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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Thirteen

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The finest short science fiction and fantasy, from the master anthologist Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine; fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has pored through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the mo The finest short science fiction and fantasy, from the master anthologist Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine; fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has pored through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the most engaging science fiction and fantasy to thrill and delight readers. Past volumes have included such writers as Yoon Ha Lee, Max Gladstone, Neil Gaiman, N. J. Jemisin, Indrapramit Das, Scott Lynch, Alastair Reynolds, Charlie Jane Anders and Samuel R. Delany. 


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The finest short science fiction and fantasy, from the master anthologist Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine; fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has pored through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the mo The finest short science fiction and fantasy, from the master anthologist Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine; fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has pored through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the most engaging science fiction and fantasy to thrill and delight readers. Past volumes have included such writers as Yoon Ha Lee, Max Gladstone, Neil Gaiman, N. J. Jemisin, Indrapramit Das, Scott Lynch, Alastair Reynolds, Charlie Jane Anders and Samuel R. Delany. 

30 review for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Thirteen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    It's a lovely collection of short fiction performed by Corey Allen (Narrator), Morgan Hallett (Narrator), Catherine Ho (Narrator), John Keating (Narrator), Rosalyn Landor (Narrator), Richard Poe (Narrator), and Neil Shah (Narrator). I've attached a link if I could find one. I didn't love them but I didn't hate any. • “Mother Tongues”, S. Qiouyi Lu (Asimov’s Science Fiction) http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/lu_02... • “Olivia’s Table”, Alyssa Wong (A Thousand Beginnings and Endings) • “The Secret Live It's a lovely collection of short fiction performed by Corey Allen (Narrator), Morgan Hallett (Narrator), Catherine Ho (Narrator), John Keating (Narrator), Rosalyn Landor (Narrator), Richard Poe (Narrator), and Neil Shah (Narrator). I've attached a link if I could find one. I didn't love them but I didn't hate any. • “Mother Tongues”, S. Qiouyi Lu (Asimov’s Science Fiction) http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/lu_02... • “Olivia’s Table”, Alyssa Wong (A Thousand Beginnings and Endings) • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, P Djeli Clark (Fireside Magazine) https://firesidefiction.com/the-secre... • “Yard Dog”, Tade Thompson (Fiyah #7) • “The Woman Who Destroyed Us”, SL Huang (Twelve Tomorrows) • “The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto”, Annalee Newitz (Robots vs. Fairies) • “The Starship and the Temple Cat”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.co... • “A Brief and Fearful Star”, Carmen Maria Machado (Slate) https://slate.com/technology/2018/06/... • “Field Biology of the Wee Fairies”, Naomi Kritzer (Apex, 9/4/18) "Just like with girls, there’s a point when they can see us. Most of them pretend they can’t, though, and they almost never try to catch us.” “What happens when a boy catches you?” “Depends on the boy. Someday, when you’re older, you might meet a boy who will admit to having caught a fairy. Ask him how it went.” “Can you make someone strong, instead of pretty?” The fairy gave her a sort of a sideways look. “We don’t actually make anyone pretty.” This was new information. Amelia sat down and took out her notepad. “Go on.” “This is very complicated, and you probably won’t understand it.” “Try me.” “When you touch us, that lets us see into the future. Just a little, right after we’re caught. So, when we want to have that power for a while, we find girls who can see us, let them catch us, and then we promise them something based on what we can see about their future.” https://www.apex-magazine.com/field-b... • “Intervention”, Kelly Robson (Infinity’s End) • “The Bookcase Expedition”, Jeffrey Ford (Robots vs. Fairies) • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine) You’d think it would make us happy when a kid checks out the same book a zillion times in a row, but actually it just keeps us up at night. The Runaway Prince is one of those low-budget young adult fantasies from the mid-nineties, before J.K. Rowling arrived to tell everyone that magic was cool, printed on brittle yellow paper. It’s about a lonely boy who runs away and discovers a Magical Portal into another world where he has Medieval Adventures, but honestly there are so many typos most people give up before he even finds the portal. Not this kid, though. He pulled it off the shelf and sat cross-legged in the juvenile fiction section with his grimy red backpack clutched to his chest. He didn’t move for hours. Other patrons were forced to double-back