Year's Best SF 4

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Travel to the Farthest Reaches of the Imagination

Acclaimed editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell is back with his fourth annual high-powered collection of the year's most inventive, entertaining, and awe-inspiring science fiction. In short, the best.

Here are stories from today's top name authors, plus exciting newcomers, all eager to land you on exotic planets, introduce...

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Year's Best SF 4

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Travel to the Farthest Reaches of the Imagination

Acclaimed editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell is back with his fourth annual high-powered collection of the year's most inventive, entertaining, and awe-inspiring science fiction. In short, the best.

Here are stories from today's top name authors, plus exciting newcomers, all eager to land you on exotic planets, introduce you to strange new life forms, and show you scenes more amazing than anything you've imagined.So sit back and blast off for an amazing trip with
Stephen Baxter
Gregory Benford
David Brin
Nancy Kress
Bruce Sterling
Michael Swanwick
and many more...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061059025
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Series: Year's Best SF Series, #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.77 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

David G. Hartwell is a senior editor of Tor/Forge Books. His doctorate is in Comparative Medieval Literature. He is the proprietor of Dragon Press, publisher and bookseller, which publishes The New York Review of Science Fiction, and the president of David G. Hartwell, Inc. He is the author of Age of Wonders and the editor of many anthologies, including The Dark Descent, The World Treasury of Science Fiction, The Hard SF Renaissance, The Space Opera Renaissance, and a number of Christmas anthologies, among others. Recently he co-edited his fifteenth annual paperback volume of Year's Best SF, and co-edited the ninth Year's Best Fantasy. John Updike, reviewing The World Treasury of Science Fiction in The New Yorker, characterized him as a "loving expert." He is on the board of the IAFA, is co-chairman of the board of the World Fantasy Convention, and an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He has won the Eaton Award, the World Fantasy Award, and has been nominated for the Hugo Award forty times to date, winning as Best Editor in 2006, 2008, and 2009.

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Read an Excerpt

Market Report

by Alexander Jablokov

I slid out of the rental car's AC, and the heat of the midwestern night wrapped itself around my face like a wet iguana. Lightning bugs blinked in the unmown grass of my parents' lawn, and cicadas rasped tenaciously at the subdivision's silence. Old Oak Orchard was so new it wasn't even on my most recent DeLorme map CD-ROM, and it had taken me a while to find the place.

My father pulled the door open before I could ring the bell.

"Bert." He peered past me. "Ah. And where is --"

"Stacy's not with me." I'd practiced what to say on the drive from the airport, but stiff hadn't come up with anything coherent. "We ... well, lees just say there have been problems."

"So many marriages are ended in the passive voice." His voice was carefully neutral. "Come along back, then. I'll set you up a tent."

Dad wore a pair of once-fashionable pleated linen shorts and a floppy T-shirt with the name of an Internet provider on it. His skin was all dark and leathery, the color of retirement. He looked like he'd just woken up.

"I told Mom when I was coming. . . ."

"Sure." He grabbed my suitcase and wrestled it down the hall. "She must have nailed the note to a tree, and I didn't see it."

I didn't know why I always waited a moment for him to explain things. He never did. I was just supposed to catch on. I had spent my whole life trying to catch on.

"Lulu!" he called out the back slider. "Bert's home."

I winced as he dragged myleather suitcase over the sliding door tracks into the backyard. A glowing blue North Face tent sat on the grass. A Coleman lantern pooled yellow on a picnic table stolen-from a roadside rest area. The snapped security chain dangled down underneath.

"Lulu!" he yelled, then managed a grin for me. "She must be checking the garden. We get ... you know ... slugs. Eat the tomatoes."

The yard didn't end in a garden. Beyond the grass was a dense growth of trees. Now and then headlights from the highway beyond paled the undersides of the maple leaves, but they didn't let me see anything.

"Sure." I sat down at the picnic table. "So how are you, Dad?"

He squinted at me, as if unsure whether I was joking. "Me? Oh, I'm fine. Never better. Life out here agrees with me. Should have done it a long time ago."

Clichés were my father's front defensive line. He was fortifying quickly, building walls in front of questions I hadn't even asked yet.

"Trouble?" I said. "With Mom?" Being subtle is a nonstarter in my family.

"And how is your fast-paced urban lifestyle?" he asked.

"We're working a few things out. A bit of a shakedown period, you might call it."

My parents' entire marriage had been a shakedown period. I was just an interim project that had, somehow become permanent. I swear, all through my childhood, every morning they had been surprised to see me come downstairs to breakfast. Even now, my dad was looking at me as if he wasn't entirely sure who I was.

"Well, to start with, Dad, I guess the problems Stacy and I have been having stem from being in the same profession --"

"You know," Dad said, "your mother still has the darkest blue eyes I have ever seen."

"She does have lovely eyes."

"Cornflower blue, I always thought. Her eyes are cornflower blue."

Stacy's eyes were brown, but I guessed my father wasn't interested in hearing about that. "Cornflowers are not the flowers on corn." It had taken me years to figure that out.

"That's right."

"Someone once told me," I said, "that you can hear corn growing at night. It grows so fast on hot summer nights. A night like tonight."

"You need quiet to hear it," he said. "You don't like quiet, do you, Bert?" He was already looking for an argument. "You can't market quiet."

"That's where you're wrong," I said. "There's an ambient recording you can buy of corn growing. Cells dividing. Leaves rustling. Bugs, I don't know, eating the leaves. That little juicy crunch. Call it a grace note."

