Twenty-First Century Science Fiction

Overview

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is an enormous anthology of short stories—close to 250,000 words—edited by two of the most prestigious and award-winning editors in the SF field and featuring recent stories from some of science fiction’s greatest up-and-coming authors.

 

David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden have long been recognized as two of the most skilled and trusted arbiters of the field, but Twenty-First Century Science Fiction presents ...

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Twenty-First Century Science Fiction

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Overview

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is an enormous anthology of short stories—close to 250,000 words—edited by two of the most prestigious and award-winning editors in the SF field and featuring recent stories from some of science fiction’s greatest up-and-coming authors.

 

David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden have long been recognized as two of the most skilled and trusted arbiters of the field, but Twenty-First Century Science Fiction presents fans’ first opportunities to see what their considerable talents come up with together, and also to get a unique perspective on what’s coming next in the science fiction field.

 

The anthology includes authors ranging from bestselling and established favorites to incandescent new talents including Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Catherynne M. Valente, John Scalzi, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Elizabeth Bear, and Peter Watts, and the stories selected include winners and nominees of all of the science fiction field’s major awards.

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Science Fiction Books of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Reviewed by Gardner Dozois. In my more than 40 years working in the science fiction publishing industry, I’ve seen this notion crop up every 10 years or so: “Science fiction has exhausted itself. There are no good new writers coming along anymore. The genre is finished!” Tor editors Hartwell and Nielsen Hayden thoroughly refute such claims with their huge reprint anthology featuring 34 stories published between 2003 and 2011 by writers who “came to prominence since the 20th century changed into the 21st.” Here in the second decade of the 21st century, some of these “new” writers, like Charles Stross, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow, have become big names; others, like Elizabeth Bear, Paolo Bacigalupi, Catherynne M. Valente, and Hannu Rajaniemi, have multiple novels and major awards to their credit; and some, like Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, Tobias S. Buckell, and Vandana Singh, are just starting out, but will almost certainly be among the most recognizable names of the next decade. Twentieth-century “Campbellian” SF—the sort published in John W. Campbell’s Astounding/Analog magazine of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s—was often about space travel, colonizing other worlds, space warfare, contact with aliens, and the far future. By contrast, most of these stories stay closer to the present, and many don’t leave Earth at all. Common topics include posthumans, interrogations of the nature and existence of human consciousness, and the exponentially expanding possibilities of information-processing and virtuality technologies. There are also many robots and artificial intelligences, including human-mimicking dolls, companions, and sexbots. It’s worth noting that many of these authors would have been excluded from Campbell’s largely white, male, middle-class American stable of writers. The face of science fiction has changed as well as its subject matter. It’s hard to pick favorites with so many good stories on offer, but my personal selections would be Bear’s “Tideline,” in which a dying robot in a devastated war-torn future teaches some of the human survivors how to become more human; David Moles’s “Finisterra,” a vivid adventure in which people engage in internecine warfare among huge living dirigibles in a layer of Earthlike atmosphere on a Jupiter-sized planet; and Peter Watts’s “The Island,” in which a work crew building a series of wormhole transport gates across the galaxy encounters a living intelligent creature the size of a sun. I’d like to have seen something by Lavie Tidhar, one of the most exciting new SF writers of the last few years, as well as some work by Aliette de Bodard and Kij Johnson, and while the late Kage Baker certainly deserves to be here, I’m not sure I would have picked “Plotters and Shooters,” one of her minor works, to represent her. However, these are just quibbles. Twenty-First Century Science Fiction will certainly be recognized as one of the best reprint science fiction anthologies of the year, and it belongs in the library of anyone who is interested in the evolution of the genre. Gardner Dozois has written and edited more than 100 books, has won 15 Hugo Awards for editing, has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and edits the Year’s Best Science Fiction, a yearly anthology series.
From the Publisher
 

Praise for Twenty-First Century Science Fiction:

"A bumper crop of 34 stories from authors who first came to prominence in the 21st century, compiled by two of the most highly respected editors in the business....Grab this book. Whether newcomer or old hand, the reader will not be disappointed." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In my more than 40 years working in the science fiction publishing industry, I’ve seen this notion crop up every 10 years or so: 'Science fiction has exhausted itself. There are no good new writers coming along anymore. The genre is finished!' Tor editors Hartwell and Nielsen Hayden thoroughly refute such claims….Twenty-First Century Science Fiction will certainly be recognized as one of the best reprint science fiction anthologies of the year, and it belongs in the library of anyone who is interested in the evolution of the genre." (—Gardner Dozois, Publishers Weekly)

Praise for the editors:

“One of the definitive anthologies of the genre.”

