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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sevententh Annual Collection
     

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sevententh Annual Collection

by Gardner Dozois
 

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In science fiction's early days, stories often looked past 1984 to the year 2000 as the far unknowable future. Here now, on the brink of the twenty-first century, the future remains as distant and as unknowable as ever . . . and science fiction stories continue to explore it with delightful results:

Collected in this anthology are such imaginative gems as:

Overview

In science fiction's early days, stories often looked past 1984 to the year 2000 as the far unknowable future. Here now, on the brink of the twenty-first century, the future remains as distant and as unknowable as ever . . . and science fiction stories continue to explore it with delightful results:

Collected in this anthology are such imaginative gems as:

"The Wedding Album" by David Marusek. In a high-tech future, the line between reality and simulation has grown thin . . . and it's often hard to tell who's on what side.

"Everywhere" by Geoff Ryman. Do the people who live in utopian conditions ever recognize them as such?

"Hatching the Phoenix" by Frederik Pohl. One of science fiction's Grand Masters returns with a star-crossing tale of the Heechee—-the enigmatic, vanished aliens whose discarded technology guides mankind through the future.

"A Hero of the Empire" by Robert Silverberg. Showing that the past is as much a province of the imagination as the future, this novelette returns to an alternate history when the Roman Empire never fell to show us just how the course of history can be altered.

The twenty-seven stories in this collection imaginatively take us to nearby planets and distant futures, into the past and into universes no larger than a grain of sand. Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents.