in the aisle, shooting suspicious, you-don’t-belong-here looks behind them as if wondering what a skinny black teenager was really up to while pretending to read a fantasy book. He ignored them. The books above him rustled and quivered; that kind of attention flatters them. https://www.apex-magazine.com/a-witch... • “The Staff in the Stone”, Garth Nix (The Book of Magic) • “Okay, Glory”, Elizabeth Bear (Twelve Tomorrows) http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... • “Widdam”, Vandana Singh (F&SF) • “Dreadful Young Ladies”, Kelly Barnhill (Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories) • “The Only Harmless Great Thing”, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing) • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny) “She was supposed to pine,” said the slim-hipped faerie glumly. “They always pine. You make passionate love to them and then you vanish and they pine away and die of love.” “Ha!” The faerie next to him poked the fire with a stick. “Not our Rose. Did she give you the line about the lost sheep, too?” “That sheep gets lost a lot,” muttered a third one. He had darkly tanned skin and shocking green eyes. “I’ve my doubts that it ever really existed.” “We looked for it for three weeks,” said the slim-hipped faerie. “I had to stop looking. I couldn’t keep up.” The other fae raised their beers in silent tribute to the stamina of the absent Miss McGregor. https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t... • “When We Were Starless”, Simone Heller (Clarkesworld) http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/helle... • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”, Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, 11/31/18) https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/s... • “Blessings”, Naomi Novik (Uncanny) https://uncannymagazine.com/article/b... • “Meat and Salt and Sparks”, Rich Larson (Tor.com) https://www.tor.com/2018/06/06/meat-a... • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth”, Daryl Gregory (Tor.com) The fern man stood in the dark on the coffee table. Its bulb head drooped sleepily, and its stem arms hung at its sides. The torso leaned slightly—toward the window, LT realized. He picked up the ceramic pot and set it on the sill, in a pool of streetlight. Slowly, the trunk began to straighten. Over the next few minutes, the head gradually lifted like a deacon finishing a prayer, and the round leaves at the ends of its arms unfurled like loosening fists. The movement was almost too incremental to detect; its posture seemed to shift only when he looked away or lost concentration. Slow Mo, he thought. That’s what we’ll call you. Tomorrow his mother would throw all the paintings out the front window, send them sailing into the street. LT would never see the boyfriend again. The fern man stayed. https://www.tor.com/2018/09/19/nine-l... • “Golgotha “, Dave Hutchinson (2001: An Odyssey in Words) • “Flint and Mirror”, John Crowley (The Book of Magic) • “An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia) • “You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I’ll Pretend Like I Never Met You”, Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed,) Wells is bourbon and hamburgers and a life spent spending every last cent on simple sins. Love has found him wanting. He’s stood in rooms full of birth and thought about dying. He’s a minor magic man with nothing but his broken life to lose. Lately, he’s been haunting Boise, Idaho. He’s learned how to say the name of the place, the “sea” instead of “zee,” and so people think he’s local enough to last. While he stands at the beverage station, staunching his nose with his dad’s scarf trick and waiting a thousand years for the kettle on the hotplate to boil, he thinks about performing with his father, thirty years ago, posing in front of a glittering backdrop, his dad throwing a knife at his heart, and the oohs from the crowd as the knife diverted midair and stung the ceiling. His dad, grinning and bowing. Mustache. Top hat. Magic. Every once in a while, the knife would go a little way in, and every once in a while, Wells would wake up with a Band-Aid under his t-shirt. Just once, something went wronger than usual and Wells woke up frozen, wristbanded, on a gurney. His dad pushed the gurney out of the basement of the hospital, and there was Wells, alive again. “Sorry about that, buddy,” said his dad, and laughed. “Overkill.” http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... • “Quality Time”, Ken Liu (Robots vs. Fairies) • “The Storyteller’s Replacement”, N K Jemisin (How Long Till Black Future Month?) “The worlds within How Long ‘til Black Future Month vary widely, from the futuristic to the sword-and-sorcery typical fantasy world. “The Storyteller’s Replacement” is the most obvious example of a traditional high fantasy story. In the story, a king absorbs powers from dragon hearts to maintain his throne. He’s weak, cowardly, and powerless, and the only way he can control his kingdom is by hurting others. An omniscient narrator criticizes the king and reminds readers that bad leaders drain power from others instead of improving themselves.” From: http://www.supersummary.com/how-long-... • “Firelight”, Ursula K Le Guin (The Paris Review 225) https://www.theparisreview.org/fictio... ************************************ Generously provided by

