Valentine's day, eh?
It's an especially happy day for couples, of course, but equally, Valentine's day must be a depressing occasion for many, many others - for all those folks who don't have some kindred spirit to share it with, for instance... and all so chocolatiers and florists can stay in business through the lastmost moments of winter! The greedy gits.
But never mind me: look to tor.com. In honour of the occasion, they've put together a short anthology - namely the 2011 edition of Some of the Best From Tor.com - and released it, for free, to e-book readers around the world.
Actually, that's a lie. Sure, if you're in the United States, you can have it - for now - for nothing, but if (like me) you're based in Europe or the UK, or anywhere outside of America, I expect, you're plum out of luck, pal.
International rights issues like this have been a source of some small frustration to me recently. Most notably I'm still desperate to read The Butcher of Anderson Station by James S. A. Corey, one of Orbit's so-called Hot Shorts... though at this point I've pretty much given up hope of ever seeing it released here.
But maybe Orbit will surprise the pants off of me and slap it in the back of the next novel in the Expanse series as a deleted scene or some such. That'd be brilliant. Then again Caliban's War, due in June, is very probably going to be brilliant in and of itself, so I won't be complaining if they hold off.
Some of the Best From Tor.com features short stories, novelettes and a novella by Harry Turtledove, Nnedi Okorafor, Charlie Jane Anders off of io9 and Michael Swanwick, whose work I've only recently come to appreciate -- on which note: stay tuned for a full review of The Iron Dragon's Daughter shortly. As well as all that, there are contributions from an assortment of other authors I'm unfamiliar with, as yet... but that's half the fun of reading through an anthology, isn't it? The experience. The education. The occasional delightful discovery!
If I could slap this thing onto my Kindle - well, onto the Kindle app I have on my tablet - I'd do it in a Valentine's heartbeat. Failing that, all of the stories in Some of the Best From Tor.com are of course still archived on the site, and the folks in charge have assembled a page with direct links to each and every one of the above. So poor souls like me aren't completely in the dark on this happy/sad day.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Americans amongst you can grab a free copy of Some of the Best From Tor.com from Amazon via this link. The anthology should also be available wherever you usually order your e-books.
Go on now... have a free collection of speculative short fiction!
And do enjoy your Valentine's day, if you can. :)