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The stories in this collection imaginatively take readers far across the universe, into the very core of their beings, to the realm of the Gods, and to the moment just after now. Included are the works of masters of the form and the bright new talents of tomorrow. This book is a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stori The stories in this collection imaginatively take readers far across the universe, into the very core of their beings, to the realm of the Gods, and to the moment just after now. Included are the works of masters of the form and the bright new talents of tomorrow. This book is a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.


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The stories in this collection imaginatively take readers far across the universe, into the very core of their beings, to the realm of the Gods, and to the moment just after now. Included are the works of masters of the form and the bright new talents of tomorrow. This book is a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stori The stories in this collection imaginatively take readers far across the universe, into the very core of their beings, to the realm of the Gods, and to the moment just after now. Included are the works of masters of the form and the bright new talents of tomorrow. This book is a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Partial reread, early 2021, with my comments on some of the best stories. There are more as good or better here: WJW's "The Green Leopard Plague," for instance, that I just re-read elsewhere. It's a good anthology, as are all of the Dozois collections. Some are better than others, and some stories hold up to rereading better than others. Likely as not, your picks will differ from mine. One way to find out..... Collect them all! TOC and story details: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?1... • Off o Partial reread, early 2021, with my comments on some of the best stories. There are more as good or better here: WJW's "The Green Leopard Plague," for instance, that I just re-read elsewhere. It's a good anthology, as are all of the Dozois collections. Some are better than others, and some stories hold up to rereading better than others. Likely as not, your picks will differ from mine. One way to find out..... Collect them all! TOC and story details: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?1... • Off on a Starship, novella by William Barton. A teenage boy... Well, see the title! Leadoff story, with nods to pretty much all the SF a kid growing up then would have read. Van Vogt's "Enchanted Village" was an inspiration for Barton, among many others. See how many you remember! Wally (the kid) even gets his teenage dream-girl! Literally. Clever & well-done, 4+ stars. • King Dragon, novelette by Michael Swanwick. Amazing stuff. Reused as part of his novel The Dragons of Babel. As a short, 4.5 stars. The novel is first-rate, too. But read The Iron Dragon's Daughter first! • Singletons in Love , novelette by Paul Melko. Meda is the Interface for a sixclone. She's talking to her sister Moira: "He looked at me. Like a woman." ..., "[Y]ou felt?" ...."Flushed." Moira grinned. "Was he cute?" The classic in this micro-genre is Le Guin's "Nine Lives", https://www.baen.com/Chapters/9781625... [5+ stars!] -- which Melko had certainly read. "Singletons" isn't (quite) in that class, but I liked it a lot. Strong 4 stars. • Anomalous Structures of My Dreams, novelette by M. Shayne Bell. Scarily plausible variant of the "Namomachines gone Bad" story. Here's an online copy: http://zanotowane.pl/135/4333/. 4 stars. If I read this earlier, I don't remember it. This appears to be his most recently-published story. And I always thought he was a she! • Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst, novella by Kage Baker. One of the best of her Company stories. Rereading it now that I live a half-hour away from Hearst Castle gives an extra fillip to this remarkable tale. It's 1933, and the Company wants something special from Mr. Hearst. Of course, he wants--and gets--quite a lot back. 4.5 stars. Would be 5, but the ending fell a bit flat, for me. Here's Best SF's detailed review/writeup CAUTION -- SPOILERS! http://bestsf.net/years-best-science-...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    The year is 2003. Just what the **** was wrong with short fiction that year? By reviewing this book I feel like breaking the first rule of reviewing... It was horrible! I have read editions of Dozois' Year's Best of before that have stunk, but this one has to be worst of them. It was usually authors who could write, but had no brilliant idea, or authors with ideas, but couldn't write. But here I ran into story after story of authors who can't write AND have no useful idea. With just one standout The year is 2003. Just what the **** was wrong with short fiction that year? By reviewing this book I feel like breaking the first rule of reviewing... It was horrible! I have read editions of Dozois' Year's Best of before that have stunk, but this one has to be worst of them. It was usually authors who could write, but had no brilliant idea, or authors with ideas, but couldn't write. But here I ran into story after story of authors who can't write AND have no useful idea. With just one standout story (the Melko), even with an average score of 1.9, I am so mad with this edition I will override the average and give it a 1. Story breakdown: • Off on a Starship • novella by William Barton: 2* Boy stumbles into an alien automated probe while walking into a park and is whisked on an interstellar journey. Theoretically this sounds like the perfect idea. Unfortunately, the gazillion 60's references (especially to pulp magazines) the sex with the on-board android, and the general lack of interesting developments really killed it for me. • It's All True • novelette by John Kessel: 2* Movie scout travels back in time to convince Orson Welles to "move his career" into the future. Again, a gazillion cultural references and nothing interesting. • Rogue Farm • short story by Charles Stross: 1* Incomprehensible. Some kind of a future post-apocalyptic (?) Britain where automated farms (what?) travel around and talk to each other. It's rare to abandon a short story. It happened in this case. • The Ice • novella by Steven Popkes: 2* Nope. Not about an ice asteroid. Or ice-based power generation. About hockey. And a hockey player's clone. More cultural references. Sick of them already. The 55 NHL season. How many goals X & Y scored. At least previous stories had some kind of a sci-fi twist. This isn't badly written. I stopped reading it because