Year's Best SF

Year's Best SF

4.1 6
by David G. Hartwell

View All Available Formats & Editions


  • Tales of wonder and adventure, set on distant planets or in the future of our own
  • Stories that go beyond the limits of Space and Time
  • David G. Hartwell has brought together only the best of this year's new SF from established pros and audacious newcomers, selecting only those that share the universal quality
See more details below



  • Tales of wonder and adventure, set on distant planets or in the future of our own
  • Stories that go beyond the limits of Space and Time
  • David G. Hartwell has brought together only the best of this year's new SF from established pros and audacious newcomers, selecting only those that share the universal quality of great science fiction.

Our familiar world will look a little less familiar after you read one.

Includes storiesby:
Joe Haldeman
Ursula K. Le Guin
Robert Silverberg
Roper Zelazny

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - William J. White
The fourteen stories in this anthology include works by such luminaries as Gene Wolfe, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gregory Benford, Joe Haldeman, Robert Silverberg, and Robert Sheckley as well as tales from popular "newcomers" like Stephen Baxter and Nancy Kress. All are thoughtful, well-constructed, and readable. My own favorites included Baxter's very hard SF tale of two space travelers marooned on Pluto after their wormhole "malfunctions;" Haldeman's story of a romance among artists competing in a contest sponsored by an Earth depopulated by an alien attack; and, of course, Gene Wolfe's strange and disturbing story Ziggurat, in which a divorced entrepreneur in an isolated cabin in the woods has a series of strange encounters with time travelers whose vehicle has broken down on a nearby lake. The stories represent a variety of subgenres within the field of science fiction. There is cyberpunk, as in William Browning Spencer's Downloading Midnight; time travel, from Wolfe and McKillip; an allohistorical "what if" story from William Barton that describes an alternate NASA space program; and, of course, hard science fiction from Baxter and Benford. Le Guin returns to the planet Winter, the setting of her classic novel, Left Hand of Darkness (Ace, 1969), in Coming of Age in Karhide. For the most part, this is mature and literate science fiction gathered from a variety of subgenres and publications that should appeal to most science fiction readers. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
VOYA - Vicky Burkholder
Each year thousands of science fiction authors submit their stories to magazines, but only a small fraction of those will ever see publication. No matter what the size of that fraction is, editors of "Best of" anthologies have to sift through hundreds of stories from dozens of magazines to find those gems they deem the best. Dozois and Hartwell have done just that in these two volumes. Hartwell's third "best of" anthology contains twenty-two stories from such authors as Gregory Benford, Greg Egan, Robert Silverberg, Terry Bisson, and others. According to Hartwell, "It is the intention of this...series to focus entirely on science fiction"; fantasy, horror, and other genres are not covered here. This in no way limits the scope of the stories, however, which includes everything from biologic warfare from unexpected sources (The Mendelian Lamp Case by Paul Levinson) to time travel (The Nostalginauts by S. N. Dyer) to what happens when mankind's life span reaches immortality (The Pipes of Pan by Brian Stableford). Each story is prefaced by a short introduction that highlights the author, where the story was published, and the theme. One of the best introductions is found in The Petting Zoo, by Gene Wolfe, a story about a young boy who brings a dinosaur to life with unexpected consequences. Hartwell's introduction says it all: "...what might it mean if the dinosaurs came back as Barney?" Dozois presents a similar scenario with his fifteenth volume of best stories. His collection consists of twenty-eight stories, five of which are duplicated in Hartwell's book. One plus of Dozois's book is its listing of 275 honorable mentions at the end. Like Hartwell's collection, this book contains only science fiction stories and authors like Silverberg, Egan, Stableford, Ian McDonald, and James Patrick Kelly. Steamship Soldier on the Information Front by Nancy Kress takes "a critical look at the high pressure, high-tech, high-bit-rate lifestyle...a warning that no matter how fast you run, there's always something just a little bit faster coming up behind you." Like many science fiction stories, it is a commentary on today's society couched in futuristic terms. If your library has previous volumes of these series, these are must buys. If not, start with these and know that you have the best of the best in science fiction. If budgets are extremely tight and only one volume is possible, choose Dozois only because of his extensive honorable mention listing. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection and Year's Best SF 3. VOYA Codes: 5Q 2P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
There's something for everything in this collection of 24 short stories and one narrative poem. You'll never look at a chipmunk in the same way after reading Elizabeth Malatre's "Evolution Never Sleeps." "Game of the Century" by Robert Reed is a football story with a twist. The highly recruited college players are part human, part animal: a result in genetic alteration. How would some space aliens classify library books? That's the question in Fred Lerner's "Rosetta Stone." An abandoned underground city is discovered on the moon. In it is a library full of books in English. Could their arrangement be a clue as to what aliens want to know about Earth? Most of these stories will give the reader food for thought. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, HarperCollins/Eos, 494p, 18cm, $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Susan E. Chmurynsky; Media Spec., E. Kentwood Freshman Campus, Kentwood, MI, November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Year's Best SF Series , #1
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Kamala Shastri came back to this world as she had left it — naked. She tottered out of the assembler, trying to balance in Tuulen Station's delicate gravity. I caught her and bundled her into a robe with one motion, then eased her onto the float. Three years on another planet had transformed Kamala. She was leaner, more muscular. Her fingernails were now a couple of centimeters long and there were four parallel scars incised on her left cheek, perhaps some Gendian's idea of beautification. But what struck me most was the darting strangeness in her eyes. This place, so familiar to me, seemed almost to shock her. It was as if she doubted the walls and was skeptical of air. She had learned to think like an alien.

