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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection

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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 and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore id 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 and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world through their short stories. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley and John Barnes. And with an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre. The multiple Locus Award-winning annual compilation of the year's best science fiction stories


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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 and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore id 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 and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world through their short stories. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley and John Barnes. And with an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre. The multiple Locus Award-winning annual compilation of the year's best science fiction stories

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    As usual, I'll review each tale as I come to it: Weep for Day by Indrapramit Das To radically misquote Chekov ‘if an olde style knight shows up in the first act, he should be important in the third’. That doesn’t happen here and the fact that there are knights just becomes an odd little quirk, a touch to make the story a little more interesting, rather than something important and meaningful. We’re in a planet that’s half in light and half in darkness, where the humans of the light grow up scared As usual, I'll review each tale as I come to it: Weep for Day by Indrapramit Das To radically misquote Chekov ‘if an olde style knight shows up in the first act, he should be important in the third’. That doesn’t happen here and the fact that there are knights just becomes an odd little quirk, a touch to make the story a little more interesting, rather than something important and meaningful. We’re in a planet that’s half in light and half in darkness, where the humans of the light grow up scared of the monsters in the darkness. With knights and shadow monsters it’s clearly more science fantasy than science fiction, though it clearly offers a commentary on colonialism, as well as one genuinely creepy moment. However the story is far too ponderous to avoid being anything other than irritating. The Man by Paul McAully In a human settlement on a distant planet (which also, like the last story, exists half in sunlight and half in darkness) a man arrives at an old lady's shack. The man looks human, but is obviously made of plastic and probably originates in the strange distant factory which is indigenous to the planet. Although she's initially wary, the man proves his usefulness to the woman and she comes to regard him almost as a friend, but trouble of course isn't far away. 'The Man' follows the beats of the typical Frankenstein story and so has a lot to say about humanity both good and bad. And like the best versions of Frankenstein, it manages to combine a fear of the unknown with a big open heart The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake Faith versus science and rationality in a gripping tale which may suffer a little from wearing its argument large on its sleeve, but never lets that argument overwhelm the humanity at the centre of the tale. With its alternative Catholic Church and a world dominant government centred in Africa, this does feel like alternative history. But those changes aren't just cosmetic, but differences enough to make this world seem alien but also very much Earth. A young and ambitious scientist gives a lecture which challenges thousands of years of teachings and belief. Although his talk is swiftly shut down, the secular and religious authorities nevertheless take a great interest in him. But it seems he has no idea just how important his discovery is. This kind of story (nearly) always comes down on the same side of this debate, and this is no different – but it does manage a few surprises along the way. The Memcordist by Lavie Tidhar On Mars in the future The Truman Show meets Twitter, as a man has every moment of his life followed and these followers subscribe or unsubscribe depending on how interesting his life seems to be at that moment. The actual meat of the story is slender (boy meets girl, boy loses girl), but I like that this story follows living one’s life in public to its logical conclusion and doesn’t find a pretty place. The Girl Who went out for Sushi by Pat Cardigan A cheerful, chatty tale which, whatever else you might say about it, is bursting with originality. On the Jupiter colony of the future, human beings can elect to mutate into sushi (basically shell-fish) to better survive the Jupiter atmosphere and increase their longevity. A female biped named Fry, one of those genius beauty queens we’re always reading about, decides to change, but it’s a decision which has surprising ramifications. I’ll admit that I enjoyed this story whilst also being baffled by it. I couldn’t quite work out what it was aiming for: a comment on transsexuality perhaps, or maybe self-determination. It’s meaning is elusive and I doubt I’d come up with a definitive answer if I studied it eight hours a day for a week, so perhaps I’ll just say for now that it exists to be bafflingly entertaining. Holmes Sherlock by Eleanor Arnason On a distant planet an alien race called the hwarhath find themselves at war with us humans. So they can know their enemy, the hwarhath translate human writings. A young woman translator, who focuses on fiction, becomes obsessed with Sherlock Holmes – to the point where she wears a cape and smokes a pipe. It’s seen as just an affectation, but when a mystery develops in her small town, her new investigative powers are called for. With the story’s fjords and remote fishing village setting, I thought at first we were with Norwegian aliens. That would have made sense, Scandinavian crime fiction was the ‘in-thing’ a few years back and refuses to go away. But actually the story’s aim is more subtle than that, as in its fog, its fear of scandal and its rigid view of morality (to the point where the promiscuous woman has to go live in shadows) it’s a version of the Victorian age. But since this is a version run by women (not just with a woman figurehead) there’s the sense that it’s ultimately and quietly a more understanding place than our Victorian society. A clever and intriguing, small-scale tale. Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light by Richard A. Lovett and William Gleason This tale of a witness, a policeman and a cop with personal issues meeting in a wilderness could of course actually be set anywhere. It could be set in the deserts of Arizona in the 1920s, or it could be set in the tundra of Norway now. Setting it in a future moon colony then is almost incidental, in fact it could be seen as a gimmick. But what works in this tale’s favour are the details. Not just the detail of what it might be like to fly to the moon, or to operate in its gravity, but far deeper and more thought out than that. This is a story which looks at what it would be like to exist on the lowest rung of a new Luna society. To be one of those people who does a dangerous job, who isn’t paid much, who is out of sight and out of mind. This isn’t a tale about heroes and pioneers (although there are heroes present) but a look at the oft-forgotten science fiction working man – and that makes ‘Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light’ somewhat special. Close Encounters by Andy Duncan In the late 1970s there was a spate of UFO sightings in America. These sightings were later attributed to the popularity of the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (just as the similar spate in Britain in 2006-2007 can probably be attributed to the rejuvenated ‘Doctor Who’) and people desperate for a mystical alien encounter. Here that 1970s UFO spotting craze meets a more lurid 1950s pulp fiction aesthetic, as a grumpy old man who used to claim that he was taken on visits to the wonderful cities of Venus, Mars and the Moon by an alien entity named ‘Bob Solomon’, is visited by a pushy young reporter writing a piece inspired by the Spielberg film. A fun tale, although one which wears its twist a little too openly. The Finite Canvass by Brit Mandelo An autumnal tale set on a dying Earth, where a disgraced young medic finds herself employed by a mob assassin to carve one final, beautiful, memorable scar into her hard and already deeply marked skin. There’s a great atmosphere in this tale, a real sense of a world broken and lives that have been twisted and pulled apart. Unfortunately it manages to go on for too long, but never really sell the love story at its centre. Steamgothic by Sean McMullen Steampunk can be fun if used to serve a story. It can add new and unexpected twists, as well as bringing out interesting wrinkles in genre clichés. Here though the steampunk is the be all and end all, and the result feels as malnourished as a Victorian urchin whose photon batteries are running down. The plot is simple: some steam heads try to restore a vintage plane. It does build to an ingenious ending, but I wish it had aimed its sighs higher than just atmosphere and a fetishism of itself. In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear CSI: Futuristic New Delhi. There’s a lot of charm and imagination to this sci-fi police procedural. Rather than just having future cops investigate a murder, Bear makes sure that every aspect of the crime (motive, method, execution) are decidedly futuristic. But even then, more than just being some crime yarn, the investigation is used to create a believable and realised world: a version of our future which is both scary and optimistic. Throughout the story there are two disparate strands and Bear winds them together marvellously at the end, to say a great deal about memory, the distance between people and how we live today. And really, who could ask for more crammed into a short story? Macy Minnot’s Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler’s Green, The Potter’s Garden by Paul McAuley Truly crap title! The second of Paul McAuley’s entries in this volume lacks the intrigue of ‘The Man’. Essentially a travelogue and an oral history of a moon of Saturn and beyond, it’s not without its strange charms or ethereal beauty, but it is without a gripping narrative. Twenty Lights to ‘The Land of Snow’ by Michael Bishop Undoubtedly we have some first class world building going on here. We’re in space with hundreds of Buddhists when the Dali-Lama dies and his successor is chosen. There’s a great understanding of how the society of this strange spaceship works, of how a spiritual (and less than spiritual) world fits inside it and how the various cliques who populate it rub together. It’s clearly an environment Bishop has thought deeply about and the result is one of the best world-scapes (spaceship-scapes) so far in this volume. The plot however is too languid and tranquil. Furthermore – to misquote Chekov again – if one is going to raise the possibility of a murder having been committed in the first act, then one should really have a giggling murderer by the third. Obviously tranquillity is a strong aspect of Buddhism and so that fits in well with the overall theme, but tranquillity does make for a rather uncompelling tale. Astrophilia by Carrie Vaughan Folk science fiction: the kind that takes us after the technological fall, where people have been forced to return to more rural ways and much of our knowledge has been lost. ‘Astrophilia’ is a love story centred on the beauty of astronomy, set in a small but perfectly encapsulated world. It’s not a story which plays for high stakes, but it’s certainly affecting. What did Tessimond Tell You? By Adam Roberts Do you remember what young Alvy Singer was terrified of? You know, Woody Allen’s character in ‘Annie Hall’, who as a young boy had a terror of the universe expanding so far it would tear apart. Of course, he was reassured (or kind of reassured) that the universe nothing to do with Brooklyn and so he was okay, but clearly that fear holds in various quarters as here it is at the centre piece of this short story. (Probably I should have given a spoiler alert there. That fear isn’t actually articulated until late in the story, but I guessed that it was at the root of events a couple of pages in and so feel no guilt about giving the information away). It’s a chatty and very English tale, but I’m of the school that you should never worry about stuff you can’t do anything about, and since the big scary denouement that’s supposed to shake our insides is definitely something we can’t do anything about, then I really didn’t find this tale that gripping or affecting. Old Paint by Megan Lindholm Here’s a futuristic tale with a deliberate 1950s vibe. It’s the 2030s (so about twenty years from now) and apparently we all have super intelligent cars which can drive themselves and render the concept of driving as we know it obsolete. The mother of our narrator inherits a vintage car from her grandfather. It’s vintage in the sense of being about twelve years old and partly computerised, but it’s also designed to look like a 1950s station wagon. We’re even told it would be great for old-time surfers. The car then is a curiosity in the neighbourhood, but when a computer virus attacks all cars, this vintage automobile reveals some surprising depths. There’s an overt link between the car and teenagers, in that you should encourage some wild behaviour lest the car/boy become stifled, but overall it’s a somewhat tame tale. Reading it though I couldn’t help but thinking this is the kind of story Stephen King likes to write. Then I realised he has written it. More than once. Chitai Heiki Koronbin by David Moles Of course the notion of giant robots battling Lovecroftian monsters is always going to appeal to the teenage boy within me, and I’m delighted to say that David Moles’ story does not disappoint. Without getting caught up in the hardware of it all, he vividly captures both the harshness and the excitement of this ongoing battle. Furthermore in a few brush strokes Moles conjures up this torn world, one which recognisable grew out of our world, but is so bruised, broken and different. This is not though a short story which forgets humanity, with the pilots of these robots being very much to the fore. So we have the isolation of being part of the elite chosen to save the world, of being locked in a capsule in mortal combat, of being trapped in a base on the North Pole with few friends around you. Even though the people in these robots seem to be winning, these same people are undeniably suffering. That same humanity also leads to one of my favourite twists in this type of story, and a twist – even though it is of the kind that I would consider ‘favourite’ – I in no way saw coming. Okay, the actual ending is abrupt and a little disappointing, but this is a fully realised and gripping tale which probably wants to be a big Hollywood blockbuster, but actually has too much heart for that. Katabasis by Robert Reed Katabasis is a porter; an alien (although really she would regard us as the aliens), she makes a living aiding and even carrying human beings in the crossing of a vast wilderness. It’s a journey as treacherous as any in the known universe and Katabasis makes a good crust through ensuring that her human clients always make it back. As her latest journey unfolds, it recalls another earlier journey of her life: one which explains how this strange alien ended up far from home doing such a strange job. Much, much more science fantasy than science fiction (impossible spacecraft and immortal beings abound) ‘Katabasis’ is all about the journey rather than the destination. There is no Shangri-la at the end of this trip, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But even though a certain level of anti-climax is then built into this tale, ‘Katabasis’ does unexpectedly and touchingly conjure up a tender love story. The Water Thief by Alastair Reynolds In a refugee camp in the future, a young mother does all the jobs she can to earn a better life for herself and her daughter. Deep down she knows it’s almost an impossible task as she can never really dig herself out of her pit, but still she strives. But how far would she go to secure this distant and vague future, would she actually sell her soul? ‘The Water Thief’ is set in that kind of dark and desperate post-apocalyptic future we’ve seen so many times before, but here Reynolds bends over backwards to shine a light of decent humanity. There are good people here, and even the baddish people are just overly bureaucratic or place their own self-interest too high. This is above all a hopeful story and is highly refreshing. Okay the two halves of the tale dovetail together too efficiently, but this is a skilful and quite beautiful tale. Nightside on Callisto by Linda Nagata Three old ladies battle killer robots on one of the moons of Jupiter. What more do you really need? Medical science has advanced to a point where the ladies are more sprightly at a hundred than was hitherto the case, and the spacesuits they wear triples their strength – but still these killer robots are a deadly threat and they are learning fresh fighting skills with every new skirmish. Perhaps the most fun story in this entire collection. Nagata takes what looks like an absurd situation and runs with it to make it as a real and as adrenalin pounding as any Hollywood blockbuster. And really, who wouldn’t like to see Dames Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Angela Lansbury in an adaptation of this? Under the Eaves by Lavie Tidhar Like many ideas in this story, the futeristic Tel-Aviv setting is one I wish more had been made of. ‘’Under the Eaves’ is a languid tale, which wants to say profound things about love and religion and humanity, but is more of a pencil sketch than something fully formed. Sudden, Broken and Unexpected by Steven Popkes So here’s a satire on manufactured pop where the manufactured pop sensations are all digital constructs artificial intelligences created by corporations. It’s not a bad idea, but it frequently descends into philosophical musings about music (as well as pretentious analysis of the made up songs), individuality and the true nature of being alive, all of which are dreadfully worthy and tedious. Having been bored by Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ this last Sunday night (and noted that that episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ where Raj falls in love with Siri was on E4 again last night) I find myself in totally the wrong place to enjoy another ‘virtual intelligence surprises with its humanity’ tale. Especially one as frequently ponderous as this. Fireborn by Robert Charles Wilson Undoubtedly my appreciation of this tale of a celestial dance contest was marred by the fact that I couldn’t get the image of an extraterrestrial Bruce Forsyth out of my head. There was the octogenarian host of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ with his chin and his awful, awful jokes leading the applause after every supple and sublime movement, then staring straight at camera and saying “Wasn’t that lovely, ladies