Whether you consider this anthology a genre starter kit or a welcome reward for years of SF devotion, Gardner Dozois's yearly compilation fills the reading bill. The 24th installment contains 28 stories by fresh new faces and award-winning masters such as Stephen Baxter, Robert Reed, Michael Swanwick, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, Ian McDonald, and Paolo Bacigalupi.
Veteran editor Dozois, 15-time Hugo winner, offers 30 stories, several of them Hugo-nominated. The table of contents is dominated by familiar names like Michael Swanwick and Greg Egan, but occasionally leavened with relative newcomers like Hannu Rajaniemi and more obscure authors like James Alan Gardner. Settings range from the present-day (Nancy Kress's "The Erdmann Nexus") to the distant future (Ian McDonald's "The Tear") and alternate history (Aliete de Bodard's "Butterfly, Falling at Dawn"). Similarly the moods range from relatively upbeat (Dominic Green's "Shining Armour") to pessimistic (Swanwick's "From Babel's Fallen Glory We Fled"). In some entries the SF elements appear to be almost an afterthought, but most earn their inclusion. Dozois also provides short biographies, a detailed overview of the year in SF and a lengthy list of honorable mentions. This is a worthy addition to a venerable series. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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)
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.\
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.
From the Publisher
“For a broad and eclectic overview of SF and its varieties, Dozois's huge anthology remains essential.” Gary K. Wolf, LOCUS Magazine, on THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL COLLECTION
“Gardner Dozois is of course the granddaddy of the annual anthology.... His housebrick of a collection...is the closest thing the field has to a single 'canon-forming' volume.” Strange Horizons magazine on THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL COLLECTION