Their Shoulders” by Cécile Cristofari (Interzone #288, 9-10/20) SF* (CR)

A Tally of What Remains” by R. Z. Held (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #313, 10/1/20) F* (KPH)

“The Proper Feudal Spirit” by Paul R. Hardy (Deep Magic #70, Fall 2020) F* (CDL)

No Plan Survives First Contact” by Stephen Lawson (Weird World War III, 10/20) SF* (KPH)

Evangeline” by C. L. Kagmi (Weird World War III, 10/20) F* (KPH)

“Shy and Retiring” by Esther Friesner (UFO 8, 10/20) F* (CDL)

“Body Double” by Jody Lynn Nye (UFO 8, 10/20) SF* (CDL)

“The Dangers of Suburban Deer” by Jamie Lackey (UFO 8, 10/220) F* (CDL)

“The Unwelcome Matt” by J.J. Litke (UFO 8, 10/20) F* (CDL)

Gommy” by Amy Lynwander (UFO 8, 10/20) F* (CDL)

Smoke Bomb” by Matt Thompson (Interzone #289, 11-12/20) SF* (KPH)

For Our Sins” by Andrew Fox (Hazardous Imaginings, 10/20) SF* (EK)

A Singular Outrage” by Ian Creasey (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF* (EK)

Chelsea’s Rescue” by J. L. Hagen (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) DF* (EK)

The Responsible Party” by Margret A. Treiber (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF* (EK)

Impy” by Fiona M. Jones (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF* (EK)

Doggy Style” by Andrew Fox (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF* (EK)

“Grand Old Boar” by G. T. Knight (Flash Fiction Online, 12/20) SF* (CR)

After Me, The FloodElizabeth Zuckerman (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #31812/3/20) F* (MR)

“The Limits of the Human Heart ” by Rebecca Roland (DreamForge #7, 12/20) F* (CR)

“The Android and the Fallen Angel” by Alice Towey (DreamForge #7, 12/20) SF/F* (CR)

“Myself” by Rebecca Enzor (DreamForge #7, 12/20) F* (CR)

“Blink If You Love Me” by Marie Vibbert (DreamForge #7, 12/20) SF* (CR)

“The Winds and Waters of Mars” by C.H. Hung (DreamForge #7, 12/20) SF* (CR)


Short Stories Two Stars

The Grass Bows Down, the Pilgrims Walk Lightly” by Izzy Wasserstein (Analog, 1-2/20) SF** (KPH)

“As Long as Grass Shall Grow” by Mercedes Lackey (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) F** (CR)

“Junior & Me” by Harry Turtledove (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) SF** (CR)

“Hell-Bent” by Tex Thompson (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) F** (CR)

A Game of Stakes” by Max Florschutz (A Dragon and Her Girl, 2/20) F** (RC)

“Reformed” by Caias Ward, (Mysterion, 3/20) F** (MJW)

“Answered Prayers” by Scott Edelman (Dreamforge #5, 3/20) F** (KD)

“Counterclockwise” by Jamie D. Munro (Dreamforge #5, 3/20) SF** (KD)

“Summit Attempt” by Floris M. Kleijne (Dreamforge #5, 3/20) F** (KD)

Three Days with the Kid” by Tara Calaby (Strange Horizons, 3-30/20) SF** (CA)

“In the Wake of my Father” by Ray Cluley (Black Static #74, 3-4/20) H** (KD)

“The Least of These” by Veronica Roth (Lightspeed #119, 4/20) SF** (KD)

“Voice of Their Generation” by Andrew Dana Hudson (Lightspeed #119, 4/20) SF** (KD)

“Gordon’s Knot” by Jennifer Milne (Mysterion, 5/20) F** (KD)

The Tourist” by Alex Sherman (Tor.com, 5/20) SF** (CA)

“Ithaca” by Brad Aiken & Rick Wilber (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF** (CR)

“Digital Witness” by Dominica Phetteplace (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF** (CR)

“Twenty-seven Gifts I Saved For You” by Filip Wiltgren (Future Science Fiction Digest, 6/20) SF** (KD)

The Final Mission Of Specialist Astroga” by Mike Massa (Give Me Libertycon, 6/20) SF** (RC)

