Read Some of the Best from 2014 by Ellen Datlow Carl Engle-Laird Liz Gorinsky David G. Hartwell Patrick Nielsen Hayden Peter Joseph Marco Palmieri Paul Stevens Online


A collection of some of the best original short fiction published on in 2014. Contents:As Good As New by Charlie Jane AndersThe End of the End of Everything by Dale BaileyMrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch by Kelly BarnhillSleep Walking Now and Then by Richard BowesDaughter of Necessity by Marie BrennanBrisk Money by Adam ChristopherA Cost-Benefit Analysis of the PropA collection of some of the best original short fiction published on in 2014. Contents:As Good As New by Charlie Jane AndersThe End of the End of Everything by Dale BaileyMrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch by Kelly BarnhillSleep Walking Now and Then by Richard BowesDaughter of Necessity by Marie BrennanBrisk Money by Adam ChristopherA Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade by John ChuThe Color of Paradox by A.M. DellamonicaThe Litany of Earth by Ruthanna EmrysA Kiss With Teeth by Max GladstoneA Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Starby Kathleen Ann GoonanCold Wind by Nicola GriffithThe Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana HeadleyWhere the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari JääskeläinenCombustion Hour by Yoon Ha LeeReborn by Ken LiuMidway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuireAngie by Daniel José OlderAnywayThe Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary RickertAn Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John ScalziUnlockedAmong the Thorns by Veronica SchanoesThe Insects of Love by Genevieve ValentineSleeper by Jo WaltonThe Devil in America by Kai Ashante WilsonIn the Sight of Akresa by Ray WoodA Cup of Salt Tearsby Isabel Yap...

Title : Some of the Best from 2014
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Some of the Best from 2014 Reviews

  • Mike
    2018-10-25 06:59

    I've had this on my Kindle for a while, having picked it up when it was free. I've delayed reading it, because I often don't like the stories published at impression, from reading the occasional one, is that they're darker than I prefer, and rely too often on standing back and pelting the characters with adversity to get an emotional reaction from the audience. Since it's probably the highest-paying market in SF, though, I wanted to get a better idea of what they publish. Possibly related to the fact that they pay 25c/word, I tended to feel that the pieces were often slightly over-written, with a high proportion of words to story. On the other hand, this leaves plenty of room to show the events affecting the characters. **** "As Good as New," Charlie Jane Anders: I' d read this before, and while I liked it, I didn't feel like rereading it. The old genie-wishes trope, but freshened up cleverly. "The End of the End of Everything," Dale Bailey: Skipped this, because I don't enjoy post-apocalyptic. *** "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch," Kelly Barnhill: A magic-realist piece without a great deal of story to it, but the atmosphere it created was enjoyable.** "Sleep Walking Now and Then," Richard Bowles: Didn't much like this dreary tale of a theatre production; filled with telling, and lacked a basic facility with commas. **** "Brisk Money," Adam Christopher: I was wary going into this one, having given up on the author's novel Empire State when it became way too violent way too early. This time, however, he held the violence until after I was already hooked, instead of before. It's a well-written noir detective story with a self-aware robot in the gumshoe role. Issues, though: 1. I saw the ending coming a mile away.2. The action the antagonist takes at the end seems incompatible with her goal of continuing to get away with what she's doing, because it would result in her exposure. 3. This is what I think of as a "retro story," one which could have been written in the 1960s (when it's set). Even though it's well done, I generally prefer my spec-fic to work forward from today, not 50 years ago.***** "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade," John Chu: A well-written, tense piece, which uses a wonderfully weird setting involving literalised metaphors as a background to a brilliant young man's struggles with his father's high expectations.**** "The Color of Paradox," A.M. Dellamonica: Felt like a part of a much larger story, in which brave Time Agents struggle against the effects of the Time Press and their own moral qualms to delay the destruction of the world. **** "The Litany of Earth," Ruthanna Emrys: Though it's based in the world of the Chthulhu Mythos, this avoids the overwrought language, and even the creeping horror, which is usually found in that subgenre and tells a story of a survivor of government persecution, explicitly parallel to the internment of the Japanese in World War II. She must make difficult and painful decisions in a situation with no good choices. Powerful.***** "A Kiss With Teeth," Max Gladstone: Writing at his best (as in his first novel), Max Gladstone is amazing, and fortunately that's what we get here. (I didn't care for his second novel nearly as much.) Genuine suspense as a monster struggles to become something more for the sake of the people he has come to love. *** "A Short History of the Twentieth Century, Or, When You Wish Upon a Star," Kathleen Ann Goonan: Signals early on that it's going to entwine several 20th-century phenomena: the Nazi rocket scientists taken from Peenemunde to form the basis of the US space program; Walt Disney; the 1960s counterculture; the change in the status of women during the latter part of the century. While it does entwine them competently, the resulting story didn't speak to me as much as I might have wished, perhaps because I wasn't immersed enough in the main character's viewpoint.**** "Cold Wind," Nicola Griffith: An ancient hunt plays out in a contemporary city. Well-written and atmospheric. **** "The Tallest Doll in New York City," Maria Dahvana Headley: Told in a style similar to Damon Runyon's (with past events referred to in the present tense), a style I have a personal fondness for, and which is harder than it looks. A lovely piece of magic realism, in which buildings and other objects come alive in New York City on a Valentine's Day in the 1930s. ** "Where the Trains Turn," Pasi Ilmari Jaskääläinen: I gave up partway through this one, which I felt was far too long and wordy for the amount of story I was getting (or how much I cared about the characters). The English is fluent, but not always idiomatic. *** "Combustion Hour," Yoon Ha Lee: Would, I'm sure, have worked a lot better for me if I was familiar with the conventions of Asian shadow puppets. As it was, I found it difficult to follow. ***** "Reborn," Ken Liu: Liu specialises in stories which place people in difficult situations where their loyalties are divided because of personal connection, and this is one such, though, happily, lacking his trademark infodumping. The particular combination of loyalties and difficulties could only be achieved in SF. **** "Midway Relics and Dying Breeds," Seanan McGuire: A somewhat cynical story set in a postcapitalist utopia which, as the narrator notes, couldn't actually be a utopia because people. I found it hard to consider the world-weary young protagonist as less selfish or less dangerous than the antagonist. It earns its fourth star because it's well done, though I didn't love it.**** "Anyway: Angie," Daniel José Older: Creepy and effective, with hints of postapocalyptic. Even though I don't especially enjoy damaged protagonists in gritty settings, it was compelling enough for four stars. **** "The Mothers of Voorhisville," Mary Rickert: A little too long and with a few too many characters to keep track of, but a haunting exploration of the many things that motherhood can mean. I'd call it magic realism, because the inexplicable thing that happens never is explained, it just triggers events.*** "Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome," John Scalzi: I read this on when it first came out, and my review is here: Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome. Like the other Scalzi pieces I've read, it runs the gamut from average all the way to competent; every character sounds the same, and nothing is described. "Among the Thorns," Veronica Schanoes: Starts straight into the torture in the first sentence, and keeps it up for... I'm not sure how long, since I bailed after a page and a half. *** "The Insects of Love," Genevieve Valentine: One of those extended-metaphor stories that Connie Willis does, where there's a lot of information about some obscure area of knowledge, and somehow that relates to the story and the characters. Not my favourite style, but the author does it well. What she doesn't ever do is resolve the mystery of why the narrator keeps experiencing nonlinear alternate pasts. *** "Sleeper," Jo Walton: I felt this one needed more development, unlike most of the pieces in the book, which are, if anything, overwritten. It's a good concept (in a corporate-dominated future, a simulation of a man from the 20th century who may have been a Communist sleeper agent is convinced by his biographer to influence people towards revolution), but it gets to the end of the exposition and stops. **** "The Devil in America," Kai Ashante Wilson: Had me well drawn in by the time it got tragic, so I stayed. It got very tragic, as a tale of how blacks have been treated by whites in the American South is inevitably going to do. There's a postmodern thing where there are interpolations from (or supposedly from) the author's father, some of which comment on its status as a story and how the author is telling the story. For me, these detracted a lot more than they added. I'd file this under "well done, important, but harrowing"."In the Sight of Akresa," Ray Wood: Another one that starts straight into the cruelty before establishing anything else, so I again bailed out immediately.**** "A Cup of Salt Tears," Isabel Yap: A quiet, reflective piece about love and loss and saving what you love. So now that I've read the collection, how has my view of stories changed? Yes, they're filled with powerful, dark emotion, loss, terror, and all the rest, which is not what I primarily look for in fiction; I prefer something lighter. At the same time, they're often (not always) extremely well written, and the powerful emotion is often (not always) a genuine effect arising out of the premise, rather than a gimmick to draw attention. They range widely, from clear SF to magic realism via urban fantasy, but if there's one thing they usually avoid, it's tired genre tropes. They often take us to cultures and experiences that aren't those of white men, which I appreciate (despite being a white man; I read SFF because it takes me to other conceptual spaces, after all). I probably won't read another collection of them, as a matter of personal taste, but I appreciate them as well done.

