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In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life & art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 29th Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life & art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 29th Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors & masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley & John Barnes. & with an extensive recommended reading guide & a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans & readers interested in breaking into the genre.


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In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life & art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 29th Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life & art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 29th Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors & masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley & John Barnes. & with an extensive recommended reading guide & a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans & readers interested in breaking into the genre.

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Earl Biringer

    Individual stories rated as follows: 5* - A classic. 4* - A really good story, recommended reading. 3* - A decent story 2* - Not a good story, something seriously inhibited any enjoyment 1* - Unreadable and/or a complete waste of time I'll try to give a brief reason for each story whose rating deviates from the default three stars. McAuley, Paul: "The Choice" *** Moles, David: "A Soldier Of The City" *** Broderick, Damien: "The Beancounter's Cat" *** Bear, Elizabeth: "Dolly" *** Barnes, John: "Martian Hea Individual stories rated as follows: 5* - A classic. 4* - A really good story, recommended reading. 3* - A decent story 2* - Not a good story, something seriously inhibited any enjoyment 1* - Unreadable and/or a complete waste of time I'll try to give a brief reason for each story whose rating deviates from the default three stars. McAuley, Paul: "The Choice" *** Moles, David: "A Soldier Of The City" *** Broderick, Damien: "The Beancounter's Cat" *** Bear, Elizabeth: "Dolly" *** Barnes, John: "Martian Heart" *** MacLeod, Ken: "Earth Hour" *** Schroder, Karl: "Laika's Ghost" *** Swanwick, Michael: "The Dala Horse" *** Beagle, Peter S: "The Way It Works Out And All" *** Gilman, Varolyn Ives: "The Ice Owl" *** Cornell, Paul: "The Copenhagen Interpretation" *** Baxter, Stephen: "The Invasion Of Venus" *** McDonald, Ian: "Digging" * Seriously - a third of the way through the story (truly! page 6 of 18!) before any actual story begins - nothing but engineering specs up to this point. Then more engineering specs and someone almost dies in a very unbelievable situation. Then they all live kinda-happily ever after. Mind-numbing. Reynolds, Alastair: "Ascension Day" *** McHugh, Maureen F: "After The Apocalypse" *** Valente, Catherynne M: "Silently And Very Fast" * About halfway through I realized I had no idea what was going on. Another page or two and I admitted that I didn't care and moved on to the next story. Lake, Jay: "A Long Way Home" *** Hutchinson, Dave: "The Incredible Exploding Man" **** Extra star for taking a unique premise which probably belongs in a comic book (which the author admits several times) and making it work. Ryman, Geoff: "What We Found" *** Purdom, Tom: "A Response From EST17" *** MacLeod, Ian R: "The Cold Step Beyond" *** Klecha, David and Buckell, Tobias S: "A Militant Peace" *** Reed, Robert: "The Ants Of Flanders" *** Jones, Gwyneth: "The Vicar Of Mars" *** Tidhar, Lavie: "The Smell Of Orange Groves" *** Flynn, Michael F: "The Iron Shirts" **** Well told tale, interesting premise, apprently well-researched (well enough to fool the lay-reader, anyway). Cadigan, Pat: "Cody" *** Swanwick, Michael: "For I have Lain Me Down..." *** Lee, Yoon Ha: Ghostweight *** Hawkins, Jim: "Digital Rites" **** The format made it work - the fluidity of the plot breaks down toward the end, but still worth the extra star. Nevala-Lee, Alec: "The Boneless One" *** Ball, Peter M: "Dying Young" **** Probably the best written story in the book. Well plotted, strong characters, believable premise. A fun read. Lawson, Chris: "Canterbury Hollow" **** Another strongly charactered story. SF still has a long way to go when it comes to well-rounded, believable characters. MacLeod, Ken: "The Vorkuta Event" *** Johnson, Kij: "The Man Who Bridged The Mist" ***