"Welcome back." The float's whisper rose to a whoosh as I walked it down the hallway.

She swallowed hard and I thought she might cry. Three years ago, she would have. Lots of migrators are devastated when they come out of the assembler; it's because there is no transition. A few seconds ago Kamala was on Gend, fourth planet of the star we call epsilon Leo, and now she was here in lunar orbit. She was almost home; her life's great adventure was over.

"Matthew?" she said.

"Michael." I couldn't help but be pleased that she rememberd me. After all, she had changed my life.

I've guided maybe three hundred migrations — comings and goings — since I first came to Tuulen to study the dinos. Kamala Shastri's is the only quantum scan I've ever pirated. I doubt that the dinos care; I suspect this is a trespass they occasionally allow themselves. I know more about her — at least, as she was three years ago— than I know about myself. When the dinos sent her to Gend, she massed 50,391.72 grams and her red cell count was 4.81 million per mm'. She could play the nagasvaram, a kind of bamboo flute. Her father came from Thana, near Bombay, and her favorite flavor of chewyfrute was watermelon and she'd had five lovers and when she was eleven she had wanted to be a gymnast but instead she had become a biomaterials engineer who at age twenty-nine had volunteered to go to the stars to learn how to grow artificial eyes. It took her two years to go through migrator training; she knew she could have backed out at any time, right up until the moment Silloin translated her into a superluminal signal. She understood what it meant to balance the equation.

I first met her on June 22, 2069. She shuttled over from Lunex's L1 port and came through our airlock at promptly 10:15, a small, roundish woman with black hair parted in the middle and drawn tight against her skull. They had darkened her skin against epsilon Leo's UV; it was the deep blue-black of twilight. She was wearing a striped clingy and velcro slippers to help her get around for the short time she'd be navigating our .2 micrograv.

"Welcome to Tuulen Station." I smiled and offered my hand. "My name is Michael." We shook. "I'm supposed to be a sapientologist but I also moonlight as the local guide."

"Guide?" She nodded distractedly. "Okay." She peered past me, as if expecting someone else.

"Oh, don't worry," I said, "the dinos are in their cages."

Her eyes got wide as she let her hand slip from mine. "You call the Hanen dinos?"

"Why not?" I laughed. "They call us babies. The weeps, among other things."

She shook her bead in amazement. People who've never met a dino tended to romanticize them: the wise and noble reptiles who had mastered superluminal physics and introduced Earth to the wonders of galactic civilization. I doubt Kamala had ever seen a dino play poker or gobble down a screaming rabbit. And she had never argued with Linna, who still wasn't convinced that humans were psychologically ready to go to the stars.

"Have you eaten?" I gestured down the corridor toward the reception rooms.

"Yes ... I mean, no." She didn't move. "I am not hungry."

"Let me guess. You're too nervous to eat. You're too nervous to talk, even. You wish I'd just shut up, pop you into the marble, and beam you out. Let's just get this part the hell over with, eh?"

"I don't mind the conversation, actually."

"There you go. Well, Kamala, it is my solemn duty to advise you that there are no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Gend. And no chicken vindaloo. What's my name again?"


"See, you're not that nervous. Not one taco, or a single slice of eggplant pizza. This is your last chance to eat like a human."

"Okay." She did not actually smile-she was too busy being brave-but a corner of her mouth twitched. "Actually, I would not mind a cup of tea."

"Now, tea they've got." She let me guide her toward reception room D; her slippers snicked at the velcro carpet. "Of course, they brew it from lawn clippings."

"The Gendians don't keep lawns. They live underground. "

"Refresh my memory." I kept my hand on her shoulder; beneath the clingy, her muscles were rigid. "Are they the ferrets or the things with the orange bumps?"

"They look nothing like ferrets."

We popped through the door bubble into reception D, a compact rectangular space with a scatter of low, unthreatening furniture. There was a kitchen station at one end, a closet with a vacuum toilet at the other. The ceiling was blue sky; the long wall showed a live view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline, baking in the late June sun. Kamala had just finished her doctorate at MIT.

I opaqued the door. She perched on the...

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >