Award Thoughts – Short Story

I haven’t made my choice for best short story yet, so I thought I’d share my top contenders with you. I read around 40 issues of SFF magazines in 2016, as well as several anthologies and a couple dozen stories off the web.


I haven’t reviewed issue 125 of Space and Time Magazine yet, but I will as I finish my magazine quest.  My favorite story was “Jack Liberty’s Son” by DJ Cockburn.  It inspired me to purchase the author’s anthology Steel in the Morning, which I also plan to review.


I’ve read the first 3 issues of Cirsova magazine, and I’m reading issue 4 this week.  I’ve posted a review of issue 1.   (Cirsova is currently running a kickstarter to fund issues 5 and 6.)  It’s a tight race, but I’m leaning toward “A Hill of Stars” by fellow blogger Misha Burnett as my favorite Cirsova story.


Issue 1 of Red Sun Magazine only had four short stories, and I’m considering two of them for best short story of the year.  That tells you how much I loved this issue.  I felt like I was in the shoes of a character as I read “Taste the New Drug” by Rhoads Brazos, but one scene with sexual content, which I don’t enjoy in my SFF, makes me reluctant to choose the story.  “Paper Cut” by fellow blogger Aeryn Rudel grows on me the more I think about it.  If he ever decides to expand the story into a novel, I’ll pre-order a copy the day it’s listed.


The September 2016 issue of Perihelion had two stories I’m considering (you can read them free on the web).  I enjoyed the space pirate story “When it Comes Around” by Auston Habershaw, and the artificial intelligence story “Buddy” by Nolan Edrik.  I’ll definitely read more issues of Perihelion in the future.


Moving on to anthologies, fellow blogger C.S. Boyack‘s second experimental notebook, which I’ve reviewed, is a natural contender since I chose a story from his first notebook last year.  I haven’t decided on a favorite, although I seemed to enjoy the lighter, sillier stories more than the meatier ones this time around.


I haven’t written my review of Galactic Games yet, but here’s a sneak preview:  it has stories all across the 1-5 star spectrum.  If reprints were eligible for annual awards, then Mike Resnick’s “The Olympian” would be the story to beat.  With that story out of the running, I’m considering “Shooter Ready” by fellow blogger Larry Correia, and “For the Sake of the Game” by fellow blogger Gray Rinehart.

I originally planned to write a longer post with a list of honorable mentions, but I’m running short of time tonight, so I think I’ll stick with the real contenders.  Leave me a comment below, in an attempt to swing my vote.


  1. Thanks for the mention and ping.

    1. You’re welcome.

      I’m not sure how I’ll make my decision. I’ll either have to do some re-reading over the weekend, or roll some dice.

      1. Duck drop. Names on squares on a huge sheet of paper. Feed the duck and place him on the paper. Whereever he “drops” first is the winner.

  2. I’m glad you liked “A Hill Of Stars”. It was fun to write.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see what other people do with your setting in issue #5.

      1. It’s a broad mix of stories, with some interesting takes on the world.

  3. […] having trouble picking my favorite novel of 2016, just like I’m having trouble picking a short story.  I don’t have as many novels to choose from, so I’ve expanded my candidates to […]

  4. […] already posted my award thoughts concerning short stories, and the better novels I read last […]

  5. […] posted my thoughts about 2016 short stories, 2016 novels, and 2016 indie reading.  Many of the stories I mentioned could have been #1, but […]

  6. […] Jack Liberty’s Son by DJ Cockburn.  This story is set in England, I’m guessing around the Napoleonic era, and it has some nice little historic details, like surgeons acquiring the corpses of executed criminals, and some extremely brutal boxing matches.  There is some magic use, and a twist at the end that caught me off guard.  This story was a contender when I was choosing my favorite short story of 2016. […]

  7. […] When It Comes Around by Auston Habershaw.  A space pirate story, with some tension in the action, and a fun pirate-slang language.  The story reflects the short lifespan and bleak prospects of many real-life historical pirates.  Back in February, I considered nominating this story as the best of 2016. […]

  8. Etta Diaz · · Reply

    You can certainly see your expertise within the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

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