  2. 4 out of 5

    Johan Haneveld

    Maybe a little more than four stars, as I really enjoyed this collection. Even more than the more recent editions of this series (28 and 29). Those books contained mainly stories set on earth in a not too distant future, dealing with climate change, technological upgrades and computer science. I like those stories too, don't get me wrong, but I like the stories included here better: tales of a far future, where science had developed to such a level that it is hard to distinguish from magic and h Maybe a little more than four stars, as I really enjoyed this collection. Even more than the more recent editions of this series (28 and 29). Those books contained mainly stories set on earth in a not too distant future, dealing with climate change, technological upgrades and computer science. I like those stories too, don't get me wrong, but I like the stories included here better: tales of a far future, where science had developed to such a level that it is hard to distinguish from magic and humanity or consciousness takes on strange forms. There's a bewildering almost fairytale like quaility to these stories and the fact that it is science fiction (thus set in 'our universe') adds to the sense of wonder. These tales fired up my own imagination. There were a few with ambiguous conclusions, or at least endings that I myself did not understand, that I didn't appreciate that much. I don't much care to be left guessing as to the intended conclusion of the story. I want to be left with a satisfying resolution. I liked the allusions to the Narnia and Malacandra-stories of C.S. Lewis in 'The beancounter's cat' by Damien Broderick. Laika's Ghost was engaging old style SF with an interesting back story. 'The Dala Horse' by Michael Swanwick was one of those 'science as magic'-stories that really worked well. I thought 'The Ice Owl' went on a bit too long for my taste. I do need to read more by Ian McDonald, as his story 'Digging' was beautifully written and was set on an expertly imagined dig on Mars. I didn't really care about 'After the apocalypse', but i did appreciate 'Silently and very fast'. It took a while before this pretty long story began to work for me, as it is pretty complex, but in the end I was mesmerized. Lots of strange environments in here and the birth of an interesting artificial intelligence. 'A long way home' had a great idea, but lacked a good conclusion. I was hoping for more answers, I must admit. Even though the idea of an immortal character finding himself on a deserted planet spoke to my imagination. 'What we found' was hardly SF (well, officially it is about a scientific idea, but it was more of a literary tale, and I didn't much care for it). I did like 'A response from EST17' by Tom Purdom, an older writer showing he has kept up to date with the genre and describing an interesting story of interplanetary contact. I was very happy to read it. 'The ants of Flanders' was fun to read, but not very deep. 'The smell of orange groves' was one of those stories that didn't want to end with a real conclusion, choosing for literary ambiguity, but well ... I do not really care for that. Give me denouement! 'The Iron Shirts' was less SF, more alternate history, but I like Michael Flynns well researched style! 'The boneless one' was interesting SciFi-horror, and I like ocean life, so I liked this as well. The world the final story 'The man who bridged the mist' takes place in, read more as fantasy than SF, but it's about a man building a bridge, so that gives it a technological core. We do get only tantalizing glimpses in to the titular mist, but the personal story about the cost of such a project for the builder and the society was engaging and it ended very satisfactory. A strong conclusion for this collection. And I look forward to reading more older editions of the Mammoth Book of Best New SF.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    As always, pretty much required reading, if you're a fan of short-SF. Dozois does push the boundaries sometimes on deciding what is SF, but so what. Standout stories for me: * A Soldier of the City • (2010) • novelette by David Moles * The Beancounter's Cat • (2011) • novelette by Damien Broderick Ken MacLeod. Earth Hour. Online at http://www.tor.com/2011/06/22/earth-h... * David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell. A Militant Peace. Online at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/klech... ** The Dala Horse • (201 As always, pretty much required reading, if you're a fan of short-SF. Dozois does push the boundaries sometimes on deciding what is SF, but so what. Standout stories for me: * A Soldier of the City • (2010) • novelette by David Moles * The Beancounter's Cat • (2011) • novelette by Damien Broderick Ken MacLeod. Earth Hour. Online at http://www.tor.com/2011/06/22/earth-h... * David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell. A Militant Peace. Online at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/klech... ** The Dala Horse • (2011) • novelette by Michael Swanwick. Online at http://www.tor.com/2011/07/13/the-dal... ** Yoon Ha Lee. Ghostweight. (2011) Online at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/lee_0... * The Man Who Bridged the Mist • (2011) • novella by Kij Johnson So you can get a good sampling of my favorites online, 24/7. And all get nice reviews below by Mark Watson at Best SF. Best and most complete review I saw: http://bestsf.net/the-years-best-scie... Which is voluminous, and a good memory-aid if you've already read it. Also has more links to stories online. Best review for ordinary purposes (like, deciding whether to buy): https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re... -- though I disagree on details. For instance, I really liked 'The Beancounter's Cat,' by Damien Broderick.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I've not read much science fiction in recent years, intending instead to devote my reading to nonfiction. A gift, however, has power. Since it was so recommended, I gave the Dozois collection a chance and was impressed. I don't know if it's representative of the current sf genre or if it's a matter of editorial preferance, but the quality of the writing was very good--much better than I'd come to expect from a fair sampling of the science fiction classics of the twentieth century.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    For some reason this collection had a lot less of interesting novels than I'm used to in this series. I guess I'm either just getting picky, or it was just a bad year for scifi, or maybe Dozois has a different taste from mine. I don't know what happened here, but not too many short stories in here made an impression. There were even a few that I just wished would be done already, but can't even remember their names anymore. Might be partly because I read this in pieces, a few short stories ther For some reason this collection had a lot less of interesting novels than I'm used to in this series. I guess I'm either just getting picky, or it was just a bad year for scifi, or maybe Dozois has a different taste from mine. I don't know what happened here, but not too many short stories in here made an impression. There were even a few that I just wished would be done already, but can't even remember their names anymore. Might be partly because I read this in pieces, a few short stories there, then a novel or two in the middle, then a few more short stories... The last short story (Kij Johnson's The Man Who Bridged the Mist) did make an impression, somehow. I think that was the reason I gave this three stars instead of two. I don't know why I liked it as much as I did, but it was somehow, mmm... It had the right kind of mood to suit my mood, I guess? It being so humane made up for all the uninteresting "oh looky how unimportant humankind is in the wars of aliens!" stories that there were a few in here, too. Some might find it boring, and enjoy those war things. I just didn't find them all that entertaining. I guess anyone who likes to read this series will read this one, too, but I was slightly disappointed. Luckily these books are quite cheap considering how much there is to read in them, otherwise I'd be slightly grumpy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

    711 pages, 34 authors, 36 stories! If I’m honest, I would have preferred just 14 stories (i.e. the ones I liked best) in a slimmer, more manageable volume. Although, having read some other reviews, it seems that some people loved the ones that I’ve already forgotten and weren’t keen on the ones I loved. Tricky. I think the key might be finding collections by the authors I enjoyed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

    Stories are generally high quality, as one should expect from a Year's Best anthology. Many won awards in other venues this year. There were only two stories I was unable to finish. My favorite of the bunch is Michael Swanwick's "The Dala Horse," a seamless blending of Scandinavian fairy tale and far-future science fiction. One theme that pops up several times is nostalgia for the Cold War, and the old Soviet Union. There is also a notable lack of optimism and joy in these stories. Many have tragic Stories are generally high quality, as one should expect from a Year's Best anthology. Many won awards in other venues this year. There were only two stories I was unable to finish. My favorite of the bunch is Michael Swanwick's "The Dala Horse," a seamless blending of Scandinavian fairy tale and far-future science fiction. One theme that pops up several times is nostalgia for the Cold War, and the old Soviet Union. There is also a notable lack of optimism and joy in these stories. Many have tragic or downbeat endings. Two stories are about the end of the world. At the end of another two stories I found that I hated all the characters, and wondered why I had read a story about characters who were neither likable nor interesting. A final point worth making is that there are a number of these 'science fiction' stories with very little science fiction in them. These stories often have skillful prose, fascinating world-building, adept characterization, an engaging voice, but very little actual science fiction. Is this a trend, too? Is it a trend in sf in general, or just in stories that are put in anthologies and win awards? I don't know. I don't want to end this review on too negative a note. This anthology has generally fine stories, I'm glad I read it, and if you like sf, you will certainly find much in it to like, too.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    I always look forward to receiving this anthology. I enjoy short stories (probably due to short attention span problems...) and eagerly await the latest edition. And I usually enjoy the heck out of the stories. Usually. This year's selections seemed to be a bit pedestrian. Or maybe my tastes have changed a bit. Of the selections I had not already read (I have a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), there were few that blew me away and I even had to quit reading one about ha I always look forward to receiving this anthology. I enjoy short stories (probably due to short attention span problems...) and eagerly await the latest edition. And I usually enjoy the heck out of the stories. Usually. This year's selections seemed to be a bit pedestrian. Or maybe my tastes have changed a bit. Of the selections I had not already read (I have a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), there were few that blew me away and I even had to quit reading one about halfway through because it was, well, let me just say it was not to my liking. Mr. Dozois, in his introduction, provides a summary of the state of the genre. He was effusive about the number of good stories that were written this year and available for selection. Halfway through the anthology I began wondering what happened to those good stories. Of course, you have to remember that I am more about the story and less about wordsmithing and writing style. Give me a plain-written story that keeps my interest and I am a happy boy. (And, no, I have never liked Faulkner...)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the series the tales have advanced and grown in imagination and detail with our ability to envision greater concepts and possibilities... Rod Serling said, "...fantasy is the impossible made probable. science fiction is the improbable made possible..." and in the pages of these books is the absolute best the vastness of science fiction writing has to offer... sit back, relax, and dream...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    Started reading this just after it came out, and I have finished it just after the next volume was released. Being able to read this in a e-version instead of carting around a massive tome helped, in that I could read stories every now & then on my lunch break, but it still took so long that I've forgotten which ones I particularly liked. I love the longevity and dependability of this series and Dozois's excellent choices, but I can't remember the last time I actually read one from cover to cove Started reading this just after it came out, and I have finished it just after the next volume was released. Being able to read this in a e-version instead of carting around a massive tome helped, in that I could read stories every now & then on my lunch break, but it still took so long that I've forgotten which ones I particularly liked. I love the longevity and dependability of this series and Dozois's excellent choices, but I can't remember the last time I actually read one from cover to cover (so to speak). Though come to think of it, I did skim one - that story and I had nothing to say to each other. Aside from that, finishing this leaves me feeling quite accomplished.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Yes, that's right...after more than two years of on-and-off reading of this book (only during my lunch hour, in between waiting for holds to come in) I have finally finished this impressive tome. Sadly, I do not have the clearest memory of several of the stories within. However, overall I can confidently say that I enjoyed it, and that I appreciated getting a taste of many different authors and styles. My library currently owns volumes 27-32 of this series, so I think next time I am between hold Yes, that's right...after more than two years of on-and-off reading of this book (only during my lunch hour, in between waiting for holds to come in) I have finally finished this impressive tome. Sadly, I do not have the clearest memory of several of the stories within. However, overall I can confidently say that I enjoyed it, and that I appreciated getting a taste of many different authors and styles. My library currently owns volumes 27-32 of this series, so I think next time I am between holds, I will go back to #27 and start again. :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    One of the better Dozois anthologies, surprising not necessarily in the number of standout stories, but in the number of almost-standouts and the very low number of unreadable stories. Only two I was unable to bring myself to finish, and these from the 'usual suspects' (Tidhar & Ryman). Standouts were one of the K. MacLeod stories, the Nevala-Lee, the Schroeder, the McDonald, the Lake, the Hawkins, the Baxter, and the Johnson. One of the better Dozois anthologies, surprising not necessarily in the number of standout stories, but in the number of almost-standouts and the very low number of unreadable stories. Only two I was unable to bring myself to finish, and these from the 'usual suspects' (Tidhar & Ryman). Standouts were one of the K. MacLeod stories, the Nevala-Lee, the Schroeder, the McDonald, the Lake, the Hawkins, the Baxter, and the Johnson.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    Quite possibly the worst anthology I've ever tried to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clay Brown

