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Last Short Story List

The Last Short Story (lastshortstory) folk finished reading the year's short fiction, and compiled a recommended list. 'John Wayne' is on it, which is nice.

It's an interesting list in that it represents a few people I actively dislike, and some who I have a neither positive nor negative opinion of, but only a couple of people I'd seek out. For example, I've never understood the appeal of Ted Chiang, and I find the few pieces I've read of his badly written and old tricks. Likewise, I find Grace Dugan to be bland and unoffensive to the point of offense, Holly Black an annoyance with words, and Greg Egan just dry. I don't mind when the latter is occasionally political, mind. This is not a slag on the list, by the way, it's just me talking about it, in that way that you talk about these things. I like the way Hal Duncan uses words and Rjurik Davidson's use of the high concept, for an example on the other side of things.

Anyhow, if I had read the thousands upon thousands of stories that the LSS crew did, I would be able to offer you some alternatives, but honestly, I didn't (and I won't). Taste is taste and all: so if you read a few stories that you liked more than what's listed there, note them down.

Comments

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frogworth
Jan. 8th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Taste is indeed taste. I find Ted Chiang to be a genius, and Greg Egan too (although, dry, sure. Mostly).
I find Hal Duncan basically unreadable. I've read one story by Grace Dugan I liked quite a bit, and I think one that I didn't. So it goes.

I shall go and check out the LSS list when I get a chance, but I read much less than I wish I had last year...
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
did you read davidson's 'domine'? i reckon that might work for you, actually.

(or, y'know, maybe not, what with the different sides of taste there.)
frogworth
Jan. 8th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Haven't read, but certainly should! Have been hearing about him for a while...
I should get that issue of Aurealis anyway...
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
he does some nice stuff. had stories in the first two year's best aus volumes, as well.

the aurealis issue isn't bad. has a nice drawing of john wayne in it.
girliejones
Jan. 8th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
Anyhow, if I had read the thousands upon thousands of stories that the LSS crew did

Or indeed the stories that we put on our list that you just slagged off.

I have no problem if you read the Dugan and hated it but to just hate a writer has no real link to the particular story in question. Same with the Chiang which I thought was written in a very different style to much of his other work that I have read.
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
so?

i've read other stories by them. i know what they can do. i don't go back to authors i dislike--why would i bother?
girliejones
Jan. 8th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
sure but then ... i liked a lot more of your work in 06 than in 07 - should I not read anything you write in 08 then?
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
if you want, sure. an author's got to earn loyalty, and if you can't do it, you can't do it.

but the difference here is that you liked some of my stuff, though, and you can recognise something in it you dig. me, i'll go back to egan occasionally, but the others i've actively disliked, and there are a lot more authors out there i find interesting. if some don't swing the right way for you, bin it and move on unless you got an itch to try more. these people give me no itch.
girliejones
Jan. 8th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Then it just means that you and I get different things out of what we read and we look for different things.

Doesn't mean anything other than you don't want me to recommend stuff for you to read.
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
yep :)
cassiphone
Jan. 8th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
I love lists, lists are good.

For a long time I was using the Locus Recommended Reading list as a guide to novels and short stories I should hunt down. I got quite competitive with it, crossing them off the list when I read them, comparing year to year, and so on.

Really, I only stopped when I realised that reading based on LJ recommendations provided me with a better hit rate of stuff I liked.

I love the way one person's list of favourites can represent someone else's unfaovurites, and the kind of dialogue that can come out of it.

That said, I would defend Holly Black's stories these year with a fistfight if necessary :D
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
i can take you! don't think otherwise!

:P
i_ate_my_crusts
Jan. 8th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
It's always interesting to see where tastes overlap, ad helps me to find (and read) things that I might not otherwise consider.

I have the same opinion of Ted Chiang as you do (I find his writing clunky and it distracts me from the story; I find his story old hat enough that the writing _can_ distract me) , but I love Egan. I haven't read either Holly Black or Grace Dugan in short form.

I think, given what I know of your tastes, that I can probably triangulate your book recommendations, etc in future to find things I should read. Which makes for the fun of testing that calibration scheme, and re-evaluating; that for me is most of the fun of reading reviewers and commentary/opinion about books.
benpeek
Jan. 8th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
well, i guess i don't recommend dugan or black for you. heh.

at least someone else doesn't like ted chiang. i was starting to think i was the only one.
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