it was simply boring. • Ej-Es • short story by Nancy Kress: 3* Interesting twist on Star Trek's Prime Directive. Human expedition discovers that when people stopped responding from remote planet colony had actually been infected hundreds of years ago with some virus which causes hallucinations. Should they apply the cure or not? The ending dragged the rating of the story at least one star down. • The Bellman • novelette by John Varley: 1* Pregnant cop serves as bait to catch a serial murderer on a Lunar colony. Horrible idea and terrible execution. • The Bear's Baby • novelette by Judith Moffett: 2* Nope, not a metaphor. Actually about bear cubs. They hibernate for this long, they suckle for that long, they weigh this much, they run that long, man that was boring. There is some kind of interesting background with aliens running some kind of Jurassic Park on a devastated Earth, but I simply get over the exaggerated bear descriptions. • Calling Your Name • short story by Howard Waldrop: 2* Man inadvertently gets transported to an alternate version of the USA where Nixon where never president. Good opportunity to let loose another long flow of historical and cultural references. Enough already! • June Sixteenth at Anna's • short story by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: 2* Scientists have invented the ability to come up with snapshots from the past that can be played back sort of like a 3D movie. Girl wants to relive her mother's favorite moments. Interesting idea, plagued however by a confusing narration, very unusual for this author. • The Green Leopard Plague • novella by Walter Jon Williams: 3* Michael Crichton meets Bourne Identity. High-tech thriller involving the cure to world hunger: a fungus which turns people green and able to photosynthesize light. Nothing special. • The Fluted Girl • novelette by Paolo Bacigalupi: 1* There's genetic manipulation, there's a post-apocalyptic setting, and a lot of abuse. Had to give up half-way through after being unable to follow what's going on. • Dead Worlds • short story by Jack Skillingstead: 1* Man runs over dog with his car, then is invited over to the dog owner's house for a chat. Oh yea. Can't get enough of that. • King Dragon • novelette by Michael Swanwick: 1* A battery-powered dragon in a medieval setting. A gazillion characters try to please the dragon. Abandoned midway through. • Singletons in Love • novelette by Paul Melko: 4* At an unspecified future date most of humanity has chosen to link via cyborg implants, then leave Earth. The remaining have chosen to link telepathically in pairs of 6. One such pair meets forgotten member of the other caste. Very cool setting and pretty good story. • Anomalous Structures of My Dreams • novelette by M. Shayne Bell: 2* Contagion escapes lab and starts infecting the world. Take #543434. Patient 0 is in a hospital's ward and we hear the story through the eyes of the patient in the next bed. Army comes in and manages to contain the spread. The end. • The Cookie Monster • novella by Vernor Vinge: 2* Newly-employed young woman discovers she is actually living in a simulated corporation environment and that she has continually left clues for herself as how to escape it. Interesting idea totally killed by the dialogue-only style and excessive length. • Joe Steele • short story by Harry Turtledove: 2* Alternate American history. Really? What did you expect from Harry Turtledove? FD Roosevelt dies earlier and said Joe Steele becomes president. Bunch of things happen differently in the 40's. Yawn and move on. • Birth Days • short story by Geoff Ryman: 1* On-Earth, near-future setting. Homo guy decides to become pregnant. I think. I cannot read this guy's stories. • Awake in the Night • novella by John C. Wright: 1* Another abandon. This is set in the same universe as the supposedly famous Victorian "The Night Lands" by William Hope Hodgson. I couldn't get along with either the setting (just what is this supposed to be?) or with Wright's style. Half of the words start with a capital letter. Aediles, Air Master, Air-Clog, Toiling Giants, Those Who Mock, etc. I really hate this construct. • The Long Way Home • short story by James Van Pelt: 1* Humans attempt to survive a nuclear apocalypse by... teleporting? Flying a starship to the stars? I couldn't follow. • The Eyes of America • short story by Geoffrey A. Landis: 2* As if there weren't enough alternate American history stories in this volume, here's another. Not with FDR this time, but with Teddy. There is a rather cool subplot of "Edison vs Tesla", but the accent on American presidential elections (again!) really killed the story for me. • Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst • novella by Kage Baker: 2* As if we hadn't by this point had enough of stories set in the early 20th century in America, here's another. Immortal cyborg with instructions from the future visits W.R. Hearst and shares the secret of immortality. Just another excuse to put Greta Garbo in the same room with a cyborg. • Night of Time • short story by Robert Reed: 2* Another of his Greatship stories. By this point I have had enough of them. This one is not particularly badly written, just uninteresting. Alien comes to human to have his memories read or reset or something like that, and the human discovers that the alien is as old as the universe. Story ends. That's it. • Strong Medicine • short story by William Shunn: 1* More of an experimental vignette than a short story. Some nanotech, some nuclear explosion... whatever. NEEEEEXT! • Send Me a Mentagram • short story by Dominic Green: 2* A shipwreck in the Antarctic unleashes a virus and some researchers scramble to contain it. Badly written and boring. • And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon • short story by Paul Di Filippo: 2* Household appliances revolt against mankind. Tries to be cute, but is rather pointless. • Flashmen • novelette by Terry Dowling: 1* This has to be the worst story of the lot. Couldn't even get through 5 pages. Every other word starts with caps, I kid you not. • Dragonhead • short story by Nick DiChario: 2* Another weird experimental vignette, this one a little more readable. How in the near-future humans themselves connect to an Internet-Of-Things and lose contact with reality. • Dear Abbey • novella by Terry Bisson: 2* Crazy professor and side-kick decide to travel progressively further through time. Starts like your usual "Time Machine" classics, then settles into a repeating pattern of having a drink with various unconnected characters from the future and asking for the meaning of life. The switch from first person to third person point of view, and the non-stop dialogue also had detrimental effects.