    A Tour De Force! -Kindle Clay’s Review of Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction 29th Collection (2012) (48) A feat requiring great virtuosity or strength, often deliberately undertaken for its difficulty Here is the next Chapter in Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois, the 29th year in fact of this Venerable Collection. This is the one yearly Anthology that we try not to miss. This time we’ll put in some excerpts of some if not most of the Short Stories and have a summation at the end or the qua A Tour De Force! -Kindle Clay’s Review of Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction 29th Collection (2012) (48) A feat requiring great virtuosity or strength, often deliberately undertaken for its difficulty Here is the next Chapter in Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois, the 29th year in fact of this Venerable Collection. This is the one yearly Anthology that we try not to miss. This time we’ll put in some excerpts of some if not most of the Short Stories and have a summation at the end or the quality of the Book as a whole. The Choice by Paul Mcauley A sort of ‘Separate Piece’ on the Bayou. Two young teenage boys in a future earth setting in a swamp land is this story. Alien beings and crafts litter the story and some tragedy soon follows. There’s the ‘crazy type’ mother environmental activist from the past, and her son Lucas. …Before the nuclear strikes, riots, revolutions, and netwar skirmishes of the so-called Spasm, which had ended when the floppy ships of the Jackaroo had appeared in the skies over Earth. In exchange for rights to the outer solar system, the aliens had given the human race technology to clean up the Earth, and access to a wormhole network that linked a dozen M-class red dwarf stars. Lucas remembered the hopeful shine in Damian’s eyes when he’d talked about those new worlds. He thought of how the dragon-shard had killed or damaged everyone it had touched. He pictured his mother working at her tablet in her sickbed, advising and challenging people who were attempting to build something new right here on Earth. It wasn’t much of a contest. It wasn’t even close. The Beancounter’s Cat by Damien Broderick Weird fanciful story about a talking cat and a bureaucrat on an otherwise unique world. Interesting at first but the story goes nowhere in the end as the wise ‘acre’ cat and ‘beancounter’ explore and find things aren’t what they seem. Pointless! “Here, puss,” she called into the dusty lane. The beancounter poured milk into a blue-rimmed bowl, inviting this cat inside the doorway of her little house, which was located in the noisy, scrofulous Leechcraft District. She watched the elegant animal lapping, and pressed the palms of her hands together in front of her modest but respectable breast. “I believe I shall name you Ginger,” she told the cat with considerable satisfaction. “You are a most offensive creature,” the beancounter said reprovingly, although she tended to agree with him. “Here, come sit upon my lap.” The animal shot her a surprised look, then did as she suggested, springing, circling, snuggling down, heavy orange head leaned back against her modest breast. Dolly by Elizabeth Bear Very good story idea from Mrs. Bear about a ‘Sex Bot’ gone bad. 2 detectives solve the murder, but in this format (short story) Mrs. Bear is unable to expand on her tale in the allotted time she has set herself here. I was thinking that this would have been an interesting book. Mrs. Bear ends this story too quickly leaving us wondering what happens next. One must realize that writing short stories is an art form in itself, and endings must be solid and satisfying, quick and to the point! Immaculate and white, that is, except for the dead body of billionaire industrialist Clive Steele—and try to say that without sounding like a comic book—which lay at Dolly’s feet, his viscera blossoming from him like macabre petals. “Imagine spending half a mil on a sex toy,” Roz said, “only to have it rip your liver out.” She stepped back, arms folded. “He probably didn’t spend that much on her. His company makes accessory programs for them.” “Industry courtesy?” Roz asked. “Tax writeoff. Test model.” Peter was the department expert on Home companions. That provoked enthusiastic head-shaking. “No, it doesn’t get bored. It’s a tool, it’s a toy. A companion does not require an enriched environment. It’s not a dog or an octopus. You can store it in a closet when it’s not working.” Martian Heart by John Barnes Fine tale that ends sadly for a young man and his beloved. Teenagers on Earth Cap and Sam are captured and dropped on Mars where they soon turn their talents to Mining with a rig called Goodspeed. The two have a fiery and interesting rapport going. Sam comes down with a blood disease of sorts and well… it’s a fairly touching story actually. Orientation for Mars was ten days. The first day they gave us shots, bleached our tats into white blotches on our skin, and shaved our heads. They stuck us in ugly dumb coveralls and didn’t let us have real clothes that said anything, which they said was so we wouldn’t know who’d been what on Earth. Goodspeed was kind of a dumb name for a prospector’s gig. At best it could make maybe 40 km/hr, which is not what you call roaring fast. Then she said, “Cap, I like it here in Goodspeed. It’s home. It’s ours. I know I’m sick, and all I can do these days is sleep, but I don’t want to go to some hospital and have you only visit on your days off from a labor crew. Goodspeed is ours and I want to live here and try to keep it.” Earth Hour by Ken Macleod Tale about an assassin and his prey. Fast and edgy but not enough room to dwell deeper. Swift but untimely ending. The assassin had followed this trail already, an hour earlier, but it amused him to confirm it and to bring it up to date, with an overhead and a street-level view of the target’s unsuspecting stroll towards his hotel in Macleay Street. It amused him, too, that the target was simultaneously keeping a low profile—no media appearances, backstage at the conference, a hotel room far less luxurious than he could afford, vulgar as all hell, tarted in synthetic mahogany and artificial marble and industrial sheet diamond—while styling himself at every opportunity with the obsolete title under which he was most widely known, as though he revelled in his contradictory notoriety as a fixer behind the scenes, famous for being unnoticed. What a shit, the assassin thought, what a prick! That wasn’t the reason for killing him, but it certainly made it easier to contemplate. Glenda fell almost on top of him, all her limbs thrashing, her scream still splitting his ears. Angus raised his head and saw a feathered shaft sticking about six inches out of her shoulder. The wound was nothing like severe enough to merit the screams or the spasms. Toxin, then. Modified stonefish, at a guess. The idea wasn’t just that you died (though you did, in about a minute). You died in the worst pain it was possible to experience. The reaction caught up with Angus as soon as the hotel room door closed behind him. He rushed to the bathroom and vomited. Shaking, he stripped off. As he emptied his pockets before throwing the clothes in the basket he found he’d picked up Glenda’s lighter and cigarette pack. He put them to one side and showered. Afterwards he sat in a bathrobe on the balcony, sipping malt on an empty stomach and chain-smoking Glenda’s remaining cigarettes. She wouldn’t be needing these for a few months. By then she might not even want them—the hospital would no doubt throw in a fix for her addiction, at least on the physical level, as it regrew her body and repaired her brain. The Way It Works Out by Peter S. Beagle Sweet memories of a beloved eccentric a person that was a great friend of writer Beagle. Fanciful and rather touching in the end as Mr. Beagle’s friend Avram in