Sunday, September 20, 2009

My All-Time Favorite SF Short Stories...As of 2005

Everybody says "it's one of my top ten favorite stories," but doesn't bother to specify the other nine. Well, not me. Back in January of 2005, the Straight Dope Message Board had a thread about the best SF story ever, and I ponied up with the following:

Inconstant Moon [by Larry Niven] is damn good, and would be on my short list.

Others on that list (and which I haven't seen mentioned) are:
  • Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester
  • The Man Who Lost the Sea by Theodore Sturgeon
  • Second Variety by Philip K. Dick
  • Oceanic by Greg Egan
  • Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith
  • With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson
  • The Man Who Walked Home by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • We See Things Differently by Bruce Sterling
  • Prayers on the Wind by Walter Jon Williams
  • Born With the Dead by Robert Silverberg
But if I had to pick one, and only one, very best SF story, I think I'd have to go with By His Bootstraps by Heinlein, which very nearly exhausts its subject and which is still breathtaking today.

Careful readers will note that my list -- never explicitly called "Top Ten," though -- has a good twelve items on it, counting everything. They might also note that I have refused to update the list and say what I think are the best stories as of now.

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