  3. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    The Year's Best Science Fiction #21 2003 pub 2004 edited by Gardner Dozois, who added blithery prefacing paragraphs, and blathery verses (who is Janis Ian?) I fast tired of. John Varley bases The Bellman mystery on steakplant, Lunar version of meat, not sure if his was one that sticks nastily about cannabalistic mother and babe, sole survivors in a lost spacecraft. Walter Jon Williams solves world hunger, economy and realdeath in a spy-suspense double plot. Why is boyfriend of mourning researche The Year's Best Science Fiction #21 2003 pub 2004 edited by Gardner Dozois, who added blithery prefacing paragraphs, and blathery verses (who is Janis Ian?) I fast tired of. John Varley bases The Bellman mystery on steakplant, Lunar version of meat, not sure if his was one that sticks nastily about cannabalistic mother and babe, sole survivors in a lost spacecraft. Walter Jon Williams solves world hunger, economy and realdeath in a spy-suspense double plot. Why is boyfriend of mourning researcher with wings and gills still alive? Where did now-famous thinker disappear for weeks before announcing novel theories that allowed global economy to survive collapse right after Green Leopard Plague mysteriously appeared and infected human skin to enable energy absorption plantlike from sun? [Spoilers: She secretly murdered adulterous previous lover, slays new version rebooted in pure hot love with her state, and plans to torture future uploaded smitten innocent copies. Post-Soviet secret lab worker who also volunteered in African refugee camp entangled philosopher before his conference.] My favorite was Calling Your Name by Howard Waldrop, first person grandpa Edward, crotchety missing his late wife, gets zapped in the garage and wakes up in an alternate reality. Exasperated, he zaps again. [Spoiler His new reality has his beloved wife, and he immediately makes up the argument that drove him out.] Welcome to Olympus Mr. Hearst by Kage Baker tells how the 1926 eccentric millionaire became immortal with futuristic technology. Geoffrey Landis, Eyes of America, televideos in alternate history 1904 with Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Einstein for president, and Tesla aiding his competitor is one of some clever plots, not strange, sad, confusing or dull like the others. The biggest factor that kept me from trying another collection is feeling pushed by an agenda: Old news AIDS, male pregnancy, and Janis Ian, singer and author. Doesn't - They don't love me so I'm a rebel then they'll give me lots of money - seem a tad contradictory? 1967 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_rYL... (Society's Child - rejects black boyfriend) 1975 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypn9oK... (At Seventeen - unloved (13 didn't scan as well)) 2011 http://www.janisian.com/freedownloads... love http://www.janisian.com/freedownloads... Welcome Home http://www.janisian.com/freedownloads... Same-sex marriage