the story recently passed on. A fine tribute to memory. It would be nice to see other writers doing the same. Death can be terrifyingly final, important to memorialize especially in this creative manner. Noted! “Anything’s possible. You know, the French rabbi Rashi—tenth, eleventh century—he was supposed—” “To be able to walk between the raindrops,” Avram interrupted impatiently. “Yes, well, maybe he did the same thing I’ve done. Maybe he found his way into the Overneath, like me.” We looked at each other: him waiting calmly for my reaction, me too bewildered to react at all. Finally I said, “The Overneath. Where’s that?” Don’t tell me I can’t come up with a swift zinger when I need to. “It’s all around us.” Avram made a sweeping semi-circle with his right arm, almost knocking over the next table’s excellent Pinot Grigio—Victor’s does tend to pack them in—and inflicting a minor flesh wound on the nearer diner, since Avram was still holding his fork. Avram said slowly, “A lot of people use the Overneath, Dom Pedro. Most are transients, passing through, getting from one place to another without buying gas. The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Nominated For Hugo) Fine story that has some similarities to the Holocaust about a young girl and her mother and friends who travel from planet to planet. There is a mentor for the young girl who was from a planet were a genocidal occurrence took place long ago. Intelligent work. I liked the completeness of the story. With a real ending. The Incorruptibles had passed half a dozen potential targets by now: the bank, the musical instrument store, the news service, the sex shop. They didn’t pause until they came to the small park that lay in the center of an intersection. With Magister Pregaldin there was no one else to wait for, and he pushed her mercilessly to the edge of her abilities. For the first time in her life, she wondered if she were smart enough. He was an exacting drillmaster in mathematics. Another thing that might be the last of its kind. This apartment was full of reminders of extinction, as if Magister Pregaldin could not free his mind of the thought. So she turned again to his library of books on the Holocide. The information was scattered and fragmentary, but after a few hours she had pieced together a list of seven mysterious murders on five planets that seemed to be revenge slayings. They sent him to Capella Two, a 25-year journey. By the time he arrived, the entire story had traveled ahead of him by pepci, and everything was known. His own role was infamous. He was the vile collaborator who had put a benign face on the crime. He had soothed people’s fears and deceived them into walking docilely to their deaths. In hindsight, it was inconceivable that he had not known what he was doing. All across the Twenty Planets, the name of Till Diwali was reviled. The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter I wasn’t too ‘wowed’ by this one by well known science fiction writer Baxter. Interesting was the interplay between the two main characters, still the scope may have been a bit to BIG for a short story. Finding life on Venus and an Alien attack as well. Not enough to go on in my opinion. Look, Edith. It was incredible. The Incoming assault on Venus lasted hours. Their weapon, whatever it was, burned its way through the Patch, and right down through an atmosphere a hundred times thicker than Earth’s. We even glimpsed the surface—” “Now melted to slag.” “Much of it … Digging by Ian McDonald Surely one of the best stories in the book this year is this one by McDonald about a young lady working an important ‘Dig’ on Mars. Actually Dozios has many Mars stories this year. I think that’s a good sign for science fiction. Maybe every Sci-Fi writer must write of Mars. Not a bad idea. Nice work here. Tash Gelem-Opunyo was wise to the ways of wind, and buckets, and random spiders and on Moving Day the wind was a long, many-part harmony for pipes drawn from the sand-polished steels rails, a flutter of the kites and blessing banners and windsocks and lucky fish that West Diggory flew from every rooftop and pylon and stanchion… …Tash could be related in a gene-pool of only two thousand people. The guys hooted. Tash shimmied her shoulders, where little birds were drawn. The boys liked her insulting them in words they didn’t understand. Listen well, look well. I’m the best show on Mars. Together, the Excavating Cities had a population of less than two thousand humans. Small, complex societies, isolated from the rest of the planet, gush words like springs, like torrents and floods. Milaba hesitated. The hesitation was death. The dusty-demon bore down on her, she tried to throw herself away but it spun over her, lifted her, threw her hard and fast, smashed her down on to the smooth polished olivine. But Milaba was so still, so cold. Her face was white with frost where her breath had frozen into her skin. It would never be the same again. Milaba knelt, turned her cheek to her In-Aunt’s lips. A whisper a sigh a suspicion a sussuration. Ascension Day by Alastair Reynolds Very brief story from Grand Master Reynolds. Concerning a ship captain who must finally blast off on a trading planet… the ship is apparently powered by a former ‘human being’. Interesting but like 5 little pages. Lauterecken stood on a balcony overlooking the chamber. In its middle, pinned in place by suspension fields, was something huge and living, but now dormant. It had been human once, Lauterecken was led to believe, but that seemed absurd. He touched controls set into the balcony’s railing. Signals wormed into the creature’s house-sized cortex, willing it from slumber. Over the course of a minute, monstrous eyes in a monstrous face opened to drowsy half-slits. “Lauterecken?” the voice was soft and intimate, and yet loud enough to rattle the balcony’s railing. “Yes,” he acknowledged. “Status?” “On course, sir. We should be at the transit point in three hours.” “Very good, Lauterecken. Is there anything I need to know?” “No, sir. All propulsion systems are nominal. The manifold is stable and holding.” “And our time on the planet … what was its name, again?” “Rhapsody, sir.” “Was it … profitable?” “I’d like to think so, sir. Our holds are full.” “I sense minor damage to our external cladding.” Lauterecken smiled quickly. “Nothing that won’t heal, sir.” After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. Mchugh Apocalypse stories are so prevalent these days that you’d think you’d heard and seen it all by now. Not so as every new disaster brings out the best or the beast in the lives of everyday man and woman. This one by Mrs. Mchugh is wonderfully brief but clear. Nice work with a bitter but very realistic ending, in my opinion. Young mother, young daughter… sad to think that this ending wouldn’t be all that unusual in such a time of trouble. Reality does have a nasty way of waking us up to the vagaries of life’s less friendly aspects! Scary but Nice! Jane can see her silhouette in the dirty glass and her hair is a snarled, curly, tangled rat’s nest. She runs her fingers through it and they snag. She’ll look for a scarf or something inside. She grabs the handle and yanks up, hard, trying to get the old slider off track. It takes a couple of tries but she’s had a lot of practice in the last few months. Inside the house is trashed. The kitchen has been turned upside-down, and silverware, utensils, drawers, broken plates, flour and stuff are everywhere. She picks her way across, a can opener skittering under her foot in a clatter. This isn’t the first time that they’ve run into a squatter. Squatters are cowards. The guy doesn’t have a gun and he’s not going to go out after dark. Franny has no spine, takes after her asshole of a father. Jane ran away from home and got all the way to Pasadena, California when she was a year older than Franny. People started showing