Many people I know have lists (or stacks) of books that they intend to read. I used to have something similar. But since shifting my focus to short fiction, and trying to read a lot more short fiction, I’ve discovered that despite doing a pretty good job at keeping up with 1 story/day, there are still tons of stories out there that I want to read. As much as I have read within the genre, there are vast parts of the science fiction landscape which I have barely touched. So I’ve started keeping a list of stories that I’d eventually like to read and I pull out this list whenever I am stuck for what to read next.
Whenever possible, the items on the list are available in my collection, and moreover, in electronic form. That is not true for all of them, but for many of them. As of today, the list contains 62 stories. I suspect that the list won’t ever get much shorter than that, but in any case, I’ll report on the state of the list on my monthly short fiction reading posts beginning at the end of this month.
1 piece of short fiction a day is not hard. My Vacation in the Golden Age virtually guarantees a story a day. But I usually try and pick something outside that as well, and sometimes, I am reading two or three pieces in a day, depending on how long they are. I’ve already gone through most of the stories that interest me in the Jan/Feb and March issues of Analog, and the February issue of Asimov’s. There are a few more stories I want to read in the January F&SF, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed, but I’ll have those read by the end of the month. At present, I’m filling in the gaps with a selection of stories from Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best anthologies, going all the way back to the very first. It is my hope that I can make up some of what I’ve missed and fill in some gaps in that landscape.
Indeed, I find it both startling and amusing when I “discover” a phenomenal story that is decades or more old. This happened a few years back with my “discovery” of Nancy Kress’s “Beggars In Spain.” It happened again this weekend with my “discovery” of Robert Silverberg’s “Beauty In the Night.”
What story am I reading at the moment? Charles Sheffield’s “Georgia On My Mind.” And yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever read it.