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Widely regarded as the one essential book for every science fiction fan, The Year's Best Science Fiction (Winner of the 2002 Locus Award for Best Anthology) continues to uphold its standard of excellence with more than two dozen stories representing the previous year's best SF writing. This year's volume includes Ian R. MacLeod, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Maureen F. McHugh, R Widely regarded as the one essential book for every science fiction fan, The Year's Best Science Fiction (Winner of the 2002 Locus Award for Best Anthology) continues to uphold its standard of excellence with more than two dozen stories representing the previous year's best SF writing. This year's volume includes Ian R. MacLeod, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Maureen F. McHugh, Robert Reed, Paul McAuley, Michael Swanwick, Robert Silverberg, Charles Stross, John Kessel, Gregory Benford and many other talented authors of SF, as well as thorough summations of the year and a recommended reading list. Contents xi • Summation: 2002 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Breathmoss • (2002) • novella by Ian R. MacLeod 52 • The Most Famous Little Girl in the World • (2002) • novelette by Nancy Kress 71 • The Passenger • (2002) • novelette by Paul J. McAuley [as by Paul McAuley ] 95 • The Political Officer • (2002) • novella by Charles Coleman Finlay 135 • Lambing Season • (2002) • shortstory by Molly Gloss 145 • Coelacanths • (2002) • novelette by Robert Reed 164 • Presence • (2002) • novelette by Maureen F. McHugh 184 • Halo • [Macx Family] • (2002) • novelette by Charles Stross 212 • In Paradise • (2002) • shortstory by Bruce Sterling 221 • The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars • (2002) • novelette by Ian McDonald 243 • Stories for Men • (2002) • novella by John Kessel 302 • To Become a Warrior • (2002) • shortstory by Chris Beckett 313 • The Clear Blue Seas of Luna • (2002) • novelette by Gregory Benford 339 • V.A.O. • (2002) • novella by Geoff Ryman 367 • Winters Are Hard • (2002) • novelette by Steven Popkes 390 • At the Money • (2002) • novelette by Richard Wadholm 417 • Agent Provocateur • (2002) • shortstory by Alexander C. Irvine [as by Alexander Irvine ] 427 • Singleton • (2002) • novella by Greg Egan 467 • Slow Life • (2002) • novelette by Michael Swanwick 486 • A Flock of Birds • (2002) • shortstory by James Van Pelt 501 • The Potter of Bones • (2002) • novella by Eleanor Arnason 538 • The Whisper of Disks • (2002) • novelette by John Meaney (aka The Whisper of Discs) 567 • The Hotel at Harlan's Landing • [Company] • (2002) • shortstory by Kage Baker 578 • The Millennium Party • (2002) • shortfiction by Walter Jon Williams 581 • Turquoise Days • [Revelation Space] • (2002) • novella by Alastair Reynolds 641 • Honorable Mentions: 2002 • essay by Gardner Dozois


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Widely regarded as the one essential book for every science fiction fan, The Year's Best Science Fiction (Winner of the 2002 Locus Award for Best Anthology) continues to uphold its standard of excellence with more than two dozen stories representing the previous year's best SF writing. This year's volume includes Ian R. MacLeod, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Maureen F. McHugh, R Widely regarded as the one essential book for every science fiction fan, The Year's Best Science Fiction (Winner of the 2002 Locus Award for Best