  • **✿❀ Maki ❀✿**
    2018-11-21 11:05

    As Good as New - Charlie Jane Anders. It's a story of post-apocalyptic wishes gone wrong, and a playwright/surgeon.The End of the End of Everything - Dale Bailey. Another post-apocalyptic story, but where As Good as New was hopeful about the world being saved, The End of the End of Everything just accepts that humanity is doomed. Mrs Sorensen and the Sasquatch - Kelly Barnhill. It's full of Sasquatch lovin'.Sleep Walking Now and Then - Richard Bowes. I liked the idea of interactive plays, and the history was kind of interesting...but otherwise, there wasn't much in this story for me.Daughter of Necessity - Marie Brennan. An examination of Penelope's role in The Odyssey. There is a lot of weaving and unweaving.Brisk Money - Adam Christopher. I really liked this one. Noir is always hit or miss for me, but I enjoyed the sci-fi play on the genre. A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade - John Chu. I wasn't expecting to like this one very much, based on that insane title. It pleasantly surprised me, though. There's lots of neat imagery.The Color of Paradox - A.M. Dellamonica. I swear, the only thing I could think about while reading this one was 12 Monkeys.The Litany of Earth - Ruthanna Emrys. I do love me a good Lovecraft-fic.A Kiss with Teeth - Max Gladstone. I liked the ideas the story tackled, and the twist on the "mid-life crisis affair".A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or When You Wish Upon a Star - Kathleen Ann Goonan. WWII, Disney, the space program, and feminism, all rolled up into one.Cold Wind - Nicola Griffith. The story itself wasn't very complex, but I loved the imagery in the story, and the cold, end of the year feelings that it invoked.The Tallest Doll in New York City Maria Dahvana Headley. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell just happened.Where the Trains Turn - Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. If it weren't for the way the mother handled every single situation in the first half of the story, this would have easily been a full five star read for me. I just can't quite get over how insanely dedicated to eradicating anything remotely related to fantasy she was. Poor, poor Rupert.Combustion Hour - Yoon Ha Lee. The imagery is gorgeous. That's about all it did for me, though.Reborn - Ken Liu. This one confused me a bit. The anthology really only contains the first part of The Anderson Project, which is the story "Reborn", by Ken Liu. The title page for this section, though, makes it seem like there are actually three stories.Midway Relics and Dying Breeds - Seanan McGuire. Dinosaurs and carnies.Anyway: Angie - Daniel José Older. I'm not quite sure what's going on. But there are prostitutes. And cockroaches. And cultists.The Mothers of Voorhisville - Mary Rickert. It mostly just left me wanting that final book in The Great and Secret Show series.Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome - John Scalzi. I don't normally like sci-fi stories with terrifying diseases of the future, but this one was really well done.Among the Thorns - Veronica Schanoes. It's a revengequel!The Insects of Love - Genevieve Valentine. The writing is very pretty, but it doesn't really go anywhere.Sleeper - Jo Walton. The story plays on perceptions, but it's incredibly short.The Devil in America - Kai Ashante Wilson. Folk magic mixed with tragic racial relations, with a depressing end result.In the Sight of Akresa - Ray Wood. A beautiful love story that ends in betrayal.A Cup of Salt Tears - Isabel Yap. Forget being the first modern story I've read with a kappa - this is also the first romance I've read with a kappa.