The Tuckerizing” by Larry Correia (Give Me Libertycon, 6/20) SF** (RC)

“Catcher in the Sky” by Paul A. Freeman (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF** (KD)

“The Centaur Detective and the Vanishing Man” by Patrick Hurley (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF** (KD)

“All Fuzzed Out and Fractal” by David Cleden (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF** (KD)

“War’s End” by Neil James Hudson (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF** (KD)

“The Problem with Magic Rings” by Jane Lindskold (DreamForge #6, 7/20) F** (KD)

“The Dog and the Ferryman” by Brian Trent (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF/F** (CR)

“Time’s Own Gravity” by Alexander Glass (Interzone #288, 9-10/20) SF** (CR)

Journey to Perfection” by Larry Hodges (UFO 8, 10/20) SF** (CDL)

Weights and Measures” by Benjamin C. Kinney (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #46, 11/20) F** (S)

Basilisk” by Karl K. Gallagher (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF** (EK)

Retrograde” by Jay Werkheiser (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF** (EK)

The Fourth Ticket” by Keltie Zubko (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF** (EK)

“Broke Down & Starside” by Jennifer Shelby (DreamForge #7, 12/20) SF** (CR)


Short Stories Three Stars

“The Men Who Change the World” by Christopher East (Lightspeed #116, 1/20) SF*** (CR)

“Robot Princess” by M. T. Reiten (DreamForge #5, 3/20) SF*** (KD)

Heart of Vengeance” by Gregory D. Mele (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #44, 5/20) F*** (S)

“Ashes to Ashes” by Chloie Piveral (Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses, Summer 2020) SF*** (KD)

Last Night at the Fair” by M. Rickert (F&SF, 7-8/20) F*** (S)

“Fifteen Minutes” by Mike Morgan (UFO 8, 10/20) SF*** (CDL)

“The 10:40 Appointment at the NYC Department of Superhero Registration” by Chris Hepler (UFO 8, 10/20) F*** (CDL)

Get Me to the Firg<click><cough>-xulb On Time” by Laura Resnick (UFO 8, 10/20) SF*** (CDL)

Six Wings Hath They” by Andrew Fox (Hazardous Imaginings, 10/20) SF*** (EK)

For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls” by Liu Xiaodan (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF*** (EK)

The Promise of King Washington” by Joe Vasicek (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF*** (EK)

Struldbrug” by David Wesley Hill (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF*** (EK)

As the Earth Intended” by PJ Higham (Again, Hazardous Imaginings, 12/20) SF*** (EK)



“A Pack of Tricks” by Leah Cypess (Asimov’s, 1-2/20) SF (VS)

“Monster” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld #160, 1/20) SF (VS)

“One Hand in the Coffin” by Justin C. Key (Strange Horizons 1-20/20) H (VS)

“Sicko” by Stephen Volk (Black Static #73, 1-2/20) H (VS)

If You Take My Meaning” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com, 2/20) SF (KPH)

“Ghost Men of Sunrise Mesa” by Jonathan Maberry (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) SF (CR)

“The Amusement Dark” by Mike Buckley (Clarkesworld #162, 3/20) SF (VS)

“Mama Cascade” by Samantha Mills (Deep Magic #68, 3/20) F (VS)

“Educational Tapes” by Katie Livingston (Writers of the Future #36, 4/20) SF (VS)

“The Language Sheath” by Regina Kanyu Wang (Clarkesworld #164, 5/20) SF (VS)

“The Greenery Has Come Again” by Paul Lucas (Cirsova Summer Special #2, 5/20) F (VS)

Calm Face of the Storm” by Ramona Louise Wheeler (Analog, 5-6/20) SF (KPH)

“How Long the Shadows Cast” by Kenji Yanagawa (Clarkesworld #165, 6/20) SF (VS)

“A Mastery of German” by Marian Denise Moore (Dominion, 8/20) SF (VS)

“The Satellite Charmer” by Mame Bougouma Diene (Dominion, 8/20) SF/F (VS)

Two Truths and a Lie” by Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com, 6/20) H (MR)

The Ones Who Look” by Katherine Duckett (Tor.com, 7/20) SF (KPH)