up on the sidewalks. They had trash bags full of stuff. Sometimes they were alone, sometimes there would be whole families. Sometimes they’d have cars and they’d sleep in them, but gas was getting to almost $10 a gallon, when the gas stations could get it. Pete, the boyfriend, told her that the cops didn’t even patrol much anymore because of the gas problem. More and more of the people on the sidewalk looked to be walking. Then the fires started on the east side of town. The power went out and stayed out. Pete didn’t come home until the next day, and he slept a couple of hours and then went back out to work. The air tasted of smoke—not the pleasant clean smell of wood smoke, but a garbagy smoke. Franny complained that it made her sick to her stomach. After Pete didn’t come home for four days, it was pretty clear to Jane that he wasn’t coming back. Jane put Franny in the car, packed everything she could think of that might be useful. They got about 120 miles away, far enough that the burning city was no longer visible, although the sunset was a vivid and blistering red. A Long Way Home By Jay Lake Interesting story about an engineered man of sorts who lives a long long life on a planet that mysteriously loses it’s population, I mean everyone simply disappears! Known as ‘Howards’ these self-contained Lone Wolfs, are built to last. Ask spends many years on the planet looking for someone, anyone to be alive or a clue to who decimated the populace. At the end of the story you really wish there was more… Very nice! Pushing 800 years of age now himself, Ask had not yet surrendered to terminal boredom. Admittedly he found most people execrably vapid. About the time they’d gained enough life experience to have something interesting to say, they tended to die of old age. People came and people went, but there was always some fascinating hole in the ground with his name on it. Was he not just the last human being on this planet, but the last human being in the universe? Ask couldn’t figure out if that thought was paranoia, megalomania or simple common sense. Or worse, all three. JUNE 6TH, 2997 [RTS-RA] On the twentieth year of his hegira, Aeschylus Sforza began to compose epic poetry. His Howard-enhanced memory being by definition perfected, he had no trouble recalling his verse, but still he took the trouble to refine the rhymes and meter so that should someone else ever have call to memorize the tale of his walk home around Redghost, they could do so. Over the years he had found and buried twenty-three people. The Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson Everyone loves Comic Books. Imagine a story that actually seems more Comic Book than written story. The Incredible Exploding Man seems that way. Really way, way over the top story about a scientific experiment gone wrong. Think Doctor Manhattan in Hell. It all somehow works. I enjoyed how writer Hutchinson carried the lunacy of the story along. There is that great trepidation to such accidents! Sad and very scary I’d love to see a whole book of this. The only thing missing was the Artist and Marvel Comics! “Obviously this … person is dangerous,” one of the middle-aged men said. “Any help you could give us would be very much appreciated.” I sighed. I took the table to pieces and put it back together in a shape that I found rather pleasing. Nobody else in the room found it pleasing at all, though, judging by the way they all jumped up and ran screaming for the door. I slipped away from the manacles and went back there. Unfortunately, it’s like being one of the gods H.P. Lovecraft used to write about, immense and unfathomable and entirely without human scruple. So far, the human race is lucky that Larry seems unable to quite get the knack of godhood. None of us can work out why I acclimatized to it so easily, or why it’s still so difficult for Larry, why returning him there screws him up all over again while I can cross back-and-forth at will, without harm. Why would a godlike transdimensional superhero want to look like a tubby balding middle-aged man? If I wanted, I could look like Lady Gaga or Robert Downey, Jr., or an enormous crystal eagle, but what I really want is to be ordinary again, and that, of all things, I cannot do. The Cold Step Beyond by Ian R. Macleod RAN OUT OF ROOM... SEE ORIGINAL AT: http://clayscottbrown.biz/kindle/2012...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    What a difference five years makes. Unlike The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, TYBSF2011 has very few LGBTQ characters. Many of the stories have no female characters, to say nothing of passing the Bechdel test. This isn't to say that the stories aren't varied and engaging – they are – or that the writing isn't good – it is, although the proofreading leaves something to be desired – just that the breadth of people you meet while reading this book isn't as broad as it could have been. What a difference five years makes. Unlike The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, TYBSF2011 has very few LGBTQ characters. Many of the stories have no female characters, to say nothing of passing the Bechdel test. This isn't to say that the stories aren't varied and engaging – they are – or that the writing isn't good – it is, although the proofreading leaves something to be desired – just that the breadth of people you meet while reading this book isn't as broad as it could have been. Beyond that, and the sub-par proofreading, I have no complaints. The Choice by Paul McAuley: an alien ship crash lands on the shore of an England transformed by climate change, with unforeseen consequences. Mentions of murder and child abuse. Fails the Bechdel test. A Soldier of the City by David Moles: Spacefaring civilizations war with each other when a breach of the unwritten rules of engagement causes their gods to enter the fray. Bombings and war violence; fails the Bechdel test. The Beancounter's Cat by Damien Broderick: Adopting a strange stray cat triggers a chain of events leading to the end of the world. Passes the Bechdel test! Irritating mentions of breast size irrelevant to the story as a whole. Dolly by Elizabeth Bear: A robot murder-mystery; a whydunit rather than whodunit with elements of homage to Isaac Asimov. Content warnings for graphic, violent murder and mentions of sexual assault. Passes the Bechdel test. Martian Heart by John Barnes: A tragic romance about the hidden problems of colonizing a new planet. Earth Hour by Ken MacLeod: Political and business intrigue spills over into assassinations as multi-billion dollar corporations vie for control of the developments that will hand them the future on a silver platter. Content warnings for graphic descriptions of violence. Laika`s Ghost by Karl Schroeder: Unexpected developments in the nuclear arms race create opportunities for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Online, and disturbing challenges for people working against nuclear terrorism. The Dala Horse by Michael Swanwick: A story that starts out as fairy tale and morphs into a sci-fi journey centered around a little girl, a troll, and an unusual toy horse. The Way it Works Out and All by Peter S Beagle: an homage to a work by Avram Davidson featuring interconnected subspace tunnels populated by eerie, malevolent beings. The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ives Gilman: A teenager makes an unexpected discovery relating to a genocide that happened 141 years ago on another planet, and which she witnessed. Content warnings for genocide, lynching and disturbing language around transgender characters. The Copenhagen Interpretation by Paul Cornell: Set in an alternate future 19th century Europe, spy Jonathan Hamilton bumps into an old girlfriend and almost unleashes World War III. Content warnings for torture and violence. The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter: The question of whether we are the only intelligent life is incontrovertibly answered as Earth witnesses a cosmic battle between forces which ignore us completely. Digging by Ian McDonald: A terraforming project on a future Mars stretches over decades. Passes the Bechdel test. Ascension Day by Alastair Reynolds: A ship docked for almost a century finally leaves the planet for further interstellar trading. Fails the Bechdel test. After the Apocalypse by Maureen F McHugh: A scarily plausible glimpse at a future America where the apocalypse has crept in an inch at a time. Passes the Bechdel test. Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M Valente: Valente weaves a fairy tale/sci-fi mash up exploring what it means to be human, and where the dividing line between human and machine rests. Content warnings for violence and incest. Passes the Bechdel test. A Long Way Home by Jay Lake: This single character story focuses on an immortal who resurfaces from exploring a cave system to discover that he is the only person left alive on the whole planet, with no idea of what happened. Content warnings for child abuse and some tragic deaths. The Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson: Hutchinson melds comic book superheros and science fiction, with a dash of Large Hadron Collider (this time built in Sioux Crossing) disaster setting everything off. No female characters. What We Found by Geoff Ryman: Scientists make the unusual discovery that repeating experiments to replicate the results causes those effects to decrease until they are no better than chance. This is interwoven with the narrator`s depressing childhood, surrounded by physically and emotionally abusive relatives. Further content warnings for toxic depictions of mental illness and cross-dressing. Passes the Bechdel test. A Response from EST17 by Tom Purdom: The first contact scenario is flipped on its head here as competing probes from Earth enter negotiations with an alien civilization that may or may not hold the key to humanity`s survival, but with a heavy price. Fails the Bechdel test. The Cold Step Beyond by Ian R MacLeod: This future civilization sends out bioengineered warriors to defeat monsters on other planets, when our warrior faces one that isn`t as it seems. Passes the Bechdel test, majority female characters. Content warnings for blood, violence, and the death of a child. A Militant Peace by David Klecha and Tobias S Buckell: Set in North Korea, nations join forces for an ingenious, non-violent invasion. Passes the Bechdel test, majority of non-white characters. Content warnings for war-related violence and bombings. The Ants of Flanders by Robert Reed: Take World War I and turn the competing soldiers into aliens, set their battle on Earth, and make humanity into ants on the battleground. Fails the Bechdel test. The Vicar of Mars by Gwyneth Jones: An alien vicar on colonized Mars comes across a potential parishoner with some unusual issues in this creepy space ghost story. The Smell of Orange Groves by Lavie Tidhar: Tel Aviv hosts this story with a twist on immortality: memories passed down like genes. Majority POC, fails the Bechdel test. The Iron Shirts by Michael F Flynn: An alternate history 13th century Ireland, with complicated political intrigues and a complicated cast. Fails the Bechdel test. Cody by Pat Cadigan: Science discovers how to send information encoding in the DNA of human messengers, and how to intercept those messages. Fails the Bechdel test, content warnings for kidnapping and non-consensual medical procedures. For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I`ll Not Be Back Again by Michael Swanwick: Future Ireland is still embattled, and an American tourist getting ready to emigrate to a space colony winds up sucked into the fray. Fails the Bechdel test. Ghostweight by Yoon Ha Lee: Her desperate quest for vengeance puts this young woman and her accompanying ghost in life-threatening positions. Majority female characters. Content warnings for war-related violence. Digital Rites by Jim Hawkins: The simultaneous deaths of famous actors all belonging to one studio turn out to be foul play in this fast-paced cross between a police procedural and sci-fi thriller. Content warnings for graphic deaths, murder, and kidnapping. Also had unnecessary discussions of the few female characters` breasts, while still failing the Bechdel test. The Boneless One by Alec Nevala-Lee: Scientists on a billionaire`s yacht attempting to apply genome sequencing to the microbial contents of the ocean expose themselves to something with disturbing consequences. Passes the Bechdel test. Content warnings for violence, murder, self-harm, and gore. Dying Young by Peter M Ball: Sci-fi, spaghetti western, and fantasy all mush together here in a pitiful western town pinned under the thumb of a malicious doctor. No female characters. Content warnings for violence and gore. Canterbury Hollow by Chris Lawson: As a dying sun burns a planet and forces the inhabitants into over-crowded cave systems, requiring them to implement a lottery system to keep the population under control, two citizens fall in love. Content warnings for suicide. The Vorkuta Event by Ken MacLeod: A Lovecraftian tale set in Cold War Russia, where we learn the possible future is much more disturbing than we think. No female characters. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson: My favourite story in this anthology, a bridge-builder comes to an alien world to link towns divided by a strange and dangerous river. Passes the Bechdel test. Many of these stories I wish had been longer, and I would be happy to read full-length novels with the same plot. But many of them were perfectly packaged and I am delighted to have read them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    Paul McAuley: "The Choice" - dull David Moles: "A Soldier of the City" - OK Damien Broderick: "The Beancounter's Cat" - ok Elizabeth Bear: "Dolly" - good John Barnes: "Martian Heart" - good Ken MacLeod: "Earth Hour" - OK Karl Schroeder: "Laika's Ghost" - dull Michael Swanwick: "The Dala Horse" - ok Peter S. Beagle: "The Way It Works Out and All" - ok Carolyn Ives Gilman: "The Ice Owl" - dull, didn't finish Paul Cornell: "The Copenhagen Interpretation" - dull, didn't finish Stephen Baxter: "The Invasion of Paul McAuley: "The Choice" - dull David Moles: "A Soldier of the City" - OK Damien Broderick: "The Beancounter's Cat" - ok Elizabeth Bear: "Dolly" - good John Barnes: "Martian Heart" - good Ken MacLeod: "Earth Hour" - OK Karl Schroeder: "Laika's Ghost" - dull Michael Swanwick: "The Dala Horse" - ok Peter S. Beagle: "The Way It Works Out and All" - ok Carolyn Ives Gilman: "The Ice Owl" - dull, didn't finish Paul Cornell: "The Copenhagen Interpretation" - dull, didn't finish Stephen Baxter: "The Invasion of Venus" - dull Ian McDonald: "Digging" - good Alastair Reynolds: "Ascension Day" - good Maureen McHugh: "After the Apocalypse" - good Catherynne M. Valente: "Silently and Very Fast" - dull Jay Lake: "A Long Way Home" - ok Dave Hutchinson: "The Incredible Exploding Man" - good Geoff Ryman: "What We Found" - dull Tom Purdom: "A Response from EST17" - dull, didn't finish Ian R. MacLeod: "The Cold Step Beyond" - good David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell: "A Militant Peace" - dull Robert Reed: "The Ants of Flanders" - ok Gwyneth Jones: "The Vicar of Mars" - good Lavie Tidhar: "The Smell of Orange Groves" - ok Michael Flynn: "The Iron Shirts" - good Pat Cadigan: "Cody" - very good Michael Swanwick: "For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I'll Not Be Back Again" Yoon Ha Lee: "Ghostweight" - ok Jim Hawkins: "Digital Rites" Alec Nevala-Lee: "The Boneless One" Peter M. Ball: "Dying Young" Chris Lawson: "Canterbury Hollow" Ken MacLeod: "The Vorkuta Event" - quite good Kij Johnson: "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" - very good

