Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award – Best of 2013

We’ve spent a whole month revisiting the best stories from 2013, and we’ve revealed the winner of the Reader’s Choice Poll. Now it’s our turn to weigh in. Behold the results of the Editor’s Choice Award for the Best Story of 2013.

Gah, I can’t do it. It’s too hard. We’re immobilized with anxiety. There are too many good stories to choose from!

Okay, deep breath, pull it together. It has to be done. Here we go.

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Winner of the Best of 2013 Reader’s Choice Poll

The biggest Reader’s Choice Poll in Fiction Vortex history has officially closed, and it’s time to reveal the winner. Unfortunately, the goblin accountant’s union is on strike, so we’ve had to rely on technology to tabulate the votes. So no, we haven’t been certified by the Bureau of Speculative Middle Management, but what we lack in authenticity we make up in enthusiasm. When performing complex tasks in an unfamiliar profession, a big smile goes a long way.

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Best of 2013 Reader’s Choice Poll

You have waited patiently, dear readers, and now you shall be rewarded with a choice and a complimentary dragon egg. However, due to a problem with shipping, we only have the choice to offer you right now. But rest assured that it’s a doozy. It’s time for you to pick the best story of 2013.

Don’t faint. You can handle this.

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Best of 2013 – Promised Land

It’s not often that an idea can be simultaneously gross and fascinating. But it’s also not often that you hear the term “bugshot.” Fortunately, Rebecca Ann Jordan gave us all that and the accompanying heeby-jeebies in her science fiction story Promised Land. Oh, and the rest of the story is pretty awesome, too. You know, in case you needed another reason to like it.

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Best of 2013 – Past Another Sky

The term “space western” can be pretty divisive, for many reasons. But when it’s done right, it combines the best of two genres, and the result is great. That’s why we were pretty excited to find Past Another Sky, by Scott Birrenkott, which is mournful, gritty, and brash. Even if the idea of a space western doesn’t strike your fancy, this one deserves a shot.

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Best of 2013 – The Traditional Taste

The thing that’s so enjoyable about The Traditional Taste, by Jon Arthur Kitson, is that it feels powerful and yet slightly whimsical all at the same time. That’s a pretty surprising combo, but then again, so is a story about a robot that learns to be a professional coffee taster. It’s okay if you need to go back and read that sentence again.

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Best of 2013 – The Weather Forecast

There’s nothing new about an apocalyptic end-of-the-world story. And we’ve seen protagonists who can see the future before. But when Jackie Bee combined the two in The Weather Forecast, we found something new and wonderful. The story, I mean, not the end-of-the-world part. We’re not advocating for the apocalypse, just great stories about it.

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Best of 2013 – Pollinger’s Notebook

To say that Pollinger’s Notebook was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement in the extreme. We had just opened up to submissions for the first time, and we thought it might take a while to get some good material. But the very next day, there was Pollinger’s Notebook, by Mark Burgh, sitting in our inbox, looking all innocent and unassuming. As soon as we opened that email, it blew us away.

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Best of 2013 – Whispers in the Flame

We’re pretty immune to horror stories at this point. Nothing really makes us jump anymore. And yet when Whispers in the Flame, by Steve Cotterill, crossed our submission pile, we were well and truly unsettled. This is the kind of story that takes you into the mind of madness, that seduces you instead of trying to frighten you, and in the end that becomes more startling than the traditional gore and scare tactics.

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