and gentlemen?” It was very jarring. And I don’t even watch ‘Strictly’! Man and gods existing together on a post-apocalyptic landscape. ‘Fireborn’ beautifully conjures up bright, vivid images which dance electric through the mind, but the ending is simplistic enough to be teen fiction – and younger teen fiction at that. Ruminations in an Alien Tongue by Vandana Singh On a planet far from Earth, a lady who has travelled far, seen incredible and marvellous things and is a part of history, is coming to the end of her life. Even heroes die. Everyone has feet of clay in the end. There might be a triteness to this tale’s moral, and the narrative may take a while to get anywhere, but there was an affecting poignancy to this story that I liked a great deal. Tyche and the Ants by Hannu Rajaniemi Being launched straight into a child’s unfiltered view of life on the moon is a disorientating experience. Before long one is assailed by references to The Cheese Goat, General Nutsy Nutsy and Mr Cute, and wondering just what the hell is going on. But having successfully sent the reader’s head off into full spin mode, the tale does relent and slowly lets us into its secrets. Undoubtedly a daunting piece, a short story which demands patience from the get-go, but the whole is more than worth it. I also like how one could write a P.G. Wodehouse version of this tale: ‘Tyche and the Aunts’. For reviews of ‘The Wreck of Charles Dexter Ward’; ‘Invisible Men’; ‘Ship’s Brother’; and ‘Eater of Bone’ please see the comments boxes below. (Curse you Goodreads for being so parsimonious with space!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    GR has a limit for review lengths. I've written reviews for most of the 29 stories in this doorstopper and easily reached the limit after half of the book. GR doesn't make it easy reviewing single stories, most don't have entries. That's why I decided to create a new Wordpress site where I can outsource story reviews. Large anthology containing 29 SF stories, all first published in 2012 and cover by my favourite artist, Michael Whelan. It gives room for longer stories, often in the form of novel GR has a limit for review lengths. I've written reviews for most of the 29 stories in this doorstopper and easily reached the limit after half of the book. GR doesn't make it easy reviewing single stories, most don't have entries. That's why I decided to create a new Wordpress site where I can outsource story reviews. Large anthology containing 29 SF stories, all first published in 2012 and cover by my favourite artist, Michael Whelan. It gives room for longer stories, often in the form of novelettes or novellas. It is a good cross section cut of the genre, bringing stories from different magazines. We find two award winners (Hugo winner "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi" by Pat Cadigan, and Nebula winner "Close Encounters" by Andy Duncan) and a handful of nominations as well. As a general note I'd like to see some illustrations - the original publications had sometimes wonderful pieces of art. I found the layout to be sometimes quite bad, e.g. breaking a page in the middle of an epigraph. Summing up, the hardcover doesn't bring addon-value to the ebook. Review follows the anthologie's order - I don't know why and how they where ordered and would've preferred a different sorting sometimes. My favourite ★★★★★ stories were The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi by Pat Cadigan The Finite Canvas by Brit Mandelo Old Paint by Megan Lindholm In the House of Aryaman a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear The Wreck of the "Charles Dexter Ward" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette Eater-of-Bone by Robert Reed Worst ★ stories for me were The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake Holmes Sherlock: A Hwarhath Mystery by Eleanor Arnason What Did Tessimond Tell You? by Adam Roberts Chitai Heiki Koronbin by David Moles Contents: Summation: essay by Gardner Dozois - huge commented listing of novels, magazines, art books. If you don't know, which magazines are currently around and worth reading, this gives a great overview. ★★★1/2 stars for Weep for Day • Science Fantasy novelette by the new author Indrapramit Das - review ★★★★ stars for The Man • shortfiction by Paul J. McAuley from the Jackaroo Series. - review ★ for The Stars Do Not Lie • novella by Jay Lake. Cf. review ★★★★ for The Memcordist • shortstory by Lavie Tidhar - review ★★★★★ for The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi • novelette by Pat Cadigan. Cf. longer review ★ for Holmes Sherlock: A Hwarhath Mystery • shortstory by Eleanor Arnason cf the longer review ★★★ for Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light • novella by Richard A. Lovett and William Gleason - review ★★★ for Close Encounters • novelette by Andy Duncan which won the Nebula Award. Cf. the longer review ★★★★★ for The Finite Canvas • novelette by Brit Mandelo was nominated for Hugo and Nebula and is freely available at Tor.com Cf. the longer review ★★★1/2 for Steamgothic • novelette by Sean McMullen - review ★★★★★ for In the House of Aryaman a Lonely Signal Burns• novella by Elizabeth Bear. Cf. the longer review ★★★ for Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, the Potter's Garden • shortstory by Paul J. McAuley - review 273 • Twenty Lights to "The Land of Snow" • novella by Michael Bishop ★★1/2  for Astrophilia • short story by Carrie Vaughn - review ★1/2 for What Did Tessimond Tell You? • shortstory by Adam Roberts - review ★★★★★ for Old Paint • novelette by Megan Lindholm - review ★ for Chitai Heiki Koronbin • shortstory by David Moles - review  ★★★1/2 for  Katabasis • novella by Robert Reed set in the Great Ship Universe - review ★★ for The Water Thief • shortstory by Alastair Reynolds - review ★★★1/2 for Nightside on Callisto • shortstory by Linda Nagata - review ★★★ for  Under the Eaves • shortstory by Lavie Tidhar set in the Central Station Series - review ★★★★1/2 for Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected • novella by Steven Popkes - review ★★1/2 for  Fireborn • shortstory by Robert Charles Wilson - review ★★★ for Ruminations in an Alien Tongue • shortstory by Vandana Singh - review ★★★ for  Tyche and the Ants • shortstory by Hannu Rajaniemi - review ★★★★★ for The Wreck of the "Charles Dexter Ward" • novelette by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette set in the Boojum Series - review ★★ for Invisible Men • shortstory by Christopher Barzak - review 570 • Ship's Brother • shortstory by Aliette de Bodard set in the Universe of Xuya Series ★★★★1/2 for Eater-of-Bone • novella by Robert Reed set in the Great Ship Universe - review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Partial reread of what I think is the best stuff here. It's a good to great anthology. “Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected” (2012), novella by Steven Popkes. 5+ stars, very likely his masterwork. An AI popstar singer is learning to be human. A burnt-out guitarist, who is a world-class song-doctor, is helping her rewrite her songs, and prepare to launch Dot 2.0. The climax made me cry, and I’m still snuffling. Who would think that a workman-like story could reach apotheosis? Worth buying the antholog Partial reread of what I think is the best stuff here. It's a good to great anthology. “Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected” (2012), novella by Steven Popkes. 5+ stars, very likely his masterwork. An AI popstar singer is learning to be human. A burnt-out guitarist, who is a world-class song-doctor, is helping her rewrite her songs, and prepare to launch Dot 2.0. The climax made me cry, and I’m still snuffling. Who would think that a workman-like story could reach apotheosis? Worth buying the anthology just for this. The best AI/rock & roll story since, well, ever? Here's a good full review: https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2014/... "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns"• novella by Elizabeth Bear. An exceptionally twisty police-procedural in a near-future India. I loved the parrot-colored talking cats! One of Elizabeth Bear's best novellas. An easy 5 stars. Rich Horton has a fine review here, https://rrhorton.blogspot.com/2018/09... -- along with a review of the following story, and more of Bear's short works, including some I still need to seek out. She's one of my favorite writers. “The Wreck of the “Charles Dexter Ward” • novelette by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. Third and creepiest of the “Boojum” series, http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?2... . I didn’t finish this reread, but got to an Easter-egg callout to “a sporty little skimmer called the ‘Caitlín R. Kiernan’" [see first comment]. And I hadn’t known that Lovecraft wrote a story “The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward.” Here’s a full review, https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2014/... “The Man” • short story by Paul J. McAuley. An odd little story in his Jackaroo series, http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?3... This review has the original cover art: https://reiszwolf.wordpress.com/2014/... . My rating: 3 stars Other noteworthy stories for me include: • The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi • novelette by Pat Cadigan • Old Paint • (2012) • novelette by Megan Lindholm -- and lots more Good Stuff. One of the stronger years in the series. ========== There are three full reviews here of all 29 stories in the anthology. The one that's closest to my reactions to the stories, at least as I recall them from 5 years ago, is Andreas's: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  4. 5 out of 5