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Just read The Honeycrafters by Carolyn Ives Gilman.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Streator Johnson

    Though not quite as good as otheres in this series, still Gardner does a great job picking out enjoyable short stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robin Helweg-Larsen

    Long ago I used to think Donald Wollheim produced the best annual collections of SF. Later it was David Hartwell, until he got infected by Kathryn Cramer's not-so-sf input. For the last many years the greatest annual collection has been assembled by Gardner Dozois. If you want to read the cutting edge of SF (and therefore, in a sense, of culture and literature) you MUST read these books.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Brown

    I almost always give this anthology 5 stars. This volume had probably four stories that were so out there that I couldn't wrap my brain around them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    There is a vast amount of science fiction published in any given year. For almost thirty years Gardner Dozois has culled through the published stories to compile The Year's Best Science Fiction. This edition contains a breadth of stories that spans from fantasy and horror to hard science fiction and space opera. The anthology was included in my reading for a summer course at the University of Chicago. In addition to preparation for our discussion each week the stories share another aspect that k There is a vast amount of science fiction published in any given year. For almost thirty years Gardner Dozois has culled through the published stories to compile The Year's Best Science Fiction. This edition contains a breadth of stories that spans from fantasy and horror to hard science fiction and space opera. The anthology was included in my reading for a summer course at the University of Chicago. In addition to preparation for our discussion each week the stories share another aspect that kept me reading; they were all well written, some exceptionally so. With thirty-five stories I can only share a list of some of my favorites among them. These included "The Beancounters Cat" by Damien Broderick, "Martian Heart" by John Barnes, "The Invasion of Venus" by Stephen Baxter, "After the Apocalypse" by Maureen F. McHugh, "The Smell of Orange Groves" by Lavie Tidhar (perhaps the most poetic of the stories), "Cody" by Pat Cadigan, and "The Boneless One" by Alec Nevala-Lee (This last a true Science Fiction horror story). For this reader the best story was the last in the collection, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson. I liked it because it won me over in the sense that when I began to read it I thought I would not like it both because it was too long (one of the two longest in the collection) and because it appeared to be too fantasy-oriented for my taste (a taste that runs more to science--believable or not). It defied my expectations with beautiful writing while demonstrating universal themes of love, friendship, achievement, and death while providing a consistent alien background in both the social and scientific sense. Johnson's story proved a worthy capstone to a great collection of twenty-first century Science Fiction.With more than two dozen other stories there are sure to be several that will please the reading palate of any who enjoy Science Fiction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alison C

    Every year, I look forward to Gardner Dozois's anthology, The Year's Best Science Fiction, this year up to the Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection. I'm a fan of short-length science fiction, but these days regularly only read one magazine in that genre, so this volume gives me the chance to discover the best work in that format from the previous year. Of course, my taste and that of Dozois are not identical, and there are stories here that did not appeal to me (mostly the farther ranges of the "hard Every year, I look forward to Gardner Dozois's anthology, The Year's Best Science Fiction, this year up to the Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection. I'm a fan of short-length science fiction, but these days regularly only read one magazine in that genre, so this volume gives me the chance to discover the best work in that format from the previous year. Of course, my taste and that of Dozois are not identical, and there are stories here that did not appeal to me (mostly the farther ranges of the "hard science" part of sf/f, although my previous complaint that writers of such stories tend to give short shrift to character development is less true than it used to be). But there are also stories that I loved: Damien Broderick's "The Beancounter's Cat"; "The Copenhagen Interpretation," by Paul Cornell; Maureen F. McHugh's "After the Apocalypse"; "A Long Way Home," by Jay Lake; "The Vicar of Mars," by Gwyneth Jones; and probably my favourite, Kij Johnson's "The Man Who Bridged the Mist." This handful of titles encompasses stories ranging from far-flung planetary adventures to the day after tomorrow here on Earth; the style and length of each varies, but all are excellent examples of the very large body of work loosely described as sf/f. If you're interested in short and novella-length science fiction and don't know where to start, this volume is, in my opinion, the single best investment you could make, but be warned: once you discover this world, there's no turning back! Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Voodoo Shampoo