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    For more than twenty years, author and editor Gardner Dozois has crafted this series of aptly-named anthologies, each entry a comprehensive review of short science fiction for the year before. Dozois' professional talent, prodigious and prolific, is evident throughout the thoughtful selections and arrangement of these stories. Every single one of these anthologies is excellent; together, they are a monumental achievement. And as if the stories themselves weren't enough, each year Dozois includes For more than twenty years, author and editor Gardner Dozois has crafted this series of aptly-named anthologies, each entry a comprehensive review of short science fiction for the year before. Dozois' professional talent, prodigious and prolific, is evident throughout the thoughtful selections and arrangement of these stories. Every single one of these anthologies is excellent; together, they are a monumental achievement. And as if the stories themselves weren't enough, each year Dozois includes his broad-ranging and carefully researched "Summation" of the field of SF in print, on screen, and in context—an historical treasure trove rich with observations and specifics, which effectively doubles the value of each book. As of this writing, Dozois remains alive and well and actively editing this series, with the 26th volume having come out in 2009. And this entry remains as high in quality as any of its companions, with stories from the year 2003 by English-speaking authors from around the world—substantial works from Howard Waldrop, Robert Reed, Nancy Kress, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Terry Dowling, Walter Jon Williams, Paolo Bacigalupi... too many to list individually. There are no clunkers here. Particular favorites, though, do stand out in retrospect for me, including the longer works at start and end by William Barton, "Off on a Starship," and Terry Bisson, "Dear Abbey"; the mid-20th Century time travelers in both John Kessel's "It's All True" and the late Kage Baker's "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst"; the scintillating hard SF of Charles Stross' "Rogue Farm" and Vernor Vinge's "The Cookie Monster"... and others, but I won't list the whole table of contents. The bottom line here is, you can't really go wrong with any of the books in this series, and this one's no exception.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    This four-grimace anthology is another fine entry in this classic series. If you want to understand the history of recent SF, skipping the novels and reading these Best Of collections will tell you more, and tell it faster. The stories here were all first published in 2003 (so I'm only 14 years behind on my reading, at this point), and I reviewed the equivalent Hartwell anthology elsewhere, so I won't touch on the Stross, Kress, Ryman and Reed stories that appear in both. Howard Waldrop's "Calling This four-grimace anthology is another fine entry in this classic series. If you want to understand the history of recent SF, skipping the novels and reading these Best Of collections will tell you more, and tell it faster. The stories here were all first published in 2003 (so I'm only 14 years behind on my reading, at this point), and I reviewed the equivalent Hartwell anthology elsewhere, so I won't touch on the Stross, Kress, Ryman and Reed stories that appear in both. Howard Waldrop's "Calling Your Name" is in here, and I put an exclamation mark beside it. Which is often the case with Waldrop stories. My old critique partner Paul Melko has a piece in this collection, "Singletons in Love," and it certainly earns its spot. The tension of group versus individual is nicely highlighted here. M. Shayne Bell's "Anomalous Structures of My Dreams" stood out for me, which pulls off an Iain Banks-style effect: making what isn't in the story bigger than the story. This trick is effected in the wrap-up, when we are told, "It concealed an enormous transmitter that had been calling the stars for eight days before they killed it. No one has been able to crack the code for these transmissions. We don't know what it was saying. We don't know what it was calling. We don't know why transmissions were beamed at only three stars in alternating order. We don't know what will happen because of it." Vernor Vinge wrote a VERY recursive story in "The Cookie Monster" that provides many of its own footnotes. I'd describe it, but that would give it away. I found it amusing, as I did Geoffrey Landis's alternate history "The Eyes of America" (in which the media ruins the election process sixty years early, while driving technology ahead a century) and Paul De Filippo's "dangerous toaster" story "And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon" which, quite disturbingly, ends on page 666. My other favorites were John C. Wright's "Awake in the Night" and Nick DeChario's "Dragonhead." The theme of this anthology would be that there's trouble in the future, there's trouble in the past, and I wouldn't go outside in the present, if I were you. That theme pushes it in the direction of Creative Non-Fiction, but that's not what they labelled it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    I received a copy of this one as a gift from a couple of friends who swear by the Year's Best series, and had ended up with an extra copy of the 2003 edition (which, importantly, was a year that neither of them had yet read). I'd like to preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I sincerely believe them when they tell me that Year's Best is not usually like this. I got through this volume with a mix of guilt about not finishing a gift book, hope that maybe the next story would be better th I received a copy of this one as a gift from a couple of friends who swear by the Year's Best series, and had ended up with an extra copy of the 2003 edition (which, importantly, was a year that neither of them had yet read). I'd like to preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I sincerely believe them when they tell me that Year's Best is not usually like this. I got through this volume with a mix of guilt about not finishing a gift book, hope that maybe the next story would be better than the last (because it is an anthology after all), and sheer spite. Terry Bisson's "Dear Abbey" may be the only one in the lot that made me truly feel something. That feeling was "unmoored in the face of the smallness of one person's existence" that was not quite tempered enough by the humor inherent in our wacky professor and his unlikely Texas drawl, but I do always insist that science fiction sometimes exists to make you feel a little bad, so I say well done. There were a smattering of stories that I thought were alright; Howard Waldrop's "Calling Your Name", Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "June Sixteenth at Anna's", Nancy Kress's "Ej-Es", M. Shayne Bell's "Anomalous Structures of My Dreams", Kage Baker's "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst", William Shunn's "Strong Medicine", Robert Reed's "Night of Time", Dominic Green's "Send Me a Mentagram", and Nick DiChario's "Dragonhead" all get passing grades from me--none of them are particularly outstanding, but they're all solidly okay. There were several that were downright unreadable. Charles Stross's "Rogue Farm" could have had some kind of emotional impact if I understood what the so-called farms roaming around the countryside even were. I spent most of Michael Swanwick's "King Dragon" trying to figure out which parts were metaphors and which parts were literal fantasy elements like fae folk. I have almost no idea what happened in Terry Dowling's "Flashmen", John C. Wright's "Awake in the Night", or James Van Pelt's "The Long Way Home" despite reading every word of them. A handful were also just painstakingly boring: John Kessel's "It's All True", Steven Popkes's "The Ice", Walter Jon Williams's "The Green Leopard Plague", Judith Moffett's "The Bear's Baby", and Geoffrey A. Landis's "The Eyes of America" all managed to center on characters that their author could not make me care about (and in the case of "The Ice" went on for what seemed forever while not really feeling like sci-fi). Harry Turtledove's "Joe Steele" holds the distinction of being the only story I actually skipped, because I was exhausted with its gimmick of narrating in one-to-five-word sentence fragments within the first page and a half. There were some that, while coherent, were uncomfortable in other ways. There are a handful in particular that tipped into weird sexual stuff that either felt gratuitous or like wish-fulfillment: William Barton's "Off on a Starship", Jack Skillingstead's "Dead Worlds" (you have no personality and ran over this woman's dog, and she still had sex with you? More than once?? Yeah, right, buddy.), Paul Melko's "Singletons in Love" (might have been an interesting story if we weren't focused on the attraction aspect, honestly), and Geoff Ryman's "Birth Days" (not because it was queer, because so am I, but you gotta warn people about M-preg in your stories). Plus, particular kudos to Paul Di Filippo's "And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon" for going back to the weird sex stuff after I thought we were out of those particular woods. John Varley's "The Bellman" was deeply uncomfortable for me as someone who doesn't deal well with pregnancy in fiction, but I suspect that the imagery and overall theme of (wildly unbelievable) future cannibalism would have been gross regardless. Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Fluted Girl" had implications that the main character and her sister were enslaved and groomed from a young age for entertainment that could border on sexual, and I absolutely needed a shower after that one; gross to me that this one made the cut at all. Overall, the okay stories were just not enough to balance out the absolute train wreck going on with the bad ones. There was also a lot--and I mean a lot--of alternate history stuff, both political and celebrity-related, that was just not interesting to me, but I can see this whole thing potentially landing better if that was your jam. I spent a lot of the first half wondering about Gardner Dozois as a person (did his spouse leave him? is this man okay?) and the second half wondering about myself (is there something I'm not getting here? do I just not like short stories as a format? am I too gay for "mainstream" science fiction?), and I also tried to remember what the world was like in 2003 when we were not so far removed from the 9/11 attacks and the times before them. I wish I had an explanation for what exactly happened here, because I don't think I found one. If this is what did make the cut, I shudder to think what horrors lurk in the honorable mentions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sir He-Man