    pax

    Individual reviews, written as I read the stories, below. As always: worth reading, although overall not as strong a collection as I would have liked. Still, two new names for me. Brit Mandelo is one of them - I will have to look out for more of her work and really, really hope for a collection soon. And Robert Reed seems interesting and, judging from both his stories here, also not a one-hit-wonder. And honestly: new authors is what I am reading such collections for. *** Indrapramit Das: "Weep fo Individual reviews, written as I read the stories, below. As always: worth reading, although overall not as strong a collection as I would have liked. Still, two new names for me. Brit Mandelo is one of them - I will have to look out for more of her work and really, really hope for a collection soon. And Robert Reed seems interesting and, judging from both his stories here, also not a one-hit-wonder. And honestly: new authors is what I am reading such collections for. *** Indrapramit Das: "Weep for Day" Ow ... Ow ... That was powerful. That scene with the captured nightmare? Powerful and painful. An incredibly well-executed mood-driven story. This is definitely an author I want to read more by (he seems not to have written much and does not have a collection out; I hope it will change). This particular short story if available online as a whole as a book-excerpt on the pages of the publisher, Macmillan, here. Take a look. Please do. Paul McAuley: "The Man" Meh. Having more context from other stories of McAuley's, which seem to be set in the same world, may help this story a bit, but I don't think it would be much. The story remains boring, the characters flat and the premise and the plot haphazardly thrown together. Meh. Jay Lake: "The Stars Do Not Lie" It reads well and engaging and I loved some of the background ideas (how to reconcile conflicting evidence from archaeology vs. geology? what are pirates and what does a pirate ship look like?), yet ... There is a deus ex machina and too much just right timing. Morgan is naive and boring and just non-believable. Quinx is actually the only characters who has some edge to it and isn't only a walking puppet. And it's just another "somebody gets involved in the big upheaval of the world story" that fails to cause emotion. Nah, thank you. (How could this one end on the Hugo ballot? How? This reads like something that missed out three quarters of what happened to sf between the golden age and now.). Lavie Tidhar: "The Memcordist" Yes. Not necessarily the perfect jewel, but very much a semi-precious stone, very finely polished. Pat Cadigan: "The Girl-thing Who Went Out for Sushi" I loved the voice and the world-building in this one. The ending however is too much old school sf, too over the top. It does not necessarily make it a bad story, but it's not as great as it could have been. Eleanor Arnason: "Holmes Sherlock" A quiet, clever one. It nicely builds a society that is both different and very same as the human one (a society that, as I understand, has been developed in the author's other work - what is it with so many short stories nowaways being parts of larger cycles? non that it makes this particular one less fun!). And it incorporates real books in a very natural, yet clever way. Richard A. Lovett and William Gleason: "Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light" This was kind of OK, but I did not see why this had to be a sf story. It could have been any other genre. Also parts were really super heavy handed. (So perhaps less of kind of OK, although it was a smooth read.) Andy Duncan: "Close Encounters" Very golden age feel to it but in a modern (and very much deliberate) way. Interesting. Brit Mandelo: "The Finite Canvas" That one made me almost cry at the end. Ouch. Ouch. How strong! Picking more by Mandelo ASAP. (This one totally deserves a review and a rec of it's own. Going over and adding the novelette as an extra book right now.) Sean McMullen: "Steamgothic" Nope. The "love" story? The ending? The voice? Nope. Also: annoying! Elizabeth Bear: "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" I did not expect to like this as much as I did since my experience with Bear so far hasn't been good. Perhaps I just like her short stories more? Because this one definitely did work. Such a nice world building. I would definitely not mind reading more in this world! Also available online here, btw.: http://www.elizabethbear.com/?page_id... (But: seriously, support "The Years Best Science Fiction", buy the collections, they are worth it!) Paul McAuley: "Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, the Potter's Garden" Meh. For the same reason as the other McAuley story in this collection. Michael Bishop: "Twenty Lights to 'The Land of Snow'" I suppose the best summary is: boring and pointless. Something that especially annoyed me - the speech pattern of the main character slightly changed, but as a reader I never actually got the feeling that she was growing up. And that needs to happen if you are writing someone between the ages of 7 and 31. Carrie Vaughn: "Astrophilia" Atmospheric. Although I am in general very unhappy with the kind of world-building that mixes contraception-implants with manual labor based societies. Just can't believe it. Adam Roberts: "What Did Tessimond Tell You?" And another very meh one. a) seen the resolution coming from the second page of the story or so b) read it in better (actually: I have even tried to write it when fourteen of fifteen); not every story has to have a breakthrough new idea, but if it does not, it should at least have some emotional impact; this one did not. Megan Lindholm: "Old Paint" A good one. Its very strength is something that a lot of other stories in this collection seem to lack: the courage not to offer a solution. Maybe Old Paint is indeed intelligent. But do you remember those old plush toys you can't throw away because it feels to you as if they would feel the betrayal? Maybe he is such an old toy. The story does not tell and it does not have to. David Moles: "Chitai Heiki Koronbin" The story has atmosphere, but does not redefine the genre. All the Neon Genesis Evangelion references are, of course, very much on purpose (or are today's main sf readers too young to get them?) and yeah, they work for me, very much so. (But then again: we had Pacific Rim and it redefined what the teenagers piloting giant robot genre can be. This story is nothing like it. But it's still a very nice one.) Robert Reed: "Katabasis" Reading the summary ("great ship", "bored immortals", "existence to depend on alien guide") I expected to be bored. But the summary lies. The story is not about the world, the ship, the immortals, the aliens. The story is about people, about what defined who we, about hope and future, about love, about losing parts of oneself, about finding parts of oneself. Mixed in a truly alien world (coherent, with interesting physics), truly alien aliens, truly alien humans, truly human humans, diplomacy. You see - I could go on. Such a great story! (Also, very Greg Egan-esque. And this is a great praise coming from me.) Alastair Reynolds: "The Water Thief" Nice one. This is not the second short story of Reynolds' I. It's time to pick up a book of his, I guess. Linda Nagata: "Nightside on Callisto" This one is lacking something. The idea of the Red is fascinating, but it kept being the only thing in the story that did interest me and it's wasn't prominent or expanded on, just a side note to create an enemy. A pity. I would have loved a story about what Red is or not is. Lavie Tidhar: "Under the Eaves" I think I may have liked this one once. But I've read too many alike by now. And honestly - it did not need to be science fiction to bring it's message across. Steven Popkes: "Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected" The first lines screamed William Gibson to me. I don't know why. Some story of his I half-remembered? (And really of his or did I just associate it with him, as I did with this one?) But yeah, it's good. Draws in, even someone like me who has no idea about music. Keeps going, pushing, challenging the audience. In bits, it's the same story as "Old Paint" albeit perhaps with a more clear answer. Or not. Good read. (Although if I may have a quibble: this is not how computer science work. The music sounded like the author knew it. Not so computer science. Especially Rosie would not be the lone fighter she is here - she could not, not with a system that complex. That's the scientist in me that finds it hard to suspend disbelief, especially in something that otherwise seems so read.) Robert Charles Wilson: "Fireborn" What with this fascination with a mix of agricultural societies with high tech? And come on, even teenagers don't usually have that naive a voice. Vandana Singh: "Ruminations in an Alien Tongue" I liked the language and the ideas behind it - that alian culture was truly alien. And I loved the voice of the protagonist. I am still not sure the story as a whole convinced me (yes, I am in a critical mood; read a ton of the stories on the plane, so a lot of the reviews are at this particular point in my reading when I criticize even stories I enjoyed reading). Hannu Rajaniemi: "Tyche and the Ants" The resolution of what is happening is not exactly new (although the main example I remember is a badly written fanfiction, but there were more) and I am not sure about the imagery this creates, whether I believe it. Children - even if they are as different as Tyche is - are hard POV characters ... Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear: "The Wreck of the 'Charles Dexter Ward'" Nope. This could have as well been a fantasy-story (not that I dislike fantasy, I love fantasy, but I dislike it when it disguises itself as science fiction) and the ends of the story-fabric just did not come together here. This is really a pity because I loved the other story of Bear's in this collection so much - but this is back to that novel of her I really disliked ... Christopher Barzak: "Invisible Men" It was meh but with the last page and all the super deep oh so philosophical musings of the "into your face"-kind (that fit oh so well the first person narrator and her servant girl voice \sarcasm of) it became really bad. Waste of reading time. Aliette de Bodard: "Ship's Brother" The story dies aim for emotional impact, but misses it. And it may be an interesting universe, but there is not enough of it there to create a feeling of something coherent. Robert Reed: "Eater-of-Bone" Not an amazing one as "Katabasis", but pretty solid.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Philip Hollenback