Supplementing the stories are the editor's insightful summation of the year's events and a lengthy list of honorable mentions, making this book a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the best, most comprehensive look at today's science fiction, with 22 stories of consistently excellent caliber..." —Publishers Weekly - starred review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dozois's Year's Best, like any successful representative of a large constituency, sometimes suffers from blandness and inconsistency. As usual, it's oversized23 stories, nearly 600 pagesand includes a variety of types of SF as well as near-horror, fantasy and humor. Five of the stories are final nominees for Nebulas, and two new ``Hainish'' stories by Ursula LeGuin were nominated for Tiptree Awards; ``The Matter of Segrri'' won. No story here is less than competent and professional; but, with a few exceptions, there is a voiceless sameness in the writing, practically a house style, that over so many pages grows tedious. (Nearly half the stories, by page count, come from the Dozois-edited Asimov's Science Fiction.) A number are flawed (``hard'' SF stories about ``aliens'' that think just like humans) or unremarkable, but these are outweighed by many fine pieces and by standouts such as LeGuin's ``Forgiveness Day,'' perhaps the best story in the book; Eliot Fintushel's ``New Wave''-like ``Ylem''; William Sanders's ``Going After Old Man Alabama'' and Terry Bisson's ``The Hole in the Hole,'' both of which are winning and funny; Katherine Kerr's chilling ``Asylum''; and Michael Bishop's grand and humane ``Cri de Coeur.'' Dozois's intelligently and ably put-together anthology does its stated job as well as any one book or editor could. Even with competition, it would still be the best of the Best. (July)
Publishers Weekly
This annual anthology remains the best one-stop shop for short fiction, and it's a must for fans of literary SF. The notion of intelligence links several stories. Nancy Kress, in "Computer Virus," posits an intelligent computer program trying to save its life, but it does so by risking that of a child. The dense and busy "Lobsters" by Charles Stross considers the implications of denying intelligent uploaded constructs here, of lobsters human rights or autonomy. Michael Blumlein's zany "Know How, Can Do," easily the best story, posits a self-aware worm linked to a human brain, told from the point of view of the worm, "Flowers for Algernon"-style, as it acquires human intelligence, language and emotions. Alternative realities remain a productive theme. In "The Two Dicks," Paul McAuley posits an alternative reality where Philip K. Dick, who in this world wrote mainstream fiction instead of SF, meets Nixon. Ken MacLeod's ambitious, character-driven "The Human Front," set in an alternative reality just a little different from ours, describes a man's growth toward adulthood in a war-torn Britain. Dan Simmons, Alastair Reynolds, Maureen F. McHugh and Paul Di Filippo also contribute especially memorable tales. Although one could quibble with Dozois's choices and there are one or two clunkers in here this anthology is an enjoyable read that overall maintains high standards of quality and variety. It's essential for SF fans who simply don't have time to separate the wheat from the chaff on their own. (July 23) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
From David Marusek's tale of a future where reality's borders collide with the unreal ("The Wedding Album") to Kage Baker's latest novella featuring the time-traveling "Company" ("Son Observe the Time"), the 27 stories in this annual collection bear witness to the vitality of the sf short story. Including tales by Tanith Lee, Frederick Pohl, Hal Clement, Michael Swanwick, and others, this volume displays the best and brightest of the genre to good advantage. Suitable for most sf or short story collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
As ever, Dozois leads his anthology with a homerun by Ian R. MacLeod and follows it with a second MacLeod, "Isabel of the Fall." Two dozen tales give ballast to this voyage into SF and fantastic realism, including MacLeod's "New Light on the Drake Equation," which takes place perhaps a century from now. The story turns on Tom Kelly, a fading SETI scientist who's on a French hilltop radio-scanning the heavens for First Contact and using as his guide the Drake Equation, which helps map the likely areas an alien culture might try to contact us from. The fallible equation is less certain than he is, but Tom has great assurance about contact-for a number of decades. During them, he's visited by his ex-lover, the star-crossed Terr, a hyperenthusiast who exhausts subjects that interest her and who left Tom to take up flying with wings attached to a newly improved back musculature (Tom took up drinking to pass the time). Aside from descriptions of marvelous scientific advances in personal grooming, little confronts the reader except many pages of fine writing about waiting, waiting, waiting. "Isabel of the Fall" is a future children's story looking back at the urchin Isabel, who was taken into the Dawn Church, became a Dawn singer, and had to climb the minaret daily to clean the great mirrors that collect light from heaven-until she had a great fall . . . Also outstanding: Dan Simmons's "On K2 with Kanakaredes," about a trio of climbers forced to accept the company of a bug-shaped, six-legged alien, Kanakaredes from Aldebaran, when they climb Everest. And not to be missed: Nancy Kress's "Computer Virus"-about a mother whose home is invaded by-well, check the title. True fiction. The pure stuff.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312264178
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/05/2000
Series:
Year's Best Science Fiction Series , #17
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
696
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventeenth Annual Collection

Acknowledgments

The editor would like to thank the following people for their help and support: first and foremost, Susan Casper, for doing much of the thankless scut work involved in producing this anthology; Michael Swanwick, Ellen Datlow, Virginia Kidd, Jim Allen, Vaughne Lee Hansen, Sheila Williams, David Pringle, Charles C. Ryan, David G. Hartwell, Jack Dann, Janeen Webb, Candas Jane Dorsey, John Clute, Warren Lapine, Dwight Brown, Darrell Schweitzer, Bryan Cholfin, and special thanks to my own editor, Gordon Van Gelder.

Thanks are also due to Charles N. Brown, whose magazine Locus (Locus Publications, P.O. Box 13305, Oakland, CA 94661, $43 for a one-year subscription [twelve issues] via second class; credit card orders [510] 339-9198) was used as a reference source throughout the Summation, and to Andrew Porter, whose magazine Science Fiction Chronicle (Science Fiction Chronicle, P.O. Box 022730, Brooklyn, NY 11202-0056, $35 for a one-year subscription [twelve issues]; $42 first class) was also used as a reference source throughout.

ANNUAL COLLECTION. Copyright © 2000 by Gardner Dozois. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Meet the Author

Gardner Dozois has been working in the science fiction field for more than thirty years. Since 1985, he has been the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, during which time he has received the Hugo Award for Best Editor eleven times. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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