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. We got some medley of stories here, same as all the rest. The Great * Off on a Starship by William Barton - One of my favorite stories from this volume. A great, lighthearted tale of a boy who runs away on a starship and has adventures and makes a robot wife who loves him and makes him ice cream. You can't get any more of a 1960s homage than that. * Calling Your Name by Howard Waldrop - A really funny comedy story about a man who slips into another dimension. This could be a modern Twilight Zone ep We got some medley of stories here, same as all the rest. The Great * Off on a Starship by William Barton - One of my favorite stories from this volume. A great, lighthearted tale of a boy who runs away on a starship and has adventures and makes a robot wife who loves him and makes him ice cream. You can't get any more of a 1960s homage than that. * Calling Your Name by Howard Waldrop - A really funny comedy story about a man who slips into another dimension. This could be a modern Twilight Zone episode. * June Sixteenth at Anna's by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - I don't know what it is about this story that sticks in my head so much. Perhaps it's indicative of the vanity of self proclaimed bohemians who make a big deal out of the slightest bit of fame. Either way, it's a story of grief and memory. Lovely writing. * The Green Leopard Plague by Walter Jon Williams - absolutely fucking kickass action adventure mystery story taking place both in the near future and the future a few centuries from that as a young girl looks into the real origins of a plague which was anything but an ailment. * The Fluted Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - A devastating dystopian future in which a girl is modified to be a human musical instrument, in exquisite pain in a feudal, fractured America. Bacigalupi is destined to write great things and I cannot wait to read Windup Girl because of this story. * The Cookie Monster by Vernor Vinge - Another winner. Great, interesting, and totally real main character. A young, ambitious lower class girl with a big attitude meets a virtual reality scenario she did not expect when she took this job. Mind bending reality twists abound. Think Matrix meets Office Space. * It's All True by John Kessel - A time traveler meets Orson Welles. A tidy little tale. * The Eyes of America by Geoffrey A. Landis - Edison Vs. Tesla alternate world story. The showdown between the two escalates technology ahead of what we experienced by that time, for sure. Thoroughly entertaining. * "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Heart" by Kage Baker - another winner from Baker. She is incapable of writing a bad short story. AND THE REST... * Rogue Farm by Charles Stross - What? People become something like the Borg on floating cubes that merge them together and they float over farms in future England? Was there a story here? * The Ice by Steven Popkes - Future hockey player finds out he's a clone. Well written and bittersweet. Not terribly interesting, though. * EJ-ES by Nancy Kress - Mediocre tale of a mediocre alien society. This reminded me a lot of that Enterprise episode where they find the retard mutant humans who live in a cave. Whoopedy whoop. * The Bellman by John Varley - Murder mystery, space cops, boring and disgusting. * The Bear's Baby by Judith Moffett - Aliens land and stop us from procreating! OH NO. Seriously though, this story never felt realistic. * Dead Worlds by Jack Skillingstead - Bizarre and depressing but well written story about a man suffering from scientifically exploring other worlds from a lab. * King Dragon by Michael Swanwick - Dark, grimy, rather hopeless dystopia ruled by a sentient aircraft. Didn't particularly care for this one. * Singletons in Love by Paul Melko - Singularity makes for hard dating, apparently. * Anomalous Structures of My Dreams by M. Shayne Bell - an okay story about two hospital patients and some weird subconscious shit * Joe Steele by Harry Turtledove - I don't care for Turtledove's writing. Ever. I tried to read this but bleh. * Birth Days by Geoff Ryman - Gay men learn they can have butt babies. Through science. Butt babies. And then they go to Brazil. To have butt babies. And did I mention there are butt babies? BUTT BABIES. * Awake in the Night by John C. Wright - ethereal and atmospheric Night Land inspired fiction. Emulates 1920s weird fiction style well. * The Long Way Home by James Van Pelt - Intelligently written post nuclear apocalypse story. * Night of Time [Marrow) by Robert Reed - an insane genius clones himself ala the Brazil Boys and they are not too happy about it. * Strong Medicine by William Shunn - Old doctor is angry at nanotech for replacing him and is going to kill himself out of self pity. Then, totally randomly, a nuclear bomb blast goes off in the distance and he goes flying and I shit you not, this gives him happiness and purpose again. What. The. Fuck. * Send Me a Mentagram by Dominic Green - A ship in the Antarctic has a deadly disease and a mystery...can it be solved? Maybe! * And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Paul Di Filippo - Appliances get intelligent and somewhat sassy. Di Fillipo is usually clever, this is no exception I confess to not reading the following: * Flashmen by Terry Dowling * Dragonhead by Nicholas A. DiChario * Dear Abbey by Terry Bisson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    Yet another rock-solid collection. Stories I enjoyed or thought were memorable were by John Kessel, Stross, Steven Popkes, Kress, Judith Moffett, Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Jack Skillingstead, Paul Melko, M Shayne Bell, James Van Pelt, Kage Baker, Dominic Green and Terry Bisson. "The Bellman" by John Varley was included here. I loved it so much I went and bought several of his books as a result, not realizing he'd been working underneath my radar for quite some time. Paolo Bacigalupi's brillia Yet another rock-solid collection. Stories I enjoyed or thought were memorable were by John Kessel, Stross, Steven Popkes, Kress, Judith Moffett, Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Jack Skillingstead, Paul Melko, M Shayne Bell, James Van Pelt, Kage Baker, Dominic Green and Terry Bisson. "The Bellman" by John Varley was included here. I loved it so much I went and bought several of his books as a result, not realizing he'd been working underneath my radar for quite some time. Paolo Bacigalupi's brilliant and creepy "The Fluted Girl" was in this collection too, turning me on to his dark and magical works. Swanwick's "King Dragon" is one of my favorites, taking place in the world of Iron Dragon's Daughter, IIRC. And I really loved John C Wright's "Awake In The Night".