    Well, guess I'm just going to read all of these eventually. Nothing too exciting here, though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    Had a really hard time with this book, though I loved Andy Duncan's hilarious and heartfelt "Close Encounters," really enjoyed "The Man" by Paul McAuley (which has really stuck with me, will definitely read more of him) and "Holmes Sherlock" by Eleanor Arnason (which was charming), and liked "Old Paint" by Megan Lindholm, "Tyche and the Ants" by Hannu Rajaniemi, and "Katabasis" by Robert Reed... and parts of others too. But in general, this is a huge (700 page) book almost entirely comprised of Had a really hard time with this book, though I loved Andy Duncan's hilarious and heartfelt "Close Encounters," really enjoyed "The Man" by Paul McAuley (which has really stuck with me, will definitely read more of him) and "Holmes Sherlock" by Eleanor Arnason (which was charming), and liked "Old Paint" by Megan Lindholm, "Tyche and the Ants" by Hannu Rajaniemi, and "Katabasis" by Robert Reed... and parts of others too. But in general, this is a huge (700 page) book almost entirely comprised of heavy, humorless, highly realistic, far-future sociologically-oriented SF, which for me gets real old real fast. I prefer my SF wild and surreal and dazzlingly vivid. Probably not what this book would even consider SF. Which is fine. But it's not for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I tend to take ages reading this short story collections. It is so easy to just read a few stories, then read a novel (or a few), then read a few more stories, then a novel... But being short stories, it does not matter that you don't devour the whole book in one go. Actually I feel like it is actually better to read them in smaller portions. They feel fresher, somehow. The problem comes with the reviewing part: I had to glance through the names and some passages of the first maybe half of the s I tend to take ages reading this short story collections. It is so easy to just read a few stories, then read a novel (or a few), then read a few more stories, then a novel... But being short stories, it does not matter that you don't devour the whole book in one go. Actually I feel like it is actually better to read them in smaller portions. They feel fresher, somehow. The problem comes with the reviewing part: I had to glance through the names and some passages of the first maybe half of the stories to remember what they were all about. Seems like in 5 months I forget quite a lot. After reading a page or two of any novel I remember what it was about, but the name on its own rarely meant much to me anymore. Unless the name was something that had clung to mind for some reason or other. Well, that all being said, I quite liked this collection. It had mostly good stories, and only a few that I did not really enjoy all that much. I especially enjoyed the fact that there were a few Cthulhu mythos stories, which do not seem to be that common in these collections. And what I found interesting is how many stories there were where a non-human alien was at least one of the main characters. It feels to me that it is still somehow weirdly uncommon in scifi. I find it refreshing, especially when it is well done. And it is well done when I actually have to change my own way of thinking to understand what the supposed alien might be actually thinking. Additional plus point: it is not often when I laugh aloud when reading the "what happened this year" section of these yearly collections, but in this one I did. I have no idea what it was I laughed about, I just remember laughing so much that I woke my boyfriend up with the insane giggling...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Johan Haneveld

    3,5 stars. It was a big read, 711 pages, and I thought it had less stories in it that fitted my tastes than book 24 that I read a couple of months before. Still, a lot to enjoy here. Alastair Reynolds and Hannu Rajaniemi were very good, but I had read their stories before. I was suprised by how much I liked the Robert Reed stories. Tense adventure stories, in an interesting universe with well thought out biologies, and in both quite a bit of body horror thrown in (when humans are practically imm 3,5 stars. It was a big read, 711 pages, and I thought it had less stories in it that fitted my tastes than book 24 that I read a couple of months before. Still, a lot to enjoy here. Alastair Reynolds and Hannu Rajaniemi were very good, but I had read their stories before. I was suprised by how much I liked the Robert Reed stories. Tense adventure stories, in an interesting universe with well thought out biologies, and in both quite a bit of body horror thrown in (when humans are practically immortal due to nanotech, bodies can withstand a lot of abuse ...). I will seek out more of his fiction to read, as the two stories included here piqued my interest. Also pretty good was the Megan Lindholm story in which the author also known as Robin Hobb shows she can write good SF as well, and with the same heart that is on display in her fantasy stories. I liked how it was about the meaning we imbue objects of value with and how definitive answers were not really given. 'The wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward' took Lovecraft to space. Good worldbuilding but I thought it could have been a little more horrific and involved in places. I liked the speculation in Adam Roberts short story - a dispute among Nobel prize candidates leads to some weird conclusions. I also enjoyed the adventure of Nightfall on the peak of eternal light. I liked the ambition of 'In the house of aryaman a lonely signal burns' and the detective part was done well, but setting it in India in a high tech future lead to a double remove for me - the difference of Indian culture and the difference of the future culture so trying to keep up became hard to me. The same was true for 'Twenty lights to the land of snow' for Tibetan culture and a high tech future. I find that for me I would rather read a story based in Tibet, or in the future, and to combine them makes it hard for me to follow. This being said, I love the ambition to not only write about western culture and a western future, but maybe to achieve this the new words for future inventions had to be toned down a little. Also I'm not really fond of the experimental SF written by Lavie Tidhar, but seeing as how he is included here twice, others do like his work. It leans a bit more to the side of big 'L' literature instead of old fashioned adventure story. All in all an interesting collection, but not the best of these books I have read so far.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This shall be an organically written review based on whenever I get the chance to read each of the stories, which will be done on an ad hoc basis. Recently learning about science-fiction writer, Aliette de Bodard, I was intrigued by her alternative Mesoamerican past and future Vietnamese empire world-building so I thought I'd get a taste of her writing by reading her story, 'Ship's brother', in this anthology. Written from the point of view of a mother who has given birth not only to a human son This shall be an organically written review based on whenever I get the chance to read each of the stories, which will be done on an ad hoc basis. Recently learning about science-fiction writer, Aliette de Bodard, I was intrigued by her alternative Mesoamerican past and future Vietnamese empire world-building so I thought I'd get a taste of her writing by reading her story, 'Ship's brother', in this anthology. Written from the point of view of a mother who has given birth not only to a human son but also to a kind of cyborg daughter who has been bred to become the 'mind' of a spaceship, the story focuses on the personal, emotional and family issues that arise from having such very different children. A sense of the greater background narrative is gained from references to numbered planets that are controlled by the Dai Viet Empire, and the time-folding space travel of the Dai Viet spaceships and their cyborg minds which are used for fast interstellar travel. This reminded me of the way the merchant guild in Dune used the mind-altering powers of a rare 'spice' in order for a specialised species to bend space and time for interstellar voyages. However, in de Bodard's world, slower spacecraft and suspended animation are preferred by the 'pale outsiders' (Europeans?) who control other planets. The idea of organically based, human-derived, and very long-lived minds being specially bred for, and incorporated into, spaceships also reminded me a little of Vonda N. McIntyre's story, ‘Little faces’, which appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 19 (see my review of the latter here). In McIntyre's story, however, the entire spaceship is grown and given birth to by its mother! I rather liked 'Ship's brother' and on the strength of this story, I shall be interested in reading more tales by Aliette de Bodard. [14 August 2015] I loved 'The wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward' by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear! This is a good Lovecraft-inspired story but with none of the racial stereotyping and male-centredness typical of Lovecraft's works - the protagonist is a white female and her female sidekick is black. As with the story's title, there's a degree of tongue-in-cheek references to Lovecraftian characters as well as to historical or literary figures. The story is essentially about an expedition to investigate what had happened to a spaceship that had itself once been alive (like other spaceships in this story) and which perished under mysterious circumstances, but things are not necessarily what they seem (of course). Oddly, for such a well-written story, there were a few typos - 'had not been not [sic] her' (p. 583), 'trying to reconstruct what had happen [sic]' and 'allow my to' (p. 596). Perhaps some 'toves' that Monette and Bear write about were behind this! Overall, though, this was a nice blend of science fiction and horror with a sprinkling of humour. [Story read, August 2015. Review typed up 15 May 2016.]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You