“Instrument of Vengeance” by Howard Andrew Jones (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #45, 8/20) F (VS)

An Important Failure” by Rebecca Campbell (Clarkesworld #167, 8/20) SF (KPH)

Sticks and Stones” by Tom Jolly (Analog, 7-8/20) SF (PS)

“Ennui” by Filip Wiltgren (Analog, 7-8/20) SF (PS)

Fatal Memory” by Rhonda Pressley Veit (Black Static #76, 9-10/20) H (KPH)

“Seeding the Mountain” by M. L. Clark (Analog, 9-10/20) SF (VS)

“The Perfection of Theresa Watkins” by Justin C. Key (Tor.com, 9/23/20) SF (VS)

“You and Whose Army?” by Greg Egan (Clarkesworld #169, 10/20) SF (VS)

Girls with Needles and Frost” by Jenny Rae Rappaport (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #315, 10/22/20) F (KPH)

“Enter the Fungicene” by J.M. Swenson (Analog, 11-12/20) SF (VS)

“Return From the Stars” by James Gunn (Asimov’s, 11-12/20) SF (VS)

“The Long Iapetan Night” by Julie Novakova (Asimov’s, 11-12/20) SF (VS)


Novelettes One Star

Generation Gap” by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld #161, 2/20) SF* (KPH)

“The Hoodoo Man and the Midnight Train ” by Joe R. Lansdale (Straight Outta Dodge City, 2/20) H* (CR)

The Hummingbird Temple” by C. C. Finlay (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #300, 3-26/20) F* (KPH)

“The Mrs. Innocents” by Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF* (CR)

Choice of the Conquered” by Alex Shvartsman (Galaxy’s Edge #45, 7-8/20) SF*


Muzik Man” by Wulf Moon (Deep Magic #70, Fall 2020) SF* (CDL)

Exile’s End” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Tor.com, 8/20) SF* (MR)

“My Name Was Tom” by Tim Powers (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF* (CR)

The Bahrain Underground Bazaar” by Nadia Afifi (F&SF, 11-12/20) SF* (KPH)


Novelettes Two Stars

“Tunnels” by Eleanor Arnason (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF** (CR)

The Monsters of Olympus Mons” by Brian Trent (F&SF, 7-8/20) SF** (S)

“Invisible People” by Nancy Kress (Entanglements, 9/20) SF** (VS, RLT)

“The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF** (CR)

Conversations in the Dark” by Robert Reed (Clarkesworld #171, 12/20) SF** (GWH)

“The Flight of the Brolga” by Henry Gasko (DreamForge #7, 12/20) SF** (CR)


Novelettes Three Stars

“Ronni and Rod” by David Gerrold & Ctein (Asimov’s, 5-6/20) SF*** (CR)

The Necessary Arthur” by Garth Nix (Tor.com, 7/20) F*** (KPH)

“Color, Heat, and the Wreck of the Argo” by Catherynne M. Valente (Strange Horizons 9/7/20) F*** (CR)

“The Fairy Egg” by R. S. Benedict (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF*** (CR)

“War Suit” by Gary Gibson (Interzone #288, 9-10/20) SF*** (CR)



“Not this Tide” by Sheila Finch (Asimov’s, 1-2/20) SF (VS)

Come the Revolution” by Ian Tregillis (F&SF, 3-4/20) SF (KPH)

“Semper Augustus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s, 3-4/20) SF (VS)

The Forest God” by Jamie Lackey (Air and Nothingness Press, 6/20) F (TG)

“Nic and Viv’s Compulsory Courtship” by Will McIntosh (Asimov’s, 7-8/20) SF (VS)

“Tool Use by the Humans of Danzhai County” by Derek Künsken (Asimov’s, 7-8/20) SF (VS)


Novellas One Star

Moral Biology” by Neal Asher (Analog, 5-6/20) SF* (KPH)


Novellas Two Stars

Denier” by Andrew Fox (Hazardous Imaginings, 10/20) DF** (EK)


Novellas Three Stars

“Of Them All” by Leah Cypess (F&SF, 9-10/20) SF*** (CR)

City of a Thousand Names” by Andrew Fox (Hazardous Imaginings, 10/20) SF*** (EK)