"And so you play it over your Home Theater system. With subwoofer, side speakers, the works? Pour yourself a single-malt, sit back, relax?"

"You don't listen to ambient, Dad. You let it wash over you. Through you. The whole point of modem life is never giving your full attention to any one thing. That gets boring. So you put the corn in the CD stack with the sound of windblown sand eroding the Sphinx, snow falling on the Ross Ice Shelf, the relaxing distant rattle of a horde of lemmings hitting the ocean, pop open your Powerbook to work some spreadsheets, and put a football game on the giant TV. You'll get the Oneness thing happening in no time."

"Are you getting it?" he asked softly. It wasn't like his regular voice at all.


"The Oneness. Whatever it is you're looking for."

"There was a time when I was so close I could taste it.. . ."

"Bertram! There you are!" Had my mother just come out of the woods? She was knotting the sash of a fluffy white terrycloth robe, as if she'd just stepped from the bathroom. Her gray hair was cut close to her scalp. She looked great. She always had. Even rubbing sleep out of her eyes, her feet bare. She still painted her toenails, I noticed, and they weren't even chipped. "Franklin, weren't you going to go get him a tent?"

"I was," my dad said.

She hugged me, then tugged at the sleeve of my jacket. "Isn't it a little hot for wool?"

Year's Best SF 4. Copyright © by David G. Hartwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014


    It was moved to res 4

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Бłдċĸєşŧ ő∮ Ċяőщ

    Bl<_>ackest of Cr<_>ow. By ~&#167&#1108&#1026 [seth]<p>
    2:05 pm Gresham OR June 17, 2014<br>
    I watched the crow fly untill it was out of my sight. Ugh thats right i have to pull weeds. I walked slowly over to where the weeds are most out of hand, and kneeled down to start.<p>
    I pulled weeds for more than an hour and still i had more to go. My hands hurt like heII from weeding for this long, and on top of that it was starting to rain.<br>
    I looked up at the dark clouds. I started pointedly at them, as if i could will them away with just my mind. A jet flew past my field of vision. The bad part about our three story house is, it lives only seven miles from the airport so planes are always flying overhead.<br>
    I looked back down at the weed i was trying to pull. It was one of those irritating ones that are super sharp and hurt to grab. I reached for it and tried pulling on it by the roots.<br>
    "C'mon get out of the ground already," i grunted.<br>
    "Caw!" A crow replied just above my head.<br>
    I was startled so bad i pulled my hand across the prickly ends of the weed.<br>
    "Really! Get out of here!" I yelled in outrage at the stupid bird. The crow only stared at me. "Shoo! Be gone!" I yelled.<br>
    Another jet flew overhead, and the crow took off.<br>
    "Finally" i muttered. I was just about to look back down at my weeding when another jet flew over. "Really? Now i have to listen to that crap!" Yeah i guess im in a pi<_>ssy mood.<br>
    Another jet flew by. I got back to work pulling weeds. Another jet. I pulled more weeds. Another jet. "Oh for the lo-" i started.<br>
    5 More jets flew over, this time in a V formation. When they got directly overhead, one of them slammed into anoter and they both exploded into a fiery ball the color of sunset. The others jerked and were blown up also. The only one left alive was going down fast.<br>
    "Jack get in here now! Hurry get inside!" My mom yelled from te back door.<br>
    I turned and ran to the back door and got in. "What was that mom!?"<br>
    "I dont know. Lets go in the living room with your father, my shift at work is about to start." His mother said.<br>
    We both walked into the livingroom (well one of them anyway). I sat down on the couch, next to my dad, and watched the news. So far nobody seem to be talking about the planes. All they were talking about is north Korea using chemical weapons, against what everyone agreed on, to bomb south Korea.<br>
    My dad changed to another news station. Still nothing.<br>
    "What the heck?" My dad said, "theres nothing hinting to why the planes were flying or anything!"<br>
    "Be patient they cant get something as soon as it happens. Just wait." My mother said.<br>
    Then the screen said Breaking news in blood red letters and a pretty female newscaster came on.<br>
    "We have recieved word that several airforce jets fell out of the sky today." Th lady said "tey were on tere way back from South korea, and were in a hurry about something. The airforce says it was only bad flying however." The news lady said more but at that point i wasnt listening.<br>
    It wasnt just bad flying. Right before my mom had called me, i could have sworn i had seen people on the outside of the plane.<p>
    Thanks! More at the next result! ~&#167&#1108&#1026 (seth)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    List of Stories

    Market Report (Alexander Jablokov); A Dance to Strange Musics (Gregory Benford); The Year of the Mouse (Norman Spinrad); The Day Before They Came (Mary Soon Lee); This Side of Independence (Rob Chilson); The Twelfth Album (Stephen Baxter); Story of Your Life (Ted Chiang); Whiptail (Robert Reed); The Eye of God (Mary Rosenblum); Rules of Engagement (Michael F. Flynn); Radiant Doors (Michael Swanwick); Unraveling the Thread (Jean-Claude Dunyach); That Thing Over There (Dominic Green); The Allies (Mark S. Geston); My Pal Clunky (Ron Goulart); Life in the Extreme (David Brin); Near Enough to Home (Michael Skeer); A Game of Consequences (David Langford); State of Nature (Nancy Kress); Maneki Neko (Bruce Sterling)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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