    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...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Spike Gomes

    I've been reading these every year since the mid-90s. Dozois without a doubt has the best taste in story selection. You can't go wrong with getting it. I've read a good selection of the stories before in the magazines I subscribe to, but this fills in the gaps of ones that I haven't read. In all, this one was slightly stronger than last year's, but not the best yearly collection. Still, it's a must have for any serious science fiction reader.

  12. 4 out of 5

    o

    I find this collection to be relatively typical of the Year's Best Science Fiction series - some excellent stories, a sizeable amount of "okay" stories, and quite a few stories that I read two or three pages and then skipped over. Several stories had a steampunk vibe, which I generally don't care for, but "Steamgothic", for example, was fascinating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Marshall

    This year, the standard is slightly uneven. Although most of the stories are very readable, there are fewer than usual standout stories. http://opionator.wordpress.com/2013/0...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Some good stories and some not quite so good, but overall a good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    Let's do something different this time with GD's TYBSF: let's review each story on its own and then make an average by multiplying a short story's stars by 1, a novelette's by 2, and a novella's by 3, then adding them up and dividing to the sum of the multipliers. Indrapramit Das - Weep for Day (novelette): 3 stars This began as a wonderfully written story with a very interesting tidally-locked world whose denizens are or were at war with dark-side monsters. The characters and their back stories a Let's do something different this time with GD's TYBSF: let's review each story on its own and then make an average by multiplying a short story's stars by 1, a novelette's by 2, and a novella's by 3, then adding them up and dividing to the sum of the multipliers. Indrapramit Das - Weep for Day (novelette): 3 stars This began as a wonderfully written story with a very interesting tidally-locked world whose denizens are or were at war with dark-side monsters. The characters and their back stories are quite interesting. Unfortunately, just when you thought something cool IS going to happen, the story ends. This is one of those few cases when a story would've worked better if it were longer. Paul McAuley - The Man (short story): 2 stars Not much of use in this one. Typical 'Jackaroo' setting: on an alien world 'gifted' by the Jackaroo to humans for colonization, a lonely female sells archaelogical finds. This time around, it's an alien made to look like a man that the market is interested on. Jay Lake - The Stars Do Not Lie (novella): 3 stars On a remote (tidally-locked) planet also called Earth (or some kind of alternate reality) a strong inquisition is fighting hard to keep possible truths against the established religion from surfacing. Interesting characters, but, unfortunately, just when you think you're going to get a cool resolution as to how or why this religion came to be, it all ends in a disappointing all-characters-shoot-at-each-other-Gunfight-at-the-Ok-Corral scene. Lavie Tidhar - The Memcordist (short story): 1 star I have never managed to understand LT's writings. This makes no exception. The narrative is very difficult to follow. A person appears to have every minute of his/her life broadcast across the settlements of the entire solar system. Pat Cadigan - The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi (novelette): 1 star Very badly written story with a gazillion characters all on some space station or something orbiting Jupiter. Was surprised to find that this is just one huge dialogue scene. There are too many concepts here that are not properly explained. What the hell is a jellie, a sushi, or a girl-thing anyway? Wait, this won the Hugo? Oh come on! Eleanor Arnason - Holmes Sherlock: A Hwarhath Mystery (novelette): 2 stars The Hwarhath setting is very cool, but this story is nothing special. A "girl" embarks on a missing person case only to discover some kind of taboo-breaking relationship in her village. Richard A. Lovett & William Gleason - Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light (novella): 3 stars Classical remote planet murder mystery / thriller / chaser. Andy Duncan - Close Encounters (novelette): 2 stars In what appears to be an alternate history America of the 70's, and elderly person which claimed to have visited other planets is invited to a UFO congress, but the plot quickly goes awry, with no satisfying conclusion. Brit Mandelo - The Finite Canvas (novelette): 1 star Doctor is hired (or coerced) to perform some kind of tattoo-scarring on another woman who tells her the story of her other scars. Zero value. Sean McMullen - Steamgothic (novelette): 1 star This isn't even 'on Earth' sci-fi. Maybe alternate history, if you are able to follow (or care) about what's going on. Some kind of 1800's steam machine is discovered and investigated. Boring and pointless. Elizabeth Bear - In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns (novella): 2 stars Murder mystery set in a future India. Setting not so cool, idea not very attractive, and the going from office to office interrogating suspects gets old very fast Paul McAuley - Macy Minot’s Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler’s Green, the Potter's Garden (short story): 4 stars Short and cute. Cool setting in the moons of Saturn, daughter goes to attend father's very original funeral rites. Michael Bishop - Twenty Lights to 'The Land of Snow' (novella): 3 stars Yet another murder mystery, this time set on a generation starship carrying Tibetan colonist/refugees. The destination appears to be yet another tidally-locked planet (3rd in this book so far). The characters are kinda cool, so is the premise. The conclusion unfortunately again leaves a lot to be desired. Carrie Vaughn - Astrophilia (novelette): 1 star In a post-apocalyptic setting a woman travels from one settlement to another and brings her loom. Wow! So very boring. Adam Roberts - What Did Tessimond Tell You? (novelette): 4 stars Near-future again. Team of scientists speculates on if the universe appears to be expanding, then time must be coming to an end. Not sure if the science here is any accurate, but it was a fun and quick read. Megan Lindholm - Old Paint (novelette): 2 stars In the near-future when self-driving cars are the norm, an older model manages to save its owner's life when another virus affected car tries to kill him. Too predictable. David Moles - Chitai Heiki Koronbin (short story): 1 star Transformer vs Alien. Another badly written story with way too many characters and Capitalized Words. Robert Reed - Katabasis (novella): 2 stars This is set in Reed's Greatship universe, but why would he describe mountaineering inside of a starship, I have no clue. This would've worked better at shorter lengths, or as a chapter included in one of his Greatship novels. Alastair Reynolds - The Water Thief (short story): 1 star Another pseudo-postapocalyptic useless story. What's wrong with Reynolds? This is a filler if I've ever seen one. Linda Nagata - Nightside on Callisto (short story): 2 stars Pair of female astronauts fight off robot uprising on Callisto. Nothing useful here. Lavie Tidhar - Under the Eaves (short story): 1 star I am already biased against this author. Setting interesting as an idea, but I found both the plot and the writing style as unreadable as always. Steven Popkes - Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected (novella): 1 star This probably would've been looked at as sci-fi 50 years ago. Composer is tasked by old lover's avatar to create some kind of super pop hit. Didn't manage to reach this story's half. Robert Charles Wilson - Fireborn (novelette): 2 stars Men and gods (or post-humans) compete in dancing shows in the sky. This is another filler from a good author. Vandana Singh - Ruminations in an Alien Tongue (short story): 1 star Alterations of probability and other vague metaphysical concerns coupled with a very fragmented story telling made me stop reading this at half point. Hannu Rajaniemi - Tyche and the Ants (short story): 1 star Another author I'm biased against, and he doesn't "let me down". We're on the moon here and a boy is... doing what? No idea. No interest. Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear - The Wreck of the "Charles Dexter Ward" (novelette): 2 stars Set in the authors' Boojum universe, this work has all the premises for a fabulous classic style sci-fi tale: living starships, deep space exploration, sense of wonder. It is marred however by a very faulty narrative. I gave up trying to make heads and tails of what was actually going on about half-way through. Christopher Barzak - Invisible Men (novelette): 1 star Can't even tell what this novelette is about... It's impossible to follow. Aliette De Bodard - Ship's Brother (short story): 4 stars A very lyrical story set in ADB's Xuya universe, about a mother lamenting the separation of her two children: a boy and a... ship-mind. Robert Reed - Eater-of-Bone (novella): 3 stars Another one set in Reed's Greatship universe, but this time not on the Greatship itself. There's a very cool original new planet setting, inhabited by some really strange animals. Unfortunately, this is where the cool parts end. The plot is messy, characters uninteresting, the finale unsatisfying. Overall 2012 was a much weaker year than its predecessor, in most stories we either meet the good idea and the poor execution or the vice-versa. Don't despair though. Only he who does not try does not fail.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    Another excellent collection. Nothing so outstanding and singular that I'll remember it forever, but still lots of quality tales. I am at least 5 editions behind in the series and now with my main man Gardner Dozois passing away, I fear these collections won't be as good as they once were. Or more to the point, they will vanish altogether. Mega BOOOO Thank you Mr. Dozois for collecting some of the best science fiction I've ever read. Through the years you turned me onto authors and stories that wo Another excellent collection. Nothing so outstanding and singular that I'll remember it forever, but still lots of quality tales. I am at least 5 editions behind in the series and now with my main man Gardner Dozois passing away, I fear these collections won't be as good as they once were. Or more to the point, they will vanish altogether. Mega BOOOO Thank you Mr. Dozois for collecting some of the best science fiction I've ever read. Through the years you turned me onto authors and stories that would later become all-time favorites. Some of these tales would inspire my own writing, art and music; I can't thank you enough for guiding me towards these treasures. Your contributions to the world of science fiction will be sorely missed. RIP.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    My Grade = 70% - C- Published 2012 I used to absolutely love reading these yearly anthologies of the best sci fi stories of the year. Unfortunately, in my dotage I find that I either can't understand what's going on, or the language is too confusing for me, or I am just not interested, or I have no idea what the concept of each is. Of the 29 stories presented here, I enjoyed (and completed) fewer than ten.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Spinwallah

    ok there are some good stories but, strangely its too big. there are too many stories. crazy eh? I liked the adam Roberts one but despite the cover saying there was a yoon ha lee story, there wasn't, I know I looked.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Some great stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lorrie

    I always like these.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roy Adams

    A very good set of stories for 30!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison C

    Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction is always highly anticipated in my household, and this edition is no different. I have always trusted Dozois's tastes as an editor, and although I read much less science fiction than I used to, I still check out his choices eagerly. This year there were only a couple of stories that I had read previously (in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction), so most of the material was new to me. As with any anthology, there are some stories I like m Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction is always highly anticipated in my household, and this edition is no different. I have always trusted Dozois's tastes as an editor, and although I read much less science fiction than I used to, I still check out his choices eagerly. This year there were only a couple of stories that I had read previously (in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction), so most of the material was new to me. As with any anthology, there are some stories I like more than others, and a different reader is apt to like stories that I didn't and vice versa. That said, I was really taken by "Weep for Day," by Indrapramit Das, about humans on a planet half in daylight and half in darkness, waging genocide against the night people; "The Stars Do Not Lie," by Jay Lake, concerning Creationism and science on a distant planet; Eleanor Aranson's "Holmes Sherlock," part of her Hwarhathian series; "Steamgothic," by Sean McMullen; Elizabeth Bear's novella, "In the House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns," a mystery; "Sudden, Broken and Unexpected," by Steven Popkes, a rock'n'roll novella; "The Wreck of the 'Charles Dexter Ward,'" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, essentially a zombies-on-a-spaceship tale; and Christopher Barzak's "Invisible Men," a retelling of Wells's The Invisible Man from the point of view of the maid-of-all-work at the inn where the title character hides out. A couple of observations that have probably been true for some time now, but that struck me in particular with this edition: A fairly high percentage of stories make a point of having lead or major characters who are LGB or T, and there are more non-Western authors being represented than ever before. In some cases, the gay element felt exploitative to me, in others it was intrinsic to the story; but with respect to the increasing inclusion of non-Western writers, I find that an excellent trend that I hope will continue! As ever with this collection, if you buy only one anthology of sff, this is the one to buy; highly recommended!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    These Dozois Year's Best anthologies are always worth the read. My favorite was also in Hartwell's collection: "Old Paint." Megan Lindholm tells the story of a family that inherits grandpa's old car, a woody-style station wagon, whose technology is way behind the times. Mom even makes her teenager learn to drive it, rather than just tell it where to go. Very uncool. When the youngster takes it to a shady nano-paint place, and the car catches a nasty virus, well, this tale starts taking unexpecte These Dozois Year's Best anthologies are always worth the read. My favorite was also in Hartwell's collection: "Old Paint." Megan Lindholm tells the story of a family that inherits grandpa's old car, a woody-style station wagon, whose technology is way behind the times. Mom even makes her teenager learn to drive it, rather than just tell it where to go. Very uncool. When the youngster takes it to a shady nano-paint place, and the car catches a nasty virus, well, this tale starts taking unexpected turns. Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie" was fun, Lavie Tidhar's "The Memcordist" was good, and three other stories got the one-exclam note, namely Carrie Vaughan's "Astrophilia," Adam Roberts's "What Did Tessimond Tell You?" and Alastair Reynolds's "The Water Thief." Stephen Popkes rated two exclams with "Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected." Robert Reed, who is reliably entertaining, has a memorable novella in "Eater-of-Bone." I'll definitely be teaching the Lindholm in class this semester, and a couple of others may well be used, too. The stories I didn't name were merely excellent.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jani

