Since I now have a fairly easy way to keep track of the stories I read, I think this year I'll break my old habit and start trying to read at least some 2004 stories as they're published rather than waiting until the beginning of 2005.
Having more or less wrapped up my short fiction reading for the moment, I decided to read something completely different this weekend, Steve Tomasula's Vas: An Opera in Flatland (co-created with designer and typographer Steve Farrell). This 300-page prose poem (at least, I can think of no better way to describe it) is set not in Abbott's Flatland, but in Flatland, a generic suburb of the flat lands of the American midwest. Square and Circle have aborted what would have been their second child after it was found to have genetic abnormalities, and Square has promised to get a vasectomy to avoid future risks. Vas captures his rambling thoughts as he procrastinates signing the consent form, thoughts which range over eugenics, genetic engineering, evolution, language, history, and plans for the pedestrian stories Square writes. Plot, in any traditional sense, is almost non-existent, but the digressions, wordplay, and sheer beauty of the design and layout kept me throughly engrossed for the length of the book (which, despite the page count, was a fairly quick Saturday-afternoon read).
In other news, I turn 30 on Friday.