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Brassil

    Well, it took me a ridiculous amount of time, but I finally finished this anthology and every time I picked it up I was reminded why I like reading in the the genre more than any other form of entertainment. Just as as example, the last story in the book was a novella by Walter Jon Williams set in his Dread Empire universe (I plan to read the full trilogy now) that featured court intrigue, complex financial dealings, a totally made up card game that seems like it would be blast to play (if anyon Well, it took me a ridiculous amount of time, but I finally finished this anthology and every time I picked it up I was reminded why I like reading in the the genre more than any other form of entertainment. Just as as example, the last story in the book was a novella by Walter Jon Williams set in his Dread Empire universe (I plan to read the full trilogy now) that featured court intrigue, complex financial dealings, a totally made up card game that seems like it would be blast to play (if anyone knows of an online Tingo site, please get in touch) and a planetary disaster involving a plausible scenario featuring deadly x-rays. Why am I stuck on just one planet! Now, on to the 22nd Annual Collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Obviously, reading a collection of short stories is always hit or miss. I read some that were good, a lot that were just okay, and a lot that were bleah. There were only three, I think, that really were awesome. My personal favorites were "The Bear's Baby", "The Fluted Girl" and "Awake In the Night". Obviously, reading a collection of short stories is always hit or miss. I read some that were good, a lot that were just okay, and a lot that were bleah. There were only three, I think, that really were awesome. My personal favorites were "The Bear's Baby", "The Fluted Girl" and "Awake In the Night".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sibylle

    I liked some of the stories, and others, not so much. Really liked Judith Moffett's story. I liked some of the stories, and others, not so much. Really liked Judith Moffett's story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    I like to submit reviews of the individual stories in this collection, using the same number scale as the whole book. My average rating was a little over 3.5, rounded up to 4. Off on a Starship - 4 (fun little space adventure) It's All True - 3 Rogue Farm - 3 (very strange story) The Ice - 5 (very sad, moving tale) Ej-Es - 3 (mystery story, not entirely successful) The Bellman - 3 The Bear's Baby - 4 (nice mix of sf and nature) Calling Your Name - 3 (alternate realities can suck) June Sixteenth at Anna's I like to submit reviews of the individual stories in this collection, using the same number scale as the whole book. My average rating was a little over 3.5, rounded up to 4. Off on a Starship - 4 (fun little space adventure) It's All True - 3 Rogue Farm - 3 (very strange story) The Ice - 5 (very sad, moving tale) Ej-Es - 3 (mystery story, not entirely successful) The Bellman - 3 The Bear's Baby - 4 (nice mix of sf and nature) Calling Your Name - 3 (alternate realities can suck) June Sixteenth at Anna's - 3 The Green Leopard Plague - 4 (the name hardly relates to the story, which is very good) The Fluted Girl - 4 (an early story from soon-to-be beloved author Paolo Bacigalupi) Dead Worlds - 3 King Dragon - 3 (sf or fantasy? Hard to say) Singletons in Love - 3 Anomalous Structures of My Dreams - 3 (creepy) The Cookie Monster - 5 (really fun story, not too surprising from Verner Vinge) Joe Steele - 3 Birth Days - 3 Awake in the Night - 4 (a bizarre, spooky story just barely on the sf side of fantasy) The Long Way Home - 4 The Eyes of America - 4 (entertaining alternate history) Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst - 4 (a fun time travel excursion) Night of Time - 3 Strong Medicine - 3 Send Me a Mentagram - 3 (another creepy mystery, this time with a medical element) And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon - 3 (a comedy about technology) Flashmen - 4 Dragonhead - 3 Dear Abbey - 5 (an epic adventure through time)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nhw.livejournal.com/159985.html[return][return]I'd read a number of these stories already while compiling my survey of this year's Hugo nominees, and one or two others from having read their original magazine appearance (my old friend Dominic Green's chilling "Send Me A Mentagram", for instance). A surprising number of alternate history and time travel stories (by an accident of birth, Stalin ends up running the United States; a backyard electrical accident shunts one narrator into a para http://nhw.livejournal.com/159985.html[return][return]I'd read a number of these stories already while compiling my survey of this year's Hugo nominees, and one or two others from having read their original magazine appearance (my old friend Dominic Green's chilling "Send Me A Mentagram", for instance). A surprising number of alternate history and time travel stories (by an accident of birth, Stalin ends up running the United States; a backyard electrical accident shunts one narrator into a parallel universe or two; and a story featuring messengers from the future trying to do a deal with Orson Welles is matched by one with a similar plot starring William Randolph Hearst). A few months ago I tried reading William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land and found it unfinishable; I did manage to finish John C. Wright's story here set in the same universe, but I'm afraid I fell asleep twice while reading it. The best story for me was Steven Popkes' "The Ice", looking at questions of cloning and of predestination.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the series the tales have advanced and grown in imagination and detail with our ability to envision greater concepts and possibilities... Rod Serling said, "...fantasy is the impossible made probable. science fiction is the improbable made possible..." and in the pages of these books is the absolute best the vastness of science fiction writing has to offer... sit back, relax, and dream...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I wanted to like it better. I wanted it to sit next to another edition of The Year's Best. It is going back to circulation. Although Vernor Vinge's "The Cookie Monster", Terry Dowling's "Flashmen", Kage Baker's "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst", and Geoffrey Landis's "The Eyes of America" were standouts, and Paul di Filippo's "And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon" was a triple standout for being fanciful, funny, and realistic, the rest fell flat for me. Those five were not enough to rescue the oth I wanted to like it better. I wanted it to sit next to another edition of The Year's Best. It is going back to circulation. Although Vernor Vinge's "The Cookie Monster", Terry Dowling's "Flashmen", Kage Baker's "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst", and Geoffrey Landis's "The Eyes of America" were standouts, and Paul di Filippo's "And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon" was a triple standout for being fanciful, funny, and realistic, the rest fell flat for me. Those five were not enough to rescue the other 500-odd pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