    Dozois' collection seems to live up to its name; it is mammothic and the story can easily be among the best of new science fiction. It offers a fine way to introduce yourself to some of the most stellar SF short stories published in 2012. Of course, I did not like all the stories equally. After all, this is a varied collection with stories ranging from depiction of ordinary family life tinged with some minor fantastic/scientific/technological changes to full blown space opera with galactic scale. Dozois' collection seems to live up to its name; it is mammothic and the story can easily be among the best of new science fiction. It offers a fine way to introduce yourself to some of the most stellar SF short stories published in 2012. Of course, I did not like all the stories equally. After all, this is a varied collection with stories ranging from depiction of ordinary family life tinged with some minor fantastic/scientific/technological changes to full blown space opera with galactic scale. The variation and different styles feed different personal tastes, but the quality is still there despite individual preferences. One of the things I love about these kinds of collections is that they provide a fine way to find new favorites. Some of the writers I have heard about, but never read, and some are just brand new aqcuiatances, but this collection will make sure that I will read more of, for example, Pat Cadigan, Aliette Bodard and Robert Reed in the future.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mouldy Squid

    After last year's somewhat disappointing Year's Best..., I am happy to see Dozios return to form and collect some very good stories. Nary a miss here, with almost every tale being above par. In fact there are so many superb choices it would be difficult to pick the best of the bunch. We're I forced to pick, these two would be my choices: "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward" by Monette and Bear; and "Eater of Bone" by Reed. The first is an addition to their excellent collect of space-lovecrafti After last year's somewhat disappointing Year's Best..., I am happy to see Dozios return to form and collect some very good stories. Nary a miss here, with almost every tale being above par. In fact there are so many superb choices it would be difficult to pick the best of the bunch. We're I forced to pick, these two would be my choices: "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward" by Monette and Bear; and "Eater of Bone" by Reed. The first is an addition to their excellent collect of space-lovecraftia started with "Boojum". This time it's a more horrific outing with some genuine shivers. Reed's is another of his Great Ship stories, but interestingly set not on the Great Ship itself, but a failed colony founded by Great Ship passengers. All around excellent and a delightful return to form.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Graham

    Overall this was one of the best editions of this series. Stories of particular note were Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie", Pat Cadigan's "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi", Richard Lovett and William Gleason's "Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light", Elizabeth Bear's "In the House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns", Paul McAuley's "Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione", Adam Roberts' "What Did Tessimond Tell You?", and Steven Popkes' "Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected". Most of the stories Overall this was one of the best editions of this series. Stories of particular note were Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie", Pat Cadigan's "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi", Richard Lovett and William Gleason's "Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light", Elizabeth Bear's "In the House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns", Paul McAuley's "Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione", Adam Roberts' "What Did Tessimond Tell You?", and Steven Popkes' "Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected". Most of the stories I was perfectly happy to read and there were entries in several series that I was glad to see, such as Eleanor Arnason's hwarhath, Lavie Tidhar's Central Station and Monette and Bear's Boojum. The only stories that proved slighly tiresome were Robert Reed's. The Summation was also less than in past years.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    2012 seems to have been a down year for short fiction, at least in my estimation. Some clunkers in here this year. But, my personal highlights: The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake Holmes Sherlock by Eleanor Arnason Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, The Potter's Garden by Paul McAuley Twenty Lights to "The Land of Snow" by Michael Bishop Katabasis by Robert Reed The Wreck of the "Charles Dexter Ward" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear Eater-of-Bone by Robert Reed Not to s 2012 seems to have been a down year for short fiction, at least in my estimation. Some clunkers in here this year. But, my personal highlights: The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake Holmes Sherlock by Eleanor Arnason Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, The Potter's Garden by Paul McAuley Twenty Lights to "The Land of Snow" by Michael Bishop Katabasis by Robert Reed The Wreck of the "Charles Dexter Ward" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear Eater-of-Bone by Robert Reed Not to say the other stories are all bad, just that there was more than usual stories I did not care for this year. Still, I am happy to have read this, as I am every year.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clay Brown

    Every year for the past five years I’ve read Gardner Dozios’ Best Of Collection of Science Fiction. Each year I hope to find yet one more Writer to add to my list, this year I believe Robert Reed is the clear victor. His story Eater Of Bone, was very impressive, and looking at his books I’m looking forward to reading Morrow, his first book about a Super Spaceship that houses many Alien Races. So finding a new Science Fiction writer to me is worth the cost of this collection, which was, although n Every year for the past five years I’ve read Gardner Dozios’ Best Of Collection of Science Fiction. Each year I hope to find yet one more Writer to add to my list, this year I believe Robert Reed is the clear victor. His story Eater Of Bone, was very impressive, and looking at his books I’m looking forward to reading Morrow, his first book about a Super Spaceship that houses many Alien Races. So finding a new Science Fiction writer to me is worth the cost of this collection, which was, although not the best, very impressive, by the famed Mr. Dozios. If you want to see what last years collection was like make sure you take a look at my HUGE book review of the 29th Annual Collection.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Park

    The first of these I've found a bit disappointing. Is Dozois getting jaded or am I? Even the best (e.g. Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie") mostly seemed to have a significant flaw, often in the ending. A lot of repeat performers from earlier editions: Lake, Alastair Reynolds, Robert Reed, Aliette de Bodard, Vandana Singh et al. A return from recent silence[?] by Pat Cadigan. (As usual a preponderance of longish stories—only a couple, I'd guess, much less than 5000 words and several over 10,000, i The first of these I've found a bit disappointing. Is Dozois getting jaded or am I? Even the best (e.g. Jay Lake's "The Stars Do Not Lie") mostly seemed to have a significant flaw, often in the ending. A lot of repeat performers from earlier editions: Lake, Alastair Reynolds, Robert Reed, Aliette de Bodard, Vandana Singh et al. A return from recent silence[?] by Pat Cadigan. (As usual a preponderance of longish stories—only a couple, I'd guess, much less than 5000 words and several over 10,000, into novella length. The sources are a mixture of print magazines, e-zines, original anthologies and single-author collections, in roughly that order.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaye

    I am not ashamed to admit that I sought this book out just so I could read one story. That story is 'The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward', by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. It is the latest (and so far last) story of their shared 'Boojum-verse', which is space operatic in a Lovecraftian setting where most of the non-human creatures are named for monsters out of Lewis Carroll. The story recounts a recovery operation for a ghost ship, the titular Charles Dexter Ward. It's a good story, and of I am not ashamed to admit that I sought this book out just so I could read one story. That story is 'The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward', by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. It is the latest (and so far last) story of their shared 'Boojum-verse', which is space operatic in a Lovecraftian setting where most of the non-human creatures are named for monsters out of Lewis Carroll. The story recounts a recovery operation for a ghost ship, the titular Charles Dexter Ward. It's a good story, and of course it left me hungry for more of the same. The rest of the stories in this collection are also top-notch, though they were not all to my taste.

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