"Periodic Table of Science Fiction" by Michael Swanwick: An Appreciation by Greg van Eekhout
He gives us a punk barbarian princess, the Devil in Las Vegas, a Superman reluctant to face the consequences of knocking up Lois Lane, a sentient starship, a radioactive basement monster . . . and these are just the noble gases. Swanwick's table is a dazzling performance, a pyrotechnic display from a nimble imagination.
Since their appearance at SCI FICTION, these stories have appeared in an attractive print volume, but I prefer them in their original online format. Ellen Datlow presents to us a kind of interactive story device, and it's simply fun to click on the familiar-looking table, not knowing if what shows up in the little pop-up window will be a story about a reincarnated talking mule, an insidious toothpaste conspiracy, or a chilling account of the real reason the Hindenburg exploded. Online, the table becomes more than an accumulation of stories. It becomes a new thing, one that engages the reader in a new way, and short of shipping to each reader a box with 118 compartments, it's hard to think of a way the presentation could be duplicated, let alone improved upon.
Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of Science Fiction is an innovative marriage of form and fiction. It's a fabulous toy to play with. Ellen Datlow is owed thanks for bringing it to us.
Link to story.