Saturday, July 19, 2014

Short Fiction Reading Spree

Leading up to Worldcon each year I like to ramp up my short fiction reading. This is convenient because:

  • Normally it gives me an opportunity to go through all the short form Hugo nominees each year.
  • It means I feel a little more "caught up" on short fiction, entering the second half of the year, than I otherwise would, which in turn provides extra motivation to keep going August-Dec. Now, this may make it sound like reading short fiction is difficult or unappealing--quite the opposite is true. But reading novels and non-fiction books is easy and appealing as well, and they take considerably more time, so unless I deliberately set aside blocks of time for short fiction, I find that even though I continue to read it all year round I fall woefully behind.
  • It's nice to be able to meet people at a large gathering like Worldcon and be familiar with their short form work, whether they have published dozens or stories before, or just the one I read last month. Wouldn't be the first time this has provided an "in" to conversation or a way of quickly establishing a shared reference.
  • This is captured in the third bullet point, but I'll repeat it here, because it deserves its own space: I love short fiction.
  • As it happens, this year one of the panels I'm going to be on is about short fiction. So reading more of it leading up to the con, and that specific panel, certainly can't hurt. It might even make me pseudo-credible.

Those are reasons, then. But what about method of execution? Well, this year I thought I'd try a slightly different approach:

  • Starting tomorrow, Sunday July 20th, I'll endeavor to read five stories a day for the next ten days. This means that, if successful, I'll read fifty stories during this little spree.
  • All the short fiction I read during this time will have been published in 2014. (This means, alas, that I'll have to try and catch up with current Hugo nominees on the side, or last minute before voting closes, or be caught up incompletely when it does).

I look forward to discovering new authors and seeing what some of my favorites have been up to!

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