  • Shel
    2018-11-16 08:03

    Nice little collection, and it was a free download! Some I loved, a few didn't really do it for me. I read them all except the Scalzi story, because it looks like a prequel to Lock In, which I'm hoping to read first and then. One back to the story.

  • Julie
    2018-11-04 08:18

    So I finally finished it, with just 4 days left of the year to go!! I've talked about this before, but I have a perpetual problem with anthologies, in which the stop-and-start pace and unknown quality of the writing means it takes me much longer to get through them -- I'll tear through a story that I love, but then be disappointed that it's over already. I'll drag my heels through a story that I hate, then I'll be quietly wary to start the next one, because I'm not sure what awaits me. It's not the same as hunkering down with a novel that proves itself to me and I love and that I then get to inhale for 500 pages. Single-author collected stories work better for me in that at least I know I'm a fan of the author, and there's relatively consistent style throughout.The Tor collection is maybe a little more reliable because they're the 'best of', although there are still a few duds for me. That said, I love Tor shorts in general, so when this collection was good, it was REALLY good, and I'll definitely read subsequent collections -- although I'm not sure if I'll do the thing where I review every story via status update, because jeez that got draining quickly.I also increasingly realise that I'm just so damned picky about short stories; I want them to have a definite beginning, middle, and end, and likely some sort of twist or "OHHH SNAP" or conclusive moment towards the end. Unless you're explicitly tying into a bigger work (like the Lock In story), I really hate it when your story just reads like a snippet of a bigger story, an unfinished tale, the first chapter of a novel. It needs to be able to stand on its own -- don't just peter out, man. It felt like quite a few stories here hit on my own personal peeves in these regards, just reading like a small glimpse of an overarching story rather than something complete and standalone.There were also a few interestingly unexpected recurring motifs in this collection, femmeslash & midcentury settings -- or maybe I just noticed them more because I love those things. BUT YEAH it was cool.Best of the best in my personal opinion, but in no particular order:- Brisk Money by Adam Christopher- The Color of Paradox by A.M. Dellamonica- The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys- Where the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen- Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome by John Scalzi- Sleeper by Jo WaltonAlso good stories:- A Kiss With Teeth by Max Gladstone- Reborn by Ken Liu- Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire- Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes- The Insects of Love by Genevieve Valentine- In the Sight of Akresa by Ray WoodIt's a solid collection, but I wouldn't recommend going through it from beginning to end like I did; I would just hone in on the ones above. If you want thoughts on specific stories, they're all in my status updates below!

  • Masanobu
    2018-11-06 13:06

    Gut rating, i.e. the rating I feel it should get: 4 starsAverage rating for the stories: 3.15 starsThis anthology, as any other short story collection out there, is a mixed bag. A 3-star rating would be just, since it includes stories I hated or disliked and stories I enjoyed and loved. However, there is a discrepancy between what would be the average rating and what I feel this collection deserves. I really, really liked this. It honestly felt like a 4-star book, which I guess means the good stories outweigh the bad ones: there is great fantasy and sci-fi here. It's diverse, imaginative, and represents a wide range of women and men and everything in between. And it has been terrible for the state of my TBR pile, which is always a good sign!If I had to choose a top three, I'd include:- Among the Thorns (Veronica Schanoes)- Where the Trains Turn (Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen)- Reborn (Ken Liu)Some of the stories that I enjoyed because they packed a big emotional punch were:- In the Sight of Akresa (Ray Wood)- The Insects of Love (Genevieve Valentine), though I had to read it twice to fully get it!- The Mothers of Voorhisville (Mary Rickert)- The Color of Paradox (A.M. Dellamonica)And some others that I enjoyed and wanted to highlight just because they're very good:- Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome (John Scalzi)- Brisk Money (Adam Christopher)- Midway Relics and Dying Breeds (Seanan McGuire)- Daughter of Necessity (Marie Brennan)And the best thing is that all of them are free on!

  • Carol
    2018-10-31 10:02

    Charlie Jane Andrews "As Good as New": Clever tale about the end of the world and a genie in a bottle. ****Dale Bailey "The End of the End of Everything": Super depressing end of the world story- written extremely well but the characters are people I sure as hell wouldn't be hanging out with in that situation. *** three stars only because of those damned awful characters.Kelly Barnhill "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch" Erm, I'm not really sure what the author was trying to say: pro-animal, equality for all? To me, it was just a bit too silly, but it was sweet. **1/2Richard Bowes "Sleep Walking Now and Then": Dear lord, this story needs an editor. It is like listening to someone tell me their dream. Not sure I'll be able to finish it, but I'll try. Okay, I finished it. The idea wasn't half bad, but the writing was awful. *Marie Brennan "Daughter of Necessity": I haven't read the Odyssey, but I sure want to now. Delightful. ****Adam Christopher "Brisk Money": Loved this one. Noir w/robot memory. *****John Chu "A Cost-Benefit Analysis...": WTH? He was trying waaaay to hard **A.M. Dellamonica "The Color of Paradox": I always wanted to see more colors. Interesting time-travel tale. ***Ruthanna Emrys "The Litany of the Earth": Maybe if I had read Lovecraft I would have enjoyed this more. **Max Gladstone "A Kiss with Teeth": Terrific new spin on a vampire (and his family) ***1/2Kathleen Ann Goonan "A Short History....": The ending was weirdly rushed. **Nicola Griffith "Cold Wind": Very cool. ****Maria Dahvana Headley "The Tallest Doll in NY": A humorous tale of buildings in love. **1/2Pasi I. Jaaskelainen "Where the Trains Turn": Reminds me of Jo Walton's "My Real Children". (I had to ask the group "What is the name of that book?" as I couldn't remember the Walton). Anyway I quite enjoyed it and would like to read more from this author. *** Yoon Ha Lee "Combustion Hour": Maybe because I'm really tired, I couldn't get into it and skipped it.Ken Liu "Reborn": Excellent - wiped memories, xenophobia, aliens. ****I'll finish reviewing the rest another day.

