"The Best Dog in the World," by Dirk Flinthart, Worlds Next Door - when I was at Aussiecon recently, the comment I heard people make to Dirk most often was "that dog story of yours made me CRY". So of course I had to check it out for myself! I must report that it did not make me cry - not through any lack in the narrative, I'm just a hard-hearted bitch when it comes to animal stories - but it is an excellent SF story with a real Golden Age Juvenile sensibility about it.
"Under the Bridge," Garth Nix, Legends of Australian Fantasy - a strong piece from Nix's Old Kingdom (Sabriel) world, about a boy who signs up with a crew whose primary task is to hold the bridge against invaders. I enjoyed the main character very much and would happily have read a whole book about him - the ending to the story came a little too suddenly for my taste, but it was still very nicely done.
"Crown of Rowan," Kim Wilkins, Legends of Australian Fantasy - a taste of Wilkins' new series of Anglo-Saxon 'intimate epics'. I was hooked by this story of a queen pregnant by her lover, and her very different sisters, including Bluebell the warrior, and Ash the healer. The world was rich with detail and the story alive with personality.
"The Miracle Aquilina," by Margo Lanagan, Wings of Fire - a magnificent domestic epic about a saintly shepherdess refusing to submit to the king who wants to marry her, viewed through the eyes of a young woman who desperately needs the saint to triumph. This is a glorious piece of work which, naturally enough for a Lanagan story, pauses casually to eviscerate the reader. Damn you, Margo.