Des Moines Register on The Science Fiction Century

“An editor extraordinaire.” —Publishers Weekly on David Hartwell

“We are in the hands of a loving expert.”

—John Updike on The Hard SF Rennaissance

“The finest collection of SF short stories published specifically for young adult readers in recent memory.” —VOYA on New Skies

“Superior—Nielsen Hayden deserves a medal. There hasn’t been an original anthology series so consistently satisfying since Damon Knight’s Orbit.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Starlight 3

Library Journal
09/15/2013
In John Scalzi's "Tale of the Wicked," a spaceship captain in pursuit of an enemy battle cruiser finds his decisions questioned by an unexpected "member" of his crew. In the late Kage Baker's "Plotters and Shooters," adolescents hone their battle skills while dealing with the problems of hierarchy and dominance. Together with stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Genevieve Valentine, Elizabeth Bear, Hannu Rajaniemi, and other prominent voices of the first decades of the 21st century, this compendium showcases the variety and strength of modern sf. VERDICT With both an awareness of its roots as well as an eagerness to break new ground, the 34 stories collected here should give sf enthusiasts hope for the continued health of the genre.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
A bumper crop of 34 stories from authors who first came to prominence in the 21st century, compiled by two of the most highly respected editors in the business. Thematically, all the entries are science fiction even though some are from writers better known for their fantasy. Some stories won or were nominated for awards, as were many of the authors. Dipping into the pool at random, readers discover Cory Doctorow meditating on the society that results from a handful of hyper-rich owning and running everything; intelligent warships that become infected with Asimovism (John Scalzi); Charles Stross' amusing but rather gloomy glimpse of an all-too-possible future; Elizabeth Bear's dying war machine that befriends a semiferal boy; Paul Cornell's alternate world, where physics itself is different; a drug that brings dramatic psychological changes while some things are eternal (Daryl Gregory); and a robot existential crisis from Rachel Swirsky. Elsewhere, the brilliant Ken Liu offers another wrenching tale of a researcher into artificial intelligence who finds she can no longer distinguish between the artificial and the real; Neal Asher presents an Earth swarming with almost unimaginably advanced aliens; Ian Creasey writes of a not-so-distant future when humans adapt themselves to survive in alien environments; Karl Schroeder's characters lose themselves in virtual realities; David Levine tries to sell computer software to aliens who have no need of it; Vandana Singh's mathematician has a revelation; and the remarkable Hannu Rajaniemi again pushes the envelope farther and faster than anyone else. And all these are not necessarily the best on display here, just a sample. Grab this book. Whether newcomer or old hand, the reader will not be disappointed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765326010
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 9/23/2014
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID G. HARTWELL, widely acclaimed as the most influential SF editor of his age, lives in Pleasantville, New York. PATRICK NIELSEN HAYDEN, called “one of the most literate and historically aware editors in science fiction” by The Washington Post, lives in Brooklyn, New York. They have both won the World Fantasy Award and multiple Hugo Awards for their editorial work.

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Read an Excerpt

Copyright © 2013 by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden

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Table of Contents

Preface

Infinities by Vandana Singh

Rogue Farm by Charles Stross

The Gambler by Paolo Bacigalupi

Strood by Neal Asher

Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky

The Tale of the Wicked by John Scalzi

Bread and Bombs by M. Rickert

The Waters of Meribah by Tony Ballantyne

Tk’tk’tk by David Levine

The Nearest Thing by Genevieve Valentine

Erosion by Ian Creasey

The Calculus Plague by Marissa Lingen

One of Our Bastards is Missing by Paul Cornell

Tideline by Elizabeth Bear

Finisterra by David Moles

Evil Robot Monkey by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Education of Junior Number 12 by Madeline Ashby

Toy Planes by Tobias Buckell

The Algorithms for Love by Ken Liu

The Albian Message by Oliver Morton

To Hie from Far Cilenia by Karl Schroeder

Savant Songs by Brenda Cooper

Ikiryoh by Liz Williams

The Prophet of Flores by Ted Kosmatka

How to Become a Mars Overlord by Catherynne M. Valente

Second Person, Present Tense by Daryl Gregory

Third Day Lights by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Balancing Accounts by James Cambias

A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel by Yoon Ha Lee

His Master’s Voice by Hannu Rajaniemi

Plotters and Shooters by Kage Baker

The Island by Peter Watts

Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction by Jo Walton

Chicken Little by Cory Doctorow

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