  • Tomislav
    2018-11-08 09:17

    I downloaded this free ebook anthology of science fiction and short stories, novelettes, and novellas for kindle. I have previously read the 2011 and 2012 anthologies, but this one is over double those in size. 28 stories. 719 pages according to goodreads, although the concept of a page is somewhat problematic.Some of these have been nominated for a 2015 Nebula award; the winners have not yet been announced.Sleep Walking Now and Then, by Richard Bowes (novelette)The Mothers of Voorhisville, by Mary Rickert (novella)The Devil in America, by Kai Ashanti Wilson (novelette)There were no Hugo nominees as in past years, but this is the year that the Hugo nominations have been dominated by right-wing block voting, so that's probably not surprising. and that group are at odds.The nature of the stories varies, as does the quality of writing, but I did find a few gems, and not necessarily the award nominees. The stories I found best were these three:A Short History of the Twentieth Century, by Kathleen Ann Goonan, is a retrospective biography of an engineer growing up in the 1950s and 60s, engagingly covering the inspirations of her times and her parents, as well as the twists and turns of her non-academic life, culminating in a news article that subtly conveys the realization of her dreams. I strongly identified with the main character.Reborn, by Ken Liu, is a first person account of a human who has been given rebirth in a Judgement Ship on a future Earth governed by aliens. Only slowly do we realize that other humans do not view his situation in the same light that he himself does, as gradually he learns of his life prior to rebirth.The Mothers of Voorhisville, by Mary Rickert, is an initially hilarious story of the impregnation of many women in one small town by a visiting stranger, through rotating first person accounts of the mothers. By the end of the novella, the humor has crossed over into horror, but I never lost fascination with the extremes to which events lead. The illustrations complement the story well. I have yet to read the 2013 anthology, but it's downloaded and ready.

  • Al Menaster
    2018-11-16 10:57

    Some good stories but many bad ones.

  • Julia O'Connell
    2018-11-09 07:57

    Finally got around to finishing's quite long. The book is a collection of a large number of sci-fi & fantasy stories. Some of the stories are absolutely amazing, and others...less so. One of my favorite stories was called "A Kiss With Teeth" by Max Gladstone--a really cute story about a vampire trying to be a normal father. I also really enjoyed "Unlocked: And Oral History of Haden's Syndrome" by John Scalzi which basically read like World War Z meets I-Robot.Others I enjoyed included:-"The Mothers of Voorhisville" by Mary Rickert-"In the Site for Akresa" by Ray Wood-"Daughter of Necessity" by Marie Brennan Some of the stories were a bit too cerebral or too surreal...or just too out there. "A Cost-Venefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the overhaul of the Barricade" was kind of interesting, but the premise was just far too complex to be properly set up in the limited space of a short story. I spent the first third of it trying to even wrap my head around what was going on before I could get invested. "Where the Trains Turn" by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskeleainen was some weird surreal thing with no real plot about trains that come alive. This one was part of the reason why it took me so long to finish this book, because I put the book down for months while in the middle of it, uninterested in finishing. My recommendation: If you're finding yourself uninterested in one of the stories, just skip it. There are far too many stories in this book to obsess over finishing each one just for the sake of completion. And you don't need to muddle through the ones you don't like just to get to the gems. Brief summary for my own benefit and others:"As Good as New" by Charlie Jane Anders--post-apocalyptic, last woman alive kind of thing, but things take an interesting turn when she finds a genie"The End of the End of Everything" by Dale Bailey--trippy futuristic world where the social elite are obsessed with suicide and self-mutilation"Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch" by Kelly Barnhill--love story between a woman and a sasquatch"Sleep Walking Now and Then" by Richard Bowes--Futuristic director creates interactive theater piece in a hotel"Daughter of Necessity" by Marie Brennan--A retelling of part of the Odyssey from Penelope's persective"Brisk Money" by Adam Christopher--A robot who has his memories erased each day begins to question his past actions and secret motivations"A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade" by John Chu--rather complicated story about architects who build things with their minds"The Color of Paradox" by A.M. Dellamonica--government agents on time travel mission"The Litany of the Earth" by Ruthanna Emrys--involves the Cthulhu mythos, about a girl who is part of a persecuted religious/supernatural group that worships the Deep Ones"A Kiss with Teeth" by Max Gladstone--cute feel good story about a vampire dad"A Short History of the Twentieth Century..." by Kathleen Ann Goonan--The life story of a girl who grows up obsessed with astronauts and the Tomorrowland ride at Disney"Cold Wind" by Nicola Griffith--A lesbian woman encounters a succubus-type creature, but she has some supernatural secrets of her own"The Tallest Doll in New York City" by Maria Dahvana Headley--Buildings come alive and find love. It's weird. "Where the Trains Turn" by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen--surreal thing about sentient trains that come of the tracks and the strained relationship between a train-obsessed boy and his straight-laced mother"Combustion Hour" by Yoon Ha Lee--Another surreal thing about the characters who live inside a tapestry"Reborn" by Ken Liu--about the complex political and interspersonal relationships between humans and the dominating alien race"Midway Relics and Dying Breeds" by Seanan McGuire--A travelling circus set in the future"Anyway: Angie" by Daniel Jose Older--a chauffeur discovers something terrible has been happening to the sex workers she transports"The Mothers of Voorhisville" by Mary Rickert--One summer, almost all of the women in this small town get pregnant at once by a mysterious stranger"Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome" by John Scalzi--A disease spreads that leaves many trapped in their own bodies, which leads to the creation of robot surrogates"Among the Thorns" by Veronica Shanoes--A Jewish girl takes revenge on the man who killed her father and the town that let it happen"The Insects of Love" by Genevieve Valentine--A girl's love of butterflies and search for her missing sister"Sleeper" Jo Walton--A biographer discovers (or recreates?) the fact that one of her heroes was a secret Communist agent"The Devil in America" by Kai Ashante Wilson--A young black girl struggles to resist her families nature magic and the alluring promises of the Devil"In the Sight of Akresa" by Ray Wood--set in an exotic past, a royal woman falls in love with a tongue-less former slave"A Cup of Salt Tears" by Isabel Yap--the relationship between a grieving woman and a kappa who haunts the hot springs

