From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Best Fantasy Story of 2008 Poll and Contest

Now that we’ve bid 2008 goodbye, it’s time to take a fond look back. We had an excellent year for fiction and many of our stories have been picked up for Best Of volumes. We’d like to give our readers the chance to tell us what their favorite stories are, though. You’re the reason we can keep publishing amazing stories, so you should get a say. Thus, our second annual Best Story Poll.

We’re adding a twist to this year’s poll. Not only will the story with the most votes get the author bragging rights, but it will also win them a prize: a Vosges chocolate gift box of their choice valued at $40 – $45.

But wait, there’s more! We’re also offering a prize to readers. If you leave a comment on any of the 48 original stories published in 2008 you might be entered in a drawing for a prize of your own. “Might be” because there are some rules:

  1. The comment must be substantive — not just ‘This story was awesome’. Tell us why you liked or didn’t like the story, make your case that it’s one of the best stories of 2008 (if you feel that way), or anything else you’re moved to say.
  2. You are allowed to comment on as many stories as you like, but only one comment per story is counted. (Example: if you comment 1 time on 5 stories, we throw your name in the hat 5 times, if you comment 5 times on 1 story, we throw your name in the hat only once.) Maximum number of entries is 10.
  3. Your comment must be timestamped on or after January 7th and on or before January 24th, 2009.

The winner is picked randomly, so the more you comment, the better your chances. The prize? A $25 gift certificate to

Update: Voting is closed and the winner has been announced: Erased by Elena Gleason

You can read the other 2008 stories below.

2008 Story List:

Painting Walls in the Town of N— by Stephanie Campisi
Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake by Kelly Barnhill
Pahwakhe by Gord Sellar
Bones by Leslie Claire Walker
The Fable of Cinnamon and Butter by Trent Walters
Début-de-siècle by Jonathan Wood
When We Were Stardust by Rebecca Epstein
Cockatrice Girl Meets Statue Boy by Willow Fagan
Turnipseed by Erik Amundsen
Alphabet by Becca De La Rosa
Glass by Nikki Alfar
Fire-Bringer by Nick Mamatas
Petrella by Charlene Brusso
The 21st Century Isobel Down by Stacy Sinclair
Erased by Elena Gleason
The Cinnamon Cavalier by Richard Bowes
A Word Without Ghosts by Paul Jessup
Mirror Images by Rachel Swirsky
The Small Door by Holly Phillips
The Shadow in the Mirror by Mari Ness
On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves by Peter M. Ball
Sorrowbird by Sean Markey
His One True Bride by Darja Malcolm-Clarke
The Lodger at Wintertide by E. Catherine Tobler
Marrying the Sun by Rachel Swirsky
Practicing Perfection by Cathy Freeze
Watermark by Michael Greenhut
Sweetwater by Lilah Wild
Masks of War by J. Kathleen Cheney
Penguin and Wren by Christie Skipper Ritchotte
Gods of the Spiderhole by J. M. McDermott
The Things In the Box by Ursula Pflug
Original Gangster by Jim Hines
A Foreigner’s View of the River by A. M. Muffaz
Nora by Becca De La Rosa
In This City by Brian Dolton
The Annie Oakley Show by Ari Goelman
Yell Alley by Nicole Kornher-Stace
The Banyan Tree by Jeannette Westwood
A Spell For Twelve Brothers by Erzebet Yellowboy
The Plagiarist by Alex Rose
The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries by Berrien C. Henderson
Scatter and Return, the Eyes of the Princess by Willow Fagan
The Black-Iron Drum by Von Carr
Geddarien by Rose Lemberg
A Trail of Demure Virgins by Sara Saab
The Queen of Hearts by Daniel Homan
Keepity Keep by Carole Lanham

P.S. Want to pimp a favorite story so that everyone will know how awesome it is? Do so in the comments!

Update: Poll fixed!

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15 Responses »

  1. I couldn’t get my votes to go through either.

  2. Fix zee poll, sos everyone can vote on me awesome stories!

  3. Poll fixed! Every single poll plugin for WordPress sucks. Just sayin’. Even the ones I personally test myself. *shakes fist*

  4. Well…wp-polls plugin worked fine for me when I had a recent poll on me blog…

    of course, my blog is dead now because my ISP IS THE DEVIL.

    Side note- why can’t I view the results? I want to know how awesome I am!

  5. wp-polls works all right on some blogs, but something about our custom theme makes it unhappy for anyone running firefox, ie, or safari. go fig!

    And the survey service we’re using doesn’t allow for viewing the results automatically on the account level we have. Sorry! However, I will post occasional updates with current numbers to get people fired up.

  6. Oh suck, yeah custom themes can screw up some plugins. :(

    Yay! Can’t wait to get the first trickle in of results.

    Go Word Without Ghosts!

  7. Fun! I’m excited to see the results.

  8. Since most of the comments seem to be about the survey service, and not the actual stories yet, I’ll try to start something on the actual stories. Especially since I had more than three favorites, and I think it was cruel of the poll wizards to limit me to three votes.

    But onwards! My favorites of the year, in no particular order:

    A Spell for Twelve Brothers, Erzebet Yellowboy. Ok, I’m biased here, given my adoration for any retelling of a fairy tale – but this particular fairy tale has received a lot less attention, and this is a gorgeous, poetic retelling.

    The Nest Building Habits…, Berrien C. Henderson. I have a mild issue with this one – Berrien clearly viciously stole the not having string concept from a poem I was working on, before he (or anyone else) had had a chance to read it…But. Aside from somehow psychically stealing my concept, an eerie, deeply moving story about much more than nest building or etymology.

    In This City, Brian Dolton. Read this one twice.

    On the Finding of Photographs… Peter Ball – Because I never kept photos of the monsters in my past.

    The Shadow in the Mirror.

    Ok, so I’m a little biased on the last one, too :)

  9. *Story Pimping Alert* Pahwakhe by Gord Sellar. Absolutely amazing. Everyone go read it NOW.

  10. Holly Phillips, The Small Door, WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  11. This is driving me crazy. I am trying to read all the stories but life keeps interrupting. Then, someone posts a new comment and I just have to see what the commenter is talking about. The dishes will be stacked to the ceiling if this keeps up.

    But I love it. I’ve gone back and read so much good stuff thanks to this darned poll.

  12. I’m lovin’ Ursula Pflug’s story The Things in the Box. I’m a Nflder so it’s gorgeous to see one of our songs in an SF story – but beyond that the story is strange and wonderful, and the narrator is deftly drawn with a light touch. Images are haunting me, and things about it made me laugh too. Bravo.


  1. Fantasy Magazine » The End Is Near! Best Story Poll Closes Friday

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