Skip to content
Home of the world's leading Science Fiction magazine

2023 in Review

by Sheila Williams

2023 was another year of exciting stories at Asimov’s! We published ten novellas, twenty-three novelettes, and thirty-two short stories! That’s a lot of fiction to contemplate. If you are nominating for Asimov’s Annual Readers Award or for the Hugo, Nebula, or any of the other awards bestowed by the field of fantastic literature, feel free to use this year-end wrap up to refresh your memory about the 2023 tales published in Asimov’s.


The January/February issue brought us David Ira Cleary’s coming-of-age novella about “My Year as a Boy.” This endearing tale was loaded with ideas and clearly inspired by David Bowie, P.G. Wodehouse, and much else! Norman Spinrad’s novella took us “Up and Out.” It explored the traditional SF concept, updated by recent events, that the private industry might outdo government enterprise in the race to get humanity into space.  

Our March/April novella by Paul McAuley, “Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene,” looked at survival in the United Kingdom after life has been completely changed by the effects of global warming. Paul had another stunning novella, “Blade and Bone,” in our November/December issue. This tale followed the exploits of besieged mercenaries traveling across Mars. The evocative cover for “Gravesend” was created by Dominic Harman. 

Allen M. Steele contributed the exciting May/June cover story “Lemuria 7 Is Missing.” This novella told the tale of a mysterious journey to the Moon. We are left wondering about what happened to the Lemuria 7 and its crew.

We had two novellas in our July/August issue. Robert Reed explored death, subterfuge, and a very long game in his Greatship tale about “What>We>Will>Never>Be.” Kristine Kathryn Rusch brought us an extremely tense adventure tale about a group of people exploring “The Death Hole Bunker,” and the mysterious and dangerous artifacts they discover in this deadly bunker. Kristine had a second, follow-up novella in our September/October issue. In “The Break-in,” the artifacts have been moved to a warehouse, and a different group of people attempt to remove them for their own mysterious purposes.

December had three novellas! In addition to Paul McAuley’s aforementioned story, we had a tale by Dominica Phetteplace that was also set on Mars. Dominica’s story about “The Ghosts of Mars” presents a Mars that is very different than Paul’s. In her tale, a teenager attempts survival against all odds. Our non-Mars novella, “Death of the Hind,” was by Rick Wilber and Kevin J. Anderson. This was their second collaboration about the perilous journey onboard a generation ship.


January/February featured two novelettes. Peter Wood penned an amusing attempted alien Earth offensive that was “The Less than Divine Invasion.” T.K. Rex created a complex set of moral dilemmas on an alien planet in “The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones.”

The March/April issue was packed with six novelettes. In Sam J. Miller’s “Planetstuck,” we learn that a seemingly aimless and happy-go-lucky sex worker/spy has paid a terrible price for his freedom. The podcast of “Planetstuck” can be heard here: Octavia Cade introduced us to a little girl named “Ernestine” surviving in a post apocalypse with the help of a very distinguished ghost. In “Night Running,” Greg Egan brought us an excruciating tale about what happens to a man who uses a new drug to improve his job performance. Ray Nayler spun an intriguing medieval mystery in “The Case of the Blood Stained Tower.” Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s novelette about “The Nameless Dead” was chilling on more than one level. Finally, Paul Di Filippo and Bruce Sterling conjured up their own post-climate disaster tale and the resulting political system in “The Queen of Rhode Island.”

We had five novelettes in our May/June issue. Tom Purdom’s “Exit Contract” was a thrilling tale about two operatives attempting to help a valuable defector escape a repressive state. R. Garcia y Robertson’s novelette, “Mars Gambit,” was a breathtaking adventure tale set on the red planet. Ursula Whitcher created an elaborate culture in her story about “The Fifteenth Saint. Andy Dudak’s complicated tale about “Games Without Frontiers”  was the first Asimov’s tale to feature a playlist, and Robert R. Chase rang a change on a well-known theme: Instead of robots trying to exterminate humanity, he explained the “Revolt of the Algorithms.”

In July/August, Stephen Case gave us “Daughters of the Lattice”—a tense story about nuns facing danger in space. Sam W. Pisciotta’s novelette was about a person confronting their fears while the world is consumed by an unknown menace. Garth Nix’s novelette was a fun tale with a Western feel as a sheriff and his deputy faced a “Showdown on Planetoid Pencrux.” Sean Monaghan’s poignant cover story was about a young girl, her pet, and her uncle facing out-of-control machinery. The cover art for “Bridges” was by Eldar Zakirov.  

Michèle Laframboise’s tale about people who live in tents on the sides of buildings, “Tears Down the Wall,” was one of the five novelettes in our September/October issue. Gregory Feeley took a young man on a dangerous mission to Neptune in “The Unpastured Sea.” Dean Whitlock gave us “Deep Blue Jump”—a powerful novelette about forced child labor that was both bleak and hopeful. The podcast of “Deep Blue Jump” can be found here September/October is traditionally our slightly spooky issue, and that was certainly true of David Erik Nelson’s “The Dead Letter Office.” In this unsettling tale, a young woman had to face her past and her future. Anya Johanna DeNiro’s surreal tale of “The Water-Wolf” took us on a woman’s journey through history that spanned thousands of years. It was one of our inspirations for the issues evocative cover.