    I'm reading the 12th edition of this right now, which I had a hard time finding here. So far, it's great. I read stories in-between other books or while I read non-fiction. Great quality semi-short stories. I'm reading the 12th edition of this right now, which I had a hard time finding here. So far, it's great. I read stories in-between other books or while I read non-fiction. Great quality semi-short stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Devlin

    If you read one sci-fi book a year, this is the one. Always stories of high caliber with a few tossed in that will keep you thinking weeks later, not to mention the collection is a primer for what science and technology everyone will be talking about five to ten years from now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    Another ok collection of sci-fi short stories. Some of them went on a bit longer than I felt they needed to, but like most anthologies there are always going to be stories you like less than the others.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Best so far: none 2/29

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Dosser

    Notable: "Awake In the Night," "Rogue Farm," "Dear Abbey" and "Flashmen." Notable: "Awake In the Night," "Rogue Farm," "Dear Abbey" and "Flashmen."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    a must-read for the sci-fi fan, this is the 2004 edition of an annual collection. As usual, it contains, as the title claims, the very best of the year's short stories. a must-read for the sci-fi fan, this is the 2004 edition of an annual collection. As usual, it contains, as the title claims, the very best of the year's short stories.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Craig Bolton

    The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection (No. 21) by Gardner Dozois (2004) The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection (No. 21) by Gardner Dozois (2004)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Bashforth

    Good but not spectacular. I liked Stephen Baxter's take on the end of the world and how the English may have been k]likely to behave, Also enjoyed Ted Chiang's time travelling story. Good but not spectacular. I liked Stephen Baxter's take on the end of the world and how the English may have been k]likely to behave, Also enjoyed Ted Chiang's time travelling story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kei

    There were some amazing stories in here. Enjoyable, thought-provoking, and some that irritated me deeply. Good collection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Best stories: King Dragon – Michael Swanwick Dear Abbey – Terry Bisson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    First half was very good, second half was so so.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    12/25/11: "The Bellman" by John Varley 12/26/11: "Send Me a Mentagram" by Dominic Green 12/26/11: "Ej-Es" by Nancy Kress 12/25/11: "The Bellman" by John Varley 12/26/11: "Send Me a Mentagram" by Dominic Green 12/26/11: "Ej-Es" by Nancy Kress

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I really liked "Dead Worlds" and "The Ice". They made the anthology for me. I really liked "Dead Worlds" and "The Ice". They made the anthology for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scotoma

  30. 4 out of 5

    J R

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