Year's Best SF 9

Year's Best SF 9

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by David G. Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer
     
 

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The Future Boldly Imagined From Breathtaking New Perspectives

The world as we will know it is far different from the future once predicted in simpler times. For this newest collection of the finest short form SF to appear in print over the preceding year, acclaimed editors and anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have gathered

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Overview

The Future Boldly Imagined From Breathtaking New Perspectives

The world as we will know it is far different from the future once predicted in simpler times. For this newest collection of the finest short form SF to appear in print over the preceding year, acclaimed editors and anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have gathered remarkable works that reflect a new sensibility. Courageous and diverse stories from some of the finest authors in the field grace this amazing volume -- adventures and discoveries, parables and warnings, carrying those eager to fly to far ends of a vast, ever-shifting universe of alien worlds, strange cultures, and mind-bending technologies. Tomorrow has never been as spellbinding, terrifying, or transforming as it is here, today, in these extraordinary pages. Hang on!

New tales from:
Kage Baker • Gregory Benford • Terry BissonRick Moody • Michael Swanwick • John Varley and many more

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061757846
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Year's Best SF Series , #9
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Year's Best SF 9


By Hartwell, David G.

Eos

ISBN: 006057559X

Amnesty

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler lives in the Seattle, Washington area. She grew up in California and attended courses in SF writing taught by Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon, and the Clarion SF Writing workshop. After years of work, culminating in the early 1980s with two exceptional novels, Kindred and Wild Seed, her career began to peak. She won the 1984 Hugo Award for the short story "Speech Sounds." Her story "Bloodchild," about human male slaves who incubate their alien masters' eggs, won the 1985 Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and both are collected in Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995). Then, in 1995, she was awarded a McArthur Grant, a large cash prize often called the "genius grant," given annually in the arts and sciences, which brought her worldwide notice. She also entered a new, strong phase of her career with the novel Parable of the Sower. Her early stories are collected in Bloodchild. She is now certainly one of the notable figures in the SF field and one of our leading writers.

"Amnesty" was published electronically at SciFiction, the SCIFI.com website, which is now the highest paying market for SF and fantasy and so had some of the very best short fiction in 2003. It is a return to the powerful themes of her fine novella, "Bloodchild," a story about finding the courage and strength to compromise and transcend in the face of an oppressive and horrible situation.


The stranger-Community, globular, easily twelve feet high and wide glided down into the vast, dimly lit food production hall of Translator Noah Cannon's employer. The stranger was incongruously quick and graceful, keeping to the paths, never once brushing against the raised beds of fragile, edible fungi. It looked, Noah thought, a little like a great, black, moss-enshrouded bush with such a canopy of irregularly-shaped leaves, shaggy mosses, and twisted vines that no light showed through it. It had a few thick, naked branches growing out, away from the main body, breaking the symmetry and making the Community look in serious need of pruning.

The moment Noah saw it and saw her employer, a somewhat smaller, better-maintained-looking dense, black bush, back away from her, she knew she would be offered the new job assignment she had been asking for.

The stranger-Community settled, flattening itself at bottom, allowing its organisms of mobility to migrate upward and take their rest. The stranger-Community focused its attention on Noah, electricity flaring and zigzagging, making a visible display within the dark vastness of its body. She knew that the electrical display was speech, although she could not read what was said. The Communities spoke in this way between themselves and within themselves, but the light they produced moved far too quickly for her to even begin to learn the language. The fact that she saw the display, though, meant that the communications entities of the stranger-Community were addressing her. Communities used their momentarily inactive organisms to shield communication from anyone outside themselves who was not being addressed.

She glanced at her employer and saw that its attention was focused away from her. It had no noticeable eyes, but its entities of vision served it very well whether she could see them or not. It had drawn itself together, made itself look more like a spiny stone than a bush. Communities did this when they wished to offer others privacy or simply disassociate themselves from the business being transacted. Her employer had warned her that the job that would be offered to her would be unpleasant not only because of the usual hostility of the human beings she would face, but because the subcontractor for whom she would be working would be difficult. The subcontractor had had little contact with human beings. Its vocabulary in the painfully created common language that enabled humans and the Communities to speak to one another was, at best, rudimentary, as was its understanding of human abilities and limitations. Translation: by accident or by intent, the subcontractor would probably hurt her. Her employer had told her that she did not have to take this job, that it would support her if she chose not to work for this subcontractor. It did not altogether approve of her decision to try for the job anyway. Now its deliberate inattention had more to do with disassociation than with courtesy or privacy. "You're on your own," its posture said, and she smiled. She could never have worked for it if it had not been able to stand aside and let her make her own decisions. Yet it did not go about its business and leave her alone with the stranger. It waited.

And here was the subcontractor signaling her with lightning.

Obediently, she went to it, stood close to it so that the tips of what looked like moss-covered outer twigs and branches touched her bare skin. She wore only shorts and a halter top. The Communities would have preferred her to be naked, and for the long years of her captivity, she had had no choice. She had been naked. Now she was no longer a captive, and she insisted on wearing at least the basics. Her employer had come to accept this and now refused to lend her to subcontractors who would refuse her the right to wear clothing.

This subcontractor enfolded her immediately, drawing her upward and in among its many selves, first hauling her up with its various organisms of manipulation, then grasping her securely with what appeared to be moss. The Communities were not plants, but it was easiest to think of them in those terms since most of the time, most of them looked so plantlike.

Enfolded within the Community, she couldn't see at all. She closed her eyes to avoid the distraction of trying to see or imagining that she saw. She felt herself surrounded by what felt like long, dry fibers ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Year's Best SF 9 by Hartwell, David G. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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.


Kathryn Cramer is a writer, critic, and anthologist, and was coeditor of the Year's Best Fantasy and Year's Best SF series. A consulting editor at Tor Books, she won a World Fantasy Award for her anthology The Architecture of Fear.

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Year's Best SF 9 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This SF Years best is one of the best, David and KAtheren have put out in the past 3 years. I did not like last year, but this is good stuff. All stories were good Nancy Kress, Ballantino, Bear , but hold your breath until you get to the end. A master writer but one who claims Genre is a librarian's problem. He is not known to write SF, nevertheless a good writer is a good writer in any context. Rick Moody is the name and the story is 'Albertine Notes' what an incredible Time-Travel story, totaly different from anything else i have ever read. Has similarities to 'Vanilla Skies' i think. Enjoy it, I did. Pay special attention to the Argentinian writer who just got translated after 20 years. She is top of the line, her story in a way similar to the famous classic 'Forbidden Planet', though more romantic, well she is a woman after all so romance is got to be there.