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    This series is a reliable sampling of the best of the year. What I like about this series is that the editor has a keen appreciation for both science fiction and fantasy, and doesn't segregate them within the volume. You usually have a pretty good idea within a page or two which is which, but some are ambiguous, and that's the charm; they could be read either way. They are all excellent regardless. There are a number of 'year's best' volumes, but they are often heavy on either SF or F. For someon This series is a reliable sampling of the best of the year. What I like about this series is that the editor has a keen appreciation for both science fiction and fantasy, and doesn't segregate them within the volume. You usually have a pretty good idea within a page or two which is which, but some are ambiguous, and that's the charm; they could be read either way. They are all excellent regardless. There are a number of 'year's best' volumes, but they are often heavy on either SF or F. For someone who enjoys both, and for newbies who don't know what they would like, this is an excellent offering.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I have done a limited reading of this collection and am posting reviews for only those works which I've read so far, beginning in 2020 with Le Guin's last Earthsea story. Eventually I'll get through the entire collection. Firelight by Ursula K. Le Guin (5/5, Dec 2020) He was thinking of Lookfar, abandoned long ago, beached on the sands of Selidor. Firelight, which appeared in this anthology in 2019, may be the last short story that Le Guin published. It's an Earthsea story in which the former maste I have done a limited reading of this collection and am posting reviews for only those works which I've read so far, beginning in 2020 with Le Guin's last Earthsea story. Eventually I'll get through the entire collection. Firelight by Ursula K. Le Guin (5/5, Dec 2020) He was thinking of Lookfar, abandoned long ago, beached on the sands of Selidor. Firelight, which appeared in this anthology in 2019, may be the last short story that Le Guin published. It's an Earthsea story in which the former master wizard Ged muses about the sigificant events in his past life, from his voyage east with Vetch, to the Tombs of Atuan, and his journey with the young king to the Dry Lands of Selidor. Ged considers the sacrifice he made — his life — in the unreal lands to save humanity from the evil of a malicious sorcerer. Ged also reflects on his sexuality and the unspoken bargain accepted by wizards in which they exchange celibacy for their powers. It was like a vision, but felt more than seen: he knew the deep earth beneath him, the deep sea before. It was a strange knowledge, but there was joy in knowing it. The story overflows with reminiscences of Ged's lifetime — triumphs and failures, the paths travelled, choices made. It's evocative and poetic, with a melancholic and soulful tone. We are presented with an image of Ged in his twilight years, looking back on an eventful life from a quiet and uneventful retirement. It's a very beautiful epilogue to the Earthsea saga and should not be overlooked by fans of Ursula Le Guin.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette Greaves