With three novellas crammed into our November/December issue, we only had room for one novelette. Fortunately, we had John Alfred Tayler’s lovely tale about time travel, the 1939 World’s Fair, and an explanation for why “The Open Road Leads to a Used Car Lot.” This tale was a perfect example of the power of the novelette.

Short Stories: 

As is often the case, short stories accounted for about half of our 2023 inventory. Our January/February issue included Tochi Onyebuchi’s tale about a therapist whose intransigent patients together create a sense of Jamais Vue. Rudy Rucker brought us a zany tale about how a “Tooniverse Telemarketer” upends reality. Genevieve Williams’s “Woman of the River” was a generations-spanning tale told in six pages. Ramsey Shehadeh revealed how the upgrade of robot deputy could upend a civilization in “Cigarettes and Coffee.”  Karen Heuler’s story about “Alien Housing” was a traumatizing look at humans relegated to refugee status after an alien invasion. The podcast for “Alien Housing” can be found here:

Our March/April issue featured a chilling short tale by Mark D. Jacobsen. “The Repair” showed how difficult life could be in a society repressed by social media. “The Errata” by K.A. Teryna, which was translated from Russian by Alex Shvartsman, reveals a treacherous set-up on a generation ship. Gregory Feeley described the transformation of humanity in “The Breaking of the Vessels.” And we learned the truth about “Wanton Gods” in Sheila Finch’s short tale.

In our May/June issue, Zack Be revealed how a man suffering from extreme guilt discovers that “The Visions Are Free After Exit 73.” Chris Willrich provided us with a wonderfully recursive story about “The Second Labyrinth.” A conversation about the coldest spot in the Universe led to Bill Johnson and Greg Frost’s collaboration on “Boomerang.” Lavie Tidhar gave us a bittersweet tale about an ill-fated tourist attraction on “Zoo Station.” And, in “Sexy Apocalypse Robot,” Sandra McDonald provided a deeply moving story about what life is like for the survivors after a devastating plague. The podcast of  “Sexy Apocalypse Robot” can be found here:

We had seven short stories in our July/August issue. Karawynn Long presented us with a remarkable young person and their reaction to a science experiment in “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers.” David Ebenbach took a wry look at climate change and “Dark Horses.” Barry N. Malzberg and Robert Friedman’s epistolary tale, “Let the Games Begin,” may or may not have been about aliens and space travel, but definitely included a lot of thoughts on the history of science fiction. Sarah Pinsker considered what it’s like to raise superhero children in “My Sister Told Me to Write a Story About the Genetics of Inheritable Godhood.” James Van Pelt’s papergirl fearlessly took on a couple of aliens in “Have You Seen Bitsy.” Rick Wilber and Lisa Lanser Rose created a memorable character and gave her an empowering if devastating choice in “The Greeter.” And Leslie What considered the psyches of adults with dangerous superpowers in “Tilt.” “Tilt’s” podcast can be found here:

Our slightly spooky September/October issue contained three sort of spooky short stories and one hard science fiction short tale. Derek Künsken’s unmistakably hard SF story considered “Six Incidents of Evolution Using Time Travel.” Lavie Tidhar’s science fiction tale about “The Ghost Fair” included some futuristic apparitions. There was an eerie edge to Kofi Nyameye’s excavation of “The Pit of Babel.” And Lisa Goldstein’s unnerving story revealed just how threatening the woods may be for a woman who finds herself in “The Fox House.”

November/December was another issue with seven short stories. Frank Ward brought us a poignant tale about what happens “In the Days After” a devastating event. In her surreal story, Marguerite Sheffer went into exquisite detail to delineate “The Disgrace of the Commodore.” And we sense that perhaps the Commodore will be redeemed. Prashanth Srivatsa’s charming and playful tale, “Meet-Your-Hero,” reveals the extraordinary luck and extraordinary lengths a boy must have and take in order to partake a meeting with an important figure. Robert R. Chase showed us an interesting, if challenging, real estate option in “Neptune Acres.” Christopher Rowe combined a bit of theology, a bit of Cordwainer Smith, a bit of deep-space travel, and much else in “The Four Last Things.”  Ray Nayler’s “Berb by Berb” was another story about redemption. It also invoked the unknowable alien and what constitutes a sentient being. And James Patrick Kelly introduced us to a time-traveling Embot who must decide whether to leave a young woman to her fate or to jeopardize its own existence in “Embot’s Lament.” You can find the podcast for “Embot’s Lament” here:

We already have lots of enthralling, entertaining, and enlightening novellas, novelettes, and short stories on hand for 2024. Keep reading Asimov’s so that you don’t miss any of them!

Back To Top
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop