Tor.com has some of the best free SFF on the web recently. Even the stories designed to promote long-form authors are generally solid, stand-alone stories. Because of that, their 'best of' anthologies have been a cut above most anthologies. That's not to say they're all good, but as a free download, it's pretty hard to beat this collection.
The best stories were:
- The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo (whose excellent Witch of Duva is in both Tor Fierce anthologies, and who is clearly a writer to watch). A classic-style fairy tale. Thief of War, by Beth Bernobich. One of those authors anthologies exist for. This story made me look up her other work and add it to my wish list (to buy when prices descend from unrealistic levels). Epic fantasy, magic, good writing.
- Lawful Interception by Cory Doctorow. The story isn't astounding, but it's a well thought out exploration of near future surveillance and hacking possibilities.
- Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages. The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Hollywood, but good despite that, for smooth writing.
- The Hanging Game by Helen Marshall. Just what it sounds like.
- In the Greenwood by Mari Ness. Another author that, for me, anyway, has suddenly sprung from nowhere, with good stories everywhere you look. This one is about Robin Hood, but surprisingly good despite the tired subject.
- Sing by Karen Tidbeck. An unusual story about relationships.
All in all, worth picking up.