|Libby Cone had two picks:
"My favorite books of 2012 were Fred Setterberg's Lunch Bucket Paradise and Scott Dominic Carpenter's This Jealous Earth. Both featured excellent writing and interesting characters. Both had something intelligent to say about modern life."
Rob Steiner had one pick:
"For the second year in a row, I'll have to go with Colin McComb. Oathbreaker Book Two: The Magus's Tale had the beautiful language and vivid world-building I liked from Book One, but with different characters that gave added depth McComb's Empire of Terona. I'm looking forward to Book Three."
It was difficult for me to pick the best story for 2012. There were five really good books among the twelve I reviewed so narrowing it down to one required me to nitpick, quibble, and split hairs. But I had to settle for two.
Jeremy Robert Johnson's second short story collection, We Live Inside You, revealed the inner monsters that compel us to do terrible things. These monsters can be anything from arrogant ideologies to emotional voids that desperately need filling. Oh yeah, there's the occasional parasite too. His writing is gritty and honest. His characters are very real; you've seen them around town, unaware of what churned inside them.
My other, very different choice is M. Terry Green's Shaman, Friend, Enemy. I thoroughly enjoyed how Green's characters evolved in their complexity and realism. No cardboard here, not even her antagonist. Green built up the conflict and resolved it with mastery. It's a pleasure to see a writer's improvement parallel that of her protagonist. Although this is the second book in the series, one need not have read the first to enjoy this one, but it wouldn't hurt.
We reviewed 24 stories and rejected over 250. Now that we have a new reviewer on board we hope to improve upon that. The submissions window will be opening soon.