I’ve read a *LOT* of great short stories this year.
I thought however, that instead of making a big, long list, I’d just point you folks in the right direction to the short story that made the biggest impact on my imagination in both written and podcast form. These are the two that I read (or listened to) much more than once, trying to study the craft carefully to see how it worked and why it worked.
From Spring’s issue of Talebones, I loved James Van Pelt’s “Rockhouse”. I always considered “The Fall of the House of Usher” the worst short story by Edgar Allan Poe, because very little happens, and it’s all just a veiled reference to incest. Which is gross. James Van Pelt manages to take a story I didn’t care for and completely reconstruct it from the ground up – er… Down, actually – into a wondrous, magical realist meditation on life and living, with an unforgettable underground mansion.
I’ve also spent lots of time this year listening to podcasts while cleaning the apartment, or playing chess against the computer, or other such nonsense. One story really stood out as both a brilliant and powerful work of short fiction, and as a primer for how exactly one should do readings with different dialects. From Podcastle, Maureen McHugh’s “Ancestor Money”.
I could go on at length about many other pieces. Sure, I could. But you and I both know you aren’t going to follow every link I post. Anyway, everyone has been making all sorts of lists, and lots of stories have been mentioned all over the place, and everyone’s correct about how brilliant everyone is.
I’ve given you two links. That should be enough.