I’ve read so many amazing books this year that it’s only fair the short fiction gets its own top ten list and I’m doing it just in time for everyone who is trying desperately to reach their reading goal. So without further ado here are ten of the most freaking amazing short fiction I read in 2019 (plus some of the series they belong to).
I’m not doing this in rating order (each and every one of the books on this list is 5 stars). I’m listing them longest to shortest according to the page count on goodreads. Starting with 5 novellas and ending with 5 amazing short stories.
Let me know if you’ve read them or if you want to! And good luck to everyone with their personal reading goals!
Also, i honestly don’t know what counts as a novella or not. This is How You Lose the Time War for example is one of my favourite books of the year and I haven’t seen anyone call it a novella so haven’t included it on this list and yet it is longer than The Black Tides of Heaven which I have only ever heard being called a novella. So if you are looking for another amazing book on the short side you should check out that one too.
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang – 236 pages
Fantasy set in an east Asian inspired world where ruling magic clashes with rebel technological advances and where gender isn’t assigned but chosen. It follows one of two twins who are born to a tyrannical empress and has to figure out how and if they want to fight back. The first in a series of novellas set in this world.
Adrift by Isabelle Adler – 184 pages
Self contained scifi set aboard a merchant space ship running a mysterious job to an abandoned moon. I loved the isolated setting and it was so tense I couldn’t put it down. Slow burn mistrustful m/m, space pirates and alien tech. Has an equally brilliant sequel (Ashore) that you can also read now and a finale coming out next year that I can’t wait to read!
The longest so far in a series of NA novellas about a queer coven of witches. Each one switches pov to the next in the circle, linking and building on the story and each is amazing. If you are looking for a series of novellas to binge this is it. Start with Darkling which has a Trans male MC, but the whole series is super queer (and sexually explicit)
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P Djeli Clark – 144 pages
Set in an alternate history Cairo in 1912 with Djinn mixing with technology and an official investigation into a tram car during the suffragette vote. Brilliantly woven world building and setting with a really great main character,
The Devil you Know by KJ Parker – 128 pages
Fantasy about a trickster philosopher making a deal with a devil. The devil worries he’s being played and keeps checking the contract. I love the amusing, suspicious relationship that develops between them. Slow paced and builds to a great ending.
Contemporary fantasy about two trans boys falling in love, with a very slight undercurrent of magic, Jewish rep and a loving accepting family though it deals heavily with bullying – this one is available for free online.
A Ruin of Shadows by LD Lewis – 66 pages
An exciting Military fantasy about an assassin hunted by the unit she trained when she turns on the emperor and has to kill them to survive. Also has a secret Djinn companion and a magic mask.
Help Wanted by J Emery – 60 pages
Contemporary fantasy about a girl at a magical university who gets a part time job to pay for their best friends birthday present but falls for her colleague. Love the agender and aspec questioning rep.
F/F scifi little mermaid retelling but twisted so the scientist is the one willing to trade their life to find out more, clever, tense, fast paced and absolutely brilliantly written with a tragic ending.
Green Toes By Avery Flinders – 31 pages
Contemporary fantasy about a bisexual woman moving to the city to try to find herself but struggles with the queer drinking scene. She also has magic gardening shoes and I love the queer found family and soft romance.
So there you have it, my favourite short fiction of the year. Let me know if you’ve read any of them or plan to!