  • Joel Neff
    2018-11-18 05:58

    As Good As New by Charlie Jane Anders— Really charming take on both the end of the world and the genie in the bottle. 4/5The End of the End of Everything by Dale Bailey— Fascinating look at the end times and whether art for art’s sake is enough to make life worth living in the face of the end. 5/5Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch by Kelly Barnhill— This was fun. Kind of a Circe for modern times, only with acceptance instead of revenge as the theme. 4/5Sleep Walking Now and Then by Richard Bowes— Loved the tone and atmosphere of the piece; liked the exploration of the future of live theater. Thought the actual story was a little slow and a tad obvious. 3/5Daughter of Necessity by Marie Brennan— Reworking of a classic with a POV shift. Didn’t really work for me, mainly because I’m not a fan of the original story. 3/5Brisk Money by Adam Christopher— Ooh. I really liked this one. A robot detective and his partner the mainframe that stores his memories. And there’s just this one little problem… 5/5A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade by John Chu— Fantastic world building, like a mix between high desert fantasy and math camp. Lovely story, well told. 5/5The Color of Paradox by A.M. Dellamonica— Great time travel story. Sometimes you have to change the past, whether you want to or not. 5/5The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys— Lovely, atmospheric story of the Great, Old Ones and those who keep their histories. 4/5A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone— Quite possibly the best re-working of the vampire’s tale I’ve ever read, and certainly one of the few to give me actual chills. 5/5A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star by Kathleen Ann Goonanan— Lovely story about a girl who wants to ride a rocket to the moon. 5/5Cold Wind by Nicola Griffith— The last god left finds new prey in the heart of Seattle. 3/5The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley— I love this story. It’s about New York, and guys and dolls and is just magic. 5/5Where the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen— Hmm. Fascinating and heartbreaking by turns, but a bit too long. 4/5Combustion Hour by Yoon Ha Lee— Incredible world-building, a little light on plot. 4/5Reborn by Ken Liu— Life after the aliens win the war is tricky, memories even more so. 4/5Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire— The future of the circus is high tech, but some things can't change; a story about running away. Really good. 5/5Anyway: Angie by Daniel Jose Older— Noir-ish, atmospheric story about a bodyguard and the saves she makes and those she couldn't. 4/5The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert— Took a little bit to get into, but ended up being a really interesting story about the power of the group against the unknown. 4/5Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi— I love a good oral history, and this one, for a fictional disease with some scary real-world analogues was really good. 4/5Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes— A tale of revenge set amidst Jewish folklore and medieval Germany. Good. 4/5The Insects of Love by Genevieve Valentine— Not sure I got this one. It’s time travel and subjective reality, but it’s also about insects and those bits are really cool. 3/5Sleeper by Jo Walton— The revolution will be simulated and sent out in the form of books for the masses. 3/5The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson— Story about race relations in America; things haven’t changed, not even with the old Africa magic. 4/5In the Sight of Akresa by Ray Wood— Tragic love story about a betrayal through silence, forced and otherwise. Beautiful. 4/5A Cup of Salt Tears by Isabel Yap— Bittersweet story of a woman and the kappa who loved her. 4/5

  • Spiegel
    2018-11-10 06:03

    There were a few stories that I didn't like at all, but overall, a nice collection. As Good as New - Charlie Jane Anders.Nice, but didn't really stick to my memory.The End of the End of Everything - Dale Bailey.Depressing, but that's it. Mrs Sorensen and the Sasquatch - Kelly Barnhill. This was sweet and funny at times, but it frustrates me a bit that it's a story about a magical woman seen from a distance, instead of her being the actual protagonist.Sleep Walking Now and Then - Richard Bowes. I think it's missing something, just like the play.Daughter of Necessity - Marie Brennan. Excellent retelling.Brisk Money - Adam Christopher. I liked this a lot, it was so clever as "technoir", but I've a feeling that there's a plothole in how the tech works. A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade - John Chu. This was one of a couple of stories that I think don't work so well for me because I'm not a visual reader.The Color of Paradox - A.M. Dellamonica. I liked this one. The Litany of Earth - Ruthanna Emrys. An excellent story that I'd already read on Tor's site. I'd love to read more stories in this version of Lovecraft's universe. A Kiss with Teeth - Max Gladstone. I remember reading this on the website. I like the ending.A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or When You Wish Upon a Star - Kathleen Ann Goonan. This was too mainstream for my taste. I'd probably cry my eyes out if I read parts of this in someone's autobiography.Cold Wind - Nicola Griffith. I liked this a lot.The Tallest Doll in New York City Maria Dahvana Headley.Weird.Where the Trains Turn - Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. The thing with the trains was really creepy and the plot is good, but the narrator is utterly unlikeable, even if she has reasons. Combustion Hour - Yoon Ha Lee. Another story where I think I'd get more if I pictured things as I read. Still, nice.Reborn - Ken Liu. I'd already read this on Tor's site and liked it a lot. I was struck by how alien the aliens are, even though I can intellectually understand them.Midway Relics and Dying Breeds - Seanan McGuire. This was nice. I'd like to see the anime version of this.Anyway: Angie - Daniel José Older.This seems like a part of a bigger story.The Mothers of Voorhisville - Mary Rickert. The entire plot depends on nobody talking to anybody, including the men. If these people aren't under a spell, they're incredibly stupid.Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome - John Scalzi. I'm curious to read the novel now.Among the Thorns - Veronica Schanoes. Very nice retelling/sequel.The Insects of Love - Genevieve Valentine.I liked this.Sleeper - Jo Walton. Another story that seemed a part of something bigger.The Devil in America - Kai Ashante Wilson. There's a subplot that I think should have been either expanded or cut entirely.In the Sight of Akresa - Ray Wood. Another unlikeable narrator and not enough SF for me.A Cup of Salt Tears - Isabel Yap. This was very lovely.

