Here they are, the last 2008 recs from me. Chew them up while they're hot and tasty.
"Being Bella Wang," Bren McDibble, Shiny 4 - this emerging Australian writer has really hit her stride and found her voice in this marvellous YA story which touches on cloning, teen girl self esteem and Balinese mythology. Angsty, thoughtful and with a lovely sense of black humour, this is a definite must-read.
"Your Collar," Elizabeth Bear, Subterranean Online - an intriguing mythological romance about the Minotaur of Crete, which uses the second person voice to great effect.
"The Dewdrop Coffee Lounge," Cat Rambo, Clockwork Phoenix. An elegant, evocative story about a girl whose mission in life is to lie to people waiting for blind dates - but is it supernatural? I liked the characters and the relaxed, confident narrative in this one a lot.
"Palisade," Cat Sparks, Clockwork Phoenix. An odd, decadent fantasy of manners which reminded me faintly of Flora Segunda, except that it is not in fact fantasy at all, but science fiction written in a fantasy-like style. I liked this one a lot, especially when the apparently light and frothy mood descended starkly into something much more disturbing.
"Money is No Object," Leslie What, Asimov's Oct/Nov.
A thoughtful little piece about the effects on a family of a wallet that magically produces an infinite number of dollar bills. I liked the character, the writing and everything this story had to say, but it wound up too quickly - I'm used to something far more twisty and satisfying from What.
"Alphabet," Becca De La Rosa, Fantasy (March) - a simply beautiful surreal fantasy from one of my favourite new short story discoveries. This one is sexy and delicious, with some gorgeous imagery.
"Marrying the Sun," Rachel Swirsky, Fantasy (July) - I'm late to the party on this one, but Ben blogged it and Jonathan picked it for his Year's best so I figured it was worth a read. This is a lovely fantasy story blending Greek mythology with contemporary characters, and it does it with a real vibrancy, black humour and a hint of cynicism.
ARAMINTA, OR, THE WRECK OF THE AMPHIDRAKE by Naomi Novik, Fast Ships, Black Sails - my favourite from this anthology (which sadly turned out to be less interesting overall than the buzz suggested), it's interesting to see Novik turn her writing chops to a female protagonist, and the "girl at sea" theme that proved so popular to the writers of this anthology is deftly handled.
"The New Deal," Trent Jamieson - Dreaming Again - a clever, gritty fantasy tale which lures the reader in with the mystery of what exactly is going on. One of those enigmatic stories that Jamieson can do so very well.
"The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga," Peter M Ball, Dreaming Again - I thought I was over pirate stories after the glut of them in recent times, but Ball has provided a sexy, charming and utterly sinister pageturner, about a crew of pirates who come ashore at an infamous brothel staffed by zombies.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, DARLINGS
(cough which is to say, December. Hee)