    These anthologies are always a treat, for the stories themselves and for the introduction to new authors. This collection has, for me, two stand out stories. Alix E Harrow's 'A Witch's Guide To Escape ...' was an absolute joy to read. I'm looking forward to reading more from them. T. Kingfisher's 'The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society' made me laugh out loud in sheer delight. (This gem is available free online at the moment, on the Uncanny website.) The last story in the book is 'Fire These anthologies are always a treat, for the stories themselves and for the introduction to new authors. This collection has, for me, two stand out stories. Alix E Harrow's 'A Witch's Guide To Escape ...' was an absolute joy to read. I'm looking forward to reading more from them. T. Kingfisher's 'The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society' made me laugh out loud in sheer delight. (This gem is available free online at the moment, on the Uncanny website.) The last story in the book is 'Firelight' by Ursula Le Guin, a loving tale by a master about her beloved creation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Really excellent collection of stories. I came away from this with a much better idea of what types of SFF stories appeal to me, particularly on the SF side. It's always been a pretty hit-or-miss genre for me, but now I can definitively say dystopian applications of current or near-future technologies pluck the chord of fear in me more effectively than any thriller. Highlights for me included (starting from most favorite): “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” - Zen Cho “A Witch’s Guide Really excellent collection of stories. I came away from this with a much better idea of what types of SFF stories appeal to me, particularly on the SF side. It's always been a pretty hit-or-miss genre for me, but now I can definitively say dystopian applications of current or near-future technologies pluck the chord of fear in me more effectively than any thriller. Highlights for me included (starting from most favorite): “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” - Zen Cho “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” - Alix E. Harrow “Okay, Glory” - Elizabeth Bear “The Storyteller’s Replacement” - N K Jemisin “Intervention” - Kelly Robson “Field Biology of the Wee Fairies” - Naomi Kritzer “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” - Daryl Gregory “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” - T. Kingfisher “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” - P Djeli Clark “Mother Tongues” - S. Qiouyi Lu “The Woman Who Destroyed Us” - SL Huang I can't wait to look up other works by these authors!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mariann Komlós

    Of course as this is a collection of short stories, there were better and worse novellas in here, but there were some really amazing ones , so I am glad I read it. Found some authors to be aware of, which is always positive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mira Domsky

    There were some really killer stories in here, and a few that really weren't my cup of tea. Totally worth reading. There were some really killer stories in here, and a few that really weren't my cup of tea. Totally worth reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Golding

    Some hits and a lot of misses.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brooks

    There are enough really good stories here to push this to 5 stars. One of the few times that I haven't struggled to finish a short story anthology. There are enough really good stories here to push this to 5 stars. One of the few times that I haven't struggled to finish a short story anthology.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Luv Olivia’s table.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    An incredibly strong anthology! No real low points or dull inclusions. The Staff in the Stone and Okay, Glory were my high points. Yoon Ha Lee's The Starship and the Temple Cat was also fantastic. An incredibly strong anthology! No real low points or dull inclusions. The Staff in the Stone and Okay, Glory were my high points. Yoon Ha Lee's The Starship and the Temple Cat was also fantastic.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Francisco

    A collection of sci-fi and fantasy short fiction released in 2018, gives us a pretty good panorama of the field. And this is one of the most exciting fields of writing these days and better than it's ever been. Gone are the days of white men dominating the production of fiction and we get a really diverse number of voices here, from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Just looking at the highlights on the cover this is easy to see, women writers, black writers, south and east asian writ A collection of sci-fi and fantasy short fiction released in 2018, gives us a pretty good panorama of the field. And this is one of the most exciting fields of writing these days and better than it's ever been. Gone are the days of white men dominating the production of fiction and we get a really diverse number of voices here, from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Just looking at the highlights on the cover this is easy to see, women writers, black writers, south and east asian writers and this is not a question of diversity for the sake of diversity, these are really the most interesting voices bringing something fresh and new to the field. Some classics remain, however, be they LeGuin with a new Earthsea story or people like John Crowley with a story on John Dee, both great. Some of the highlights are the stories by N.K. Jemisin, P. Djèli Clark, Andy Duncan, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu and Tade Thompson. A great snapshot of the year in short fantastic fiction and a great entry point into an exciting field of writing

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura Reed

  14. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

  16. 4 out of 5

    Georgianna

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  18. 4 out of 5

    DAVID A SMITH

  19. 4 out of 5

    katayoun Masoodi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paula

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anja

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Myint

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bappaditya Banerjee

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard S. Crawford

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  28. 4 out of 5

    Merdog8791

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zeb

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