    1st story - The Choice by Paul McAuley : very slow paced and very long introduction into a boring and not very plausible world build. For example humans sell the secret of coca cola to aliens. Overall a dull story bombarded with descriptive narrative trying to make a poorly thought sci-fi idea look interesting. You can skip this story half way through as it's rather disappointing in regards of how poor the idea itself is. In fact it's 3.5 pages worth of story diluted into 35 pages. (view spoiler)[a 1st story - The Choice by Paul McAuley : very slow paced and very long introduction into a boring and not very plausible world build. For example humans sell the secret of coca cola to aliens. Overall a dull story bombarded with descriptive narrative trying to make a poorly thought sci-fi idea look interesting. You can skip this story half way through as it's rather disappointing in regards of how poor the idea itself is. In fact it's 3.5 pages worth of story diluted into 35 pages. (view spoiler)[a so called dragon which is an alien engineered biological creature, that digests plastic waste into something more environmental friendly, gets stranded and the army blows it up to find out what's inside. The main character gets hit by a small shard that gives him cancer along with an overdose of confidence and he gets killed. The end. (hide spoiler)] Old overused story idea that had a mediocre potential to begin with looses all it's potential shortly after it gets introduced 12 pages after the story begins. * ~ 2nd story: A soldier of the city by David Moles A princess (wannabe goddess) is killed and Ish is mad so he is angry and rages and takes revenge. A story about overcoming false gods, overly dramatized, poorly displayed and poorly formatted. Horrid story. *

  24. 5 out of 5

    prk

    Read as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. Set in Nigeria, this is a Nebula Award winning tale of the family life of a young Nigerian boy, Patrick, who grows to become a respected professor, discovering that stress and trauma are genetically passed down. When others have trouble replicating his results, he and others discover that the process of science, observing and documenting, "fades" it, until it no longer applies. Personally, I really disliked this novelette, and only the fact it was short Read as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. Set in Nigeria, this is a Nebula Award winning tale of the family life of a young Nigerian boy, Patrick, who grows to become a respected professor, discovering that stress and trauma are genetically passed down. When others have trouble replicating his results, he and others discover that the process of science, observing and documenting, "fades" it, until it no longer applies. Personally, I really disliked this novelette, and only the fact it was short kept me reading it. I didn't care a whit about Patrick's family life, environment, and upbringing, and did not get nearly enough exploration on the speculative fiction topics to make it worth reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

    Huge collection, and I'd rate most of the contributions as solid "B"s. The only real duds, I thought, were the Moles, the MacLeod, the Baxter, the Valente and the Tidhar. But you really shouldn't miss Michael Swanwick's first story, Ryman's, the Kletcha/Buckell, Flynn (great use of language), Yoon Ha Lee (nanotech origami!), Hawkins, Ball (future spaghetti western SF) and especially the capper, by Kij Johnson, which is full of likeable people doing good work in a strange environment. Money Lines: Huge collection, and I'd rate most of the contributions as solid "B"s. The only real duds, I thought, were the Moles, the MacLeod, the Baxter, the Valente and the Tidhar. But you really shouldn't miss Michael Swanwick's first story, Ryman's, the Kletcha/Buckell, Flynn (great use of language), Yoon Ha Lee (nanotech origami!), Hawkins, Ball (future spaghetti western SF) and especially the capper, by Kij Johnson, which is full of likeable people doing good work in a strange environment. Money Lines: "My mother got pregnant without my father's consent, and when she refused to have an abortion he sued her for copyright infringement." (Gilman) "Paparazzi! She has lived her life surrounded by paparazzi the way a dead dog lives its death surrounded by blowflies." (Hawkins)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Hepple

    The Mammoth Book of the Best New SF 25 was published in 2012 and includes 36 stories first published in 2011, each with a short intro about the author excepting a couple of instances where more than one story by that author is included. A lengthy foreword summarises the years developments in the genre, whilst an afterword lists other good stories from the year that failed to make the list. The use of the term ‘best’ is bound to be subjective, but I did find most of the stories rather good with o The Mammoth Book of the Best New SF 25 was published in 2012 and includes 36 stories first published in 2011, each with a short intro about the author excepting a couple of instances where more than one story by that author is included. A lengthy foreword summarises the years developments in the genre, whilst an afterword lists other good stories from the year that failed to make the list. The use of the term ‘best’ is bound to be subjective, but I did find most of the stories rather good with only about four duds. A good selection of fashionable sub-genres are included, and the collection is very enjoyable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wole Talabi

    I really liked this collection. There are a lot of stories in it, none of them was weak or boring. I took my time reading them all with lots of breaks in between. Although I couldn't really get into 'Cody' by Pat Cadigan, no matter how hard I tried. Just not my kind of story I guess. Some really great, standout stories that I loved from this edition: -Ken McLeod's 'Earth Hour' -Maureen McHugh's 'After the Apocalypse' -Dave Hutchinson's 'The Incredible Exploding Man' -Geoff Ryman's 'What We Found' -To I really liked this collection. There are a lot of stories in it, none of them was weak or boring. I took my time reading them all with lots of breaks in between. Although I couldn't really get into 'Cody' by Pat Cadigan, no matter how hard I tried. Just not my kind of story I guess. Some really great, standout stories that I loved from this edition: -Ken McLeod's 'Earth Hour' -Maureen McHugh's 'After the Apocalypse' -Dave Hutchinson's 'The Incredible Exploding Man' -Geoff Ryman's 'What We Found' -Tobais S Buckell's 'A Militant Peace' -Kij Johnson's 'The Man Who Bridged the Mist' and -Tom Purdom's 'A response from EST17' Lots of other enjoyable stories here as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Like all compilations it had its ups and downs. I felt it started off slow, meaning the earlier stories were not as good as the later ones, but all in all it was enjoyable. I had some favorites: "Silently and Very Fast" and "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" were both quite beautiful. "The Incredible Exploding Man" was creative, and truly made use of the science in science fiction. "The Cold Step Beyond" was also good: somehow tragic, horrific, and sweet all at the same time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Graham

    Dozois is always my favored Best of the Year Collection. Particular favorites in this volume were Elizabeth Bear's "Dolly", Karl Schroeder's "Laika's Ghost", Michael Swanwick's "The Dala Horse", Catherynne Valente's "Silently and Very Fast", Tom Purdom's "A Response from EST17" and Kij Johnson's "The Man Who Bridged the Mist". Whether the last is science fiction is debatable; it's about the effects of technology on lives but it's arguably a secondary-world fantasy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom Negrino

    Read as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. I understand this novelette won the Nebula Award this year. I cannot for the life of me imagine why. The essentially plotless story of a scientist growing up in Nigeria meanders on for a while, then falls over from lack of interest and ends. The story's science (the hook for calling it "SF" at all) becomes increasingly ridiculous and unbelievable. Run away.

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