  • G33z3r
    2018-11-01 06:59

    Always enjoyable stories from's "Reborn" uses a revamped world after an alien conquest to look at the role of memory in who we are. Where PK Dick's "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (Total Recall) looked at adding false memories be the same as having actually done/experienced it, Liu considers whether if no one, including yourself, remembers your bad acts, are you absolved of guilt? And if you know you won't remember doing something, is it worth doing? Are we the sum of what we've done? Or, just the sum of what we remember? As usual, Liu has put together a remarkable human story. *****Anders' "As Good As New" is really entertaining. It's got the end of the world, multiple times, plus a genie (please, "wish facilitator".) ****"A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star" isn't especially science fiction, has an emphasis on feminism, and is a really engaging story spanning 1950-1970.I thought Bowes' "Sleep Walking Then & Now" was an okay story, but other than being published on I can't figure out why it's considered science fiction or fantasy (or even which of those it's supposed to be!) A producer is putting on a new play in New York, an historical murder mystery from the late 1800's, and it's being performed in the very same hotel where the original events occurred. There is both an outer story and the play within the story as it introduced an eclectic cast for the play as each pursues his or her own goals. In some ways it reminded me of the one-set plays Deathtrap and even a bit of Sleuth. I kind of enjoyed the way it hung Chekhov's elevator shaft over the mantle and then didn't actually use it. ***I liked Johnson's "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i" a little better on re-read. It reads well, nicely paced. It's not an action story, more a character study. It's about collaboration with the enemy (who in this case, happen to be vampires), warring desire to survive versus fight, the nature of courage? I thought it was put together pretty well. ***I thought "Devil in America" was an so-so supernatural story (not my favorite style, but good enough.) It's one of those "the Devil comes to visit with the deal you can't refuse" stories mixed with an old though apparently unrelated family curse. (I'm not sure the to really work together to complement each other all that well.) It drives the story with the premise of white people like shooting black people, specifically citing the horrific Ku Klux Klan raids of the primary time period (1870s). Bracketing annotation relates it to current events (of which we could write I'm even more recent annotation.) What's the take away to that? The Devil made them do it? BTW, I think Eliabeth Bear's "Chance Planet" **** should have made this collection, too.

  • Jim
    2018-11-10 13:14

    Certainly the right price, it was available for free from Tor here:“As Good As New”by Charlie Jane Anders (Short Story) 4 stars. Short & very good.“The End of the End of Everything”by Dale Bailey (Novelette): 3 stars. Pretty horrible, but how would I spend my time at the end of everything?“Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch”by Kelly Barnhill (Short Story) 3 stars. Fun, short fantasy story with a air of the fairy tale about it, even though it's set in the present day.“Sleep Walking Now and Then”by Richard Bowes (Novelette) - didn't grab me at all. 2 days later & I had to look it up to remember it.“Daughter of Necessity”by Marie Brennan (Short Story) 4 stars since I'm a sucker for the The Odyssey of Homer. This was a retelling of just a bit of the end, but very well done.“Brisk Money”by Adam Christopher (Novelette) 3 stars, an interesting detective/computer story.“A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade”by John Chu (Short Story) 3 stars. Might have been better if I still used mind altering chemicals. As it was, it was an interesting trip while reading lunch. “The Color of Paradox”by A.M. Dellamonica (Short Story)“The Litany of Earth”by Ruthanna Emrys (Novelette)“A Kiss With Teeth”by Max Gladstone (Short Story) “A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star”by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Novelette)“Cold Wind”by Nicola Griffith (Short Story)“The Tallest Doll in New York City”by Maria Dahvana Headley (Short Story)“Where the Trains Turn”by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Novella)“Combustion Hour”by Yoon Ha Lee (Short Story)“Reborn”by Ken Liu (Novelette)“Midway Relics and Dying Breeds”by Seanan McGuire (Novelette)“Anyway: Angie”by Daniel José Older (Short Story)“The Mothers of Voorhisville”by Mary Rickert (Novella)“Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome”by John Scalzi (Novella)“Among the Thorns”by Veronica Schanoes (Novelette)“The Insects of Love”by Genevieve Valentine (Novelette)“Sleeper” by Jo Walton(Short Story)“The Devil in America”by Kai Ashante Wilson (Novelette)“In the Sight of Akresa”by Ray Wood (Novelette)“A Cup of Salt Tears”by Isabel Yap (Short Story)I forgot to keep up with this, but finished it months ago.

  • Katherine
    2018-11-01 05:20

    This collection of short stories and novellas is one of the best anthologies I've ever read. The fact that it was free made it all the more enticing - who doesn't love free books? This sort of thing is why I love ebooks; a collection like this in hardcopy would be completely unwieldy and intimidating, but as an ebook collection it works perfectly. Each of the stories merits a review of its own, which I will post individually to benefit their authors. Some of my favorites were the following: The End of the End of Everything by Dale BaileyWhen the end is inevitable, what will the human race do? Cower in fear, or desperately run away in vain hope for a solution? Hell no. We'll throw an end of the world party. The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna EmrysA deeply thoughtful exploration of the Lovecraftian universe, years later.A Kiss With Teeth by Max GladstoneSo many authors have written vampire romances, but none has been so real, so honest, or so ordinary as this one. I fell in love with it, and that's saying something, as I usually hate the genre. A Short History of the Twentieth Centuryby Kathleen Ann GoonanThis is a story I will read to my daughter, if I ever have one. I love the framework of the history surrounding the life and dreams of this girl. Bravo.Where the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari JaaskelainenThis story was eerie and heartbreaking, and spectacular. The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary RickertI feel like this one can and should be expanded into a full novel. There are a bunch of interesting characters and viewpoints, and I think it would be interesting to explore the story in more depth, as well as the effects of their decision afterwards. The Devil in Americaby Kai Ashante WilsonAn interesting supernatural/magical setting. I have not read many that use african magic in this way, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even if it made me horribly sad. A Cup of Salt Tears by Isabel YapLiving in Korea, and having visited Japan, the setting of this story was incredibly real to me. I loved how it dealt with multiple difficult themes, and I was both attracted and repelled by the beast. This story had a similar feel to a Miyazaki movie. Beyond the few I've mentioned here, this collection is absolutely worth downloading (for free!) and it can be read from cover to cover, or dipped into now and then. Since I finished it, I have not stopped recommending it to my friends. Spectacular.

  • Dan'l Danehy-oakes
    2018-11-19 07:53

    Unthemed, multi-author collections of stories are difficult to review, and this is no exception. There wasn't a story in it that I didn't enjoy. A couple creeped me out successfully, and a couple moved me deeply. But I can't bring myself to give it five stars, and I'm not sure why.Ellen Datlow (if this wasn't already obvious) is a talented, skilled editor who finds stories worth reading and puts them in front of the public. She has gathered here, as I understand it, stories first published on the website during the year 2014. (I'm not 100% sure because there's no introduction to the collection.) The stories range from straight horror to straight science fiction with fantasy, urban fantasy, and the weird along the way. Of particular note:Dale Bailey's "The End of the End of Everything" is an end-of-the-world story unlike any I have ever read. Almost anything else I could say would be spoily.John Chu's "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade" is a tale set in a reality so weird I never quite understood its rules, but the story works despite of - or maybe because of - that.Katherine Ann Goonan's "A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star" manages to combine a history of the US Space Program, Cold War paranoia, Disneyland, all with a very personal story.Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen's "Where the Trains Turn" is one of the creepiest damn things I've ever read, a sort of Stephen King meets Kafka kind of vibe, about a woman who has lost her child many times and in many ways.And Mary Rickert's "The Mothers of Voorhisville," equally creepy, is also about mothers who lose their children, but in a very different way.John Scalzi's "Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome" looks like working notes for his novel _Unlocked,_ which I haven't read. But they are _interesting_ working notes, about an entirely plausible plague.Singling these stories out as the best of "some of the best" doesn't mean that the others aren't good. They are. The whole thing is good. If I could give it four-and-a-half stars I would. But I can't, so four it is.

  • Francesca
    2018-11-20 09:16

    - “As Good As New” by Charlie Jane Anders (Short Story): 4-4.5/5- “The End of the End of Everything” by Dale Bailey (Novelette): 2.5-3/5- “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch” by Kelly Barnhill (Short Story): 2.5/5- “Sleep Walking Now and Then” by Richard Bowes (Novelette): 2.5/5- “Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan (Short Story): 3.5-4/5- “Brisk Money” by Adam Christopher (Novelette): 3.5/5- “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade” by John Chu (Short Story): 2.5-3/5- “The Color of Paradox” by A.M. Dellamonica (Short Story): 4/5- “The Litany of Earth” by Ruthanna Emrys (Novelette): 4-4.5/5- “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone (Short Story): 3/5- “A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star” by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Novelette): 2.5-3/5- “Cold Wind” by Nicola Griffith (Short Story): 4.5-5/5- “The Tallest Doll in New York City” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Short Story): 4/5- “Where the Trains Turn” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Novella): 4-4.5/5- “Combustion Hour” by Yoon Ha Lee (Short Story): 4-4.5/5- “Reborn” by Ken Liu (Novelette): 4.5/5- “Midway Relics and Dying Breeds” by Seanan McGuire (Novelette): 3.5/5- “Anyway: Angie” by Daniel José Older (Short Story): 3/5- “The Mothers of Voorhisville” by Mary Rickert (Novella): 2.5/5- “Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome” by John Scalzi (Novella): 2.5-3/5- “Among the Thorns” by Veronica Schanoes (Novelette): 4-4.5/5− “The Insects of Love” by Genevieve Valentine (Novelette): 4.5/5- “Sleeper” by Jo Walton (Short Story): 3.5/5- “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Novelette): 4-4.5/5- “In the Sight of Akresa” by Ray Wood (Novelette): 4.5/5- “A Cup of Salt Tears” by Isabel Yap (Short Story): 4-4.5/5

  • Margot
    2018-11-17 11:16

    There were some really really great stories in this collection, including:As Good as New by Charlie Jane AndersThe End of the End of Everything by Dale BaileyBrisk Money by Adam ChristopherUnlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome by John ScalziThere were also a couple very painful ones as well, which often caused me to set down the book for months at a time, including: A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star by Kathleen Ann GoonanCombustion Hour by Yoon Ha LeeWhere the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (I have mixed feelings about this one, but it really did slow me down.)Overall, though, this was a great and wide-ranging collection of sci-fi and fantasy short stories.

  • Peter
    2018-10-22 08:22

    This is an ebook collection of what the editor thinks were some of the best stories published on in 2014. Any short story book is a mixed bag. But in this one, it generally felt unsuited to my tastes. Mainly, there wasn't enough SF, compared to fantasy. There were some stories that I didn't see any value in, and a number of others where the style seemed to be the point rather than the story, too many stories that I'd call 'fables' (which I like even less than fantasy), and too many that were just about romantic relationships with supernatural creatures. Nothing wrong with that in principle (and if it was aliens or robots I might even enjoy it), it's just Not My Thing and I found myself rolling my eyes and saying, "ANOTHER one?" And there were stories that were published on in 2014 that I liked a lot more than most of the ones here, that were missing from the anthology. So clearly the editor's tastes does not especially match mine.Still, there were a few that I enjoyed to some noteworthy degree: “Brisk Money” by Adam Christopher “The Color of Paradox” by A.M. Dellamonica“The Litany of Earth” by Ruthanna Emrys“Reborn” by Ken Liu“Midway Relics and Dying Breeds” by Seanan McGuire “Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome” by John Scalzi “Sleeper” by Jo Walton Of them, I think perhaps Liu, Dellamonica, and Emrys wrote the standouts. If the book was just these, I'd probably raise it to 4, if it was these and a few of the ones I don't like, a safe 3, but because, on balance, I felt outweighed by stories where the reading was something of a chore, so I'll leave it at 2.

  • Mark
    2018-10-28 11:09

    The stories in this collection were generally well-written and interesting, but after the first few I found myself growing listless and skipping stories that didn't catch my attention within the first few paragraphs. It seems like most of the stories are dystopian in nature--forgoing conflict for a general sense of doom and it's impact on the characters in the story. While I don't necessarily need a classic villain for our heroes to combat in an epic struggle of good versus evil, I can't read a string of stories about people waiting for their inevitable doom.Despite falling in this "end of the world" theme that is prevalent in the collection, I thought that Charlie Jane Anders' story was the more thought-provoking. I also enjoyed the pieces written by John Chu (a very different dystopia), Max Gladstone (a unique take on a famous monster), and Nicola Griffith (an interesting tale about a lesser-known creature). I would (and have) read more work by these authors.

  • Belinda Lewis
    2018-11-04 06:18

    Fantastic anthology - which was also free for download because Tor is awesome.Favourites:The hauntingly bleak "The End of Everything" by Dale BaileyThe strangely sweet "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch" by Kelly Barnhill"A Kiss with Teeth" by Max Gladstone because there *are* still vampire stories that need to be toldUrban fantasy at its best "Cold Wind" by Nicola Griffith"Midway Relics and Dying Breeds" by Seanan McGuire for a retro futuristic travelling circus""The Mothers of Voorhisville" by Mary Rickert - one of those strange stories that doesn't seem to resolve at all but sticks with youAnd the beautifully written "In the Sight of Akresa" by Ray Wood*All* of them are pretty good though.

  • Joan
    2018-11-19 10:10

    As the title indicates, this anthology contains "some of the best" 2014 stories published by Tor. All of the stories are excellent, although in the way of these things I preferred some efforts to others. The pricing on the kindle edition was unbeatable but at the same time worrisome. I realize the days when F. Scott Fitzgerald could put his daughter through college on the sale of a few short stories are long over, but I'm sure the authors would like some remuneration, no matter how minor, for their craftsmanship. At this pricing soon they will be paying me to read their stories. Color me guilt-tripped.

  • Michael Sump
    2018-10-30 07:10

    The Best of 2014 is the most enjoyable collection of short stories I’ve read in a long time., if you don’t know, is a website committed to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. I never read the latter two and only occasionally read Science Fiction, but this collection is somewhat different. I would describe most of the stories as utopian or dystopian or perhaps "alternate or projected histories." In general, the stories were enjoyable and thought provoking. I didn’t like them all, but I liked it enough that I’ll be looking for further collections to read.

  • William Lovas
    2018-11-19 13:23

    Bit of a slog because it was long and the quality spotty, but there were definitely some great stories in there! Some favorites include the Litany of Earth, the Color of Paradox (reminded me a bit of Connie Willis), and the Mothers of Voorhisville. Of course, finding a really good one always slowed me down a bit because I wasn't ready to leave that universe! Damn my completionism, but there it is.

  • Roger
    2018-10-23 09:53

    I'm finished, finally. If this is some of the best of Tor I'm concerned for Tor's future as a publisher. There was more bad than good in this book and for no longer than the book was it took forever to read since it couldn't hold my interest. The only good thing about the book was the price...Free! I'm glad of that, I wish I had my week back.

  • Bill Walker
    2018-11-08 10:05

    A good mix of styles and formats from some great authors. There is a lack of consistency, however, in the quality of choices. This lack of consistency meant several stories just did not pull me in. This is my subjective opinion, however, and none of the stories were *bad* per se. I just couldn't get in to some of them. Still worth the read for those stories that do hit the spot.

  • Patiscynical
    2018-10-27 07:14

    Interesting. Thought-provoking. Memorable.Wow. There are some excellent short stories here. A vast variety of science fiction and fantasy stories, stories that will make you Think. You'll wake up and find yourself still thinking of a particular story. Results: read this. Well worth your time.

  • Giulia
    2018-11-20 04:57

    My favourite stories were: Max Gladstone "A kiss with teeth", Ruthann Emrys "The litany of the Earth", Isabel Yap "A cup of salt tears",Kathleen Ann Goonan "A short history of the twentieth century, or, when you wish upon a star".Honorable mentions to Ken Liu "Reborn"Daniel Jose Older "Anyway: Angie"Charlie Jane Anders "As good as new"

  • Rebecca
    2018-10-26 06:03

    There were quite a few horror stories in this bunch, and the collection started out slowly, but the stories themselves were very well written, covered a diverse range of lives and people, and some I didn't want to end.

  • Michelle
    2018-11-14 11:22

    This thing clocks in at a whopping 700+ pages so I'm glad I got it on my kindle. Not a dud in the bunch.

  • Ricky Kimsey
    2018-11-15 05:00

    2014 EditionAnother collection of stories from the website that were published in 2014. The stories cover all forms of fantasy and science fiction and feature characters and settings not usually found in the genre.