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For some reason I have a harder time thinking up freebies than I do on a normal Top Ten Tuesday topic. This time around, I wanted to highlight the wonderful world of short stories!
I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a short attention span when I’m reading. There are days where I am able to read one book at a time and other days where I can’t focus long enough before going to a different book and then switching back and forth between several books I’ve put on my bedside table.
When my attention span is really taking a beating, I go to short stories, because they are exactly what I’m looking for. Anthologies can be picked up and read whenever you want, and most of the time, reading one short story is pretty much good for a single sitting. Short stories also help me find writers I want to read more of novel-wise, and often I gravitate towards authors I love who also happen to have short stories littering different anthologies.
So this list is for those anthos out there, for keeping my attention span happy, one short story at a time.
Freebie: Ten Anthologies Worth Reading
Corsets & Clockwork edited by Trisha Telep – Before I started reading steampunk, there was this anthology. C&C pretty much introduced me into this subgenre, literature-wise, and it probably explains why I constantly think of intricate clockwork dresses and thensome.
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier – “For a good time, call…” Seriously, though, this antho was pretty fun to read, and there are different short stories by different authors in various genres. By the end of it, you’ll wind up picking a side. Go team zombies!
Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs – Alright, so context might be needed to enjoy this anthology, but whatever. If you’re familiar with supernatural romance, urban fantasy, and werewolf/vampire/fae fiction, then likely you’re familiar with–and have an idea of whether you like–Mercy Thompson. I read Moon Called first before I delved into this collection, and I haven’t regretted it since.
Unfettered edited by Shawn Speakman – If you’re looking for a collection put out by masters of high fantasy, this collection is definitely one I’d recommend. There were numerous shorts penned by authors I looked up soon after (Rothfuss, Vaughn, and Brett being a few of them) and some shorts penned by authors I loved (Sanderson, Hearne).
The Arabian Nights – It doesn’t even matter which version of the collection you pick up, and whether or not you’re reading the canon stories spoken aloud by fabled Scheherazade. Just pick up a copy and read the stories. They’re fantastical and marvelous and every bit as magical as the ancient East.
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce – I totally bought this collection of short stories the first few days it was released. There were a lot of different stories here that I loved, particularly because most of them occur in Tortall. Of course, not all of them do, but since they were penned by Tamora Pierce, every single one of them was worth a read.
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor – I’m not sure if the last story should count as a short, since it took me two sittings to read it. BUT. The three shorts in Taylor’s collection are fantastic, and it’s hard for me to pick a proper favorite since I loved all three of them to pieces.
Aesop’s Fables – These fables pretty much takes a good minute or two to read, probably less for a number of them. Yet they’re rich in imagination, and there are certainly morals to some that I’d totally heed.
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner – There wouldn’t be a complete short story collection without a book on fairy tales. This particular one made me laugh a lot. It was also easy to follow, considering the tales Garner used are well-known.
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi – Veering off from your regular SFF stories to bring you nonfiction! I read this in college, and I recall rating it two out of five stars. I wouldn’t change the rating, but in retrospect, I’d still say reading this collection is worth your time. It follows Levi’s experiences pre-WWII, and he ties each short to a periodic element, which I thought was pretty cool.
And because why the hell not, a shoutout to the last few anthologies I’ve been honored to contribute to:
Ancient New edited by James Tallett – Alternate historical stories, involving technology in ancient times and vice versa.
Kisses by Clockwork edited by Liz Grzyb – A collection of steampunk romance stories, of the steamy or cutesy variety. Yes, this is a kissing book.
2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide edited by Corie and Sean Weaver – A science fiction antho for the young and impressionable!
The SEA is Ours: Tales From Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh and Joync Chng – Steampunk of the Southeastern Asian variety, where technologies include flying whales and volcano-powered airships.
(I have noticed the past few short stories that have been accepted were scifi/steampunk as opposed to fantasy. I’m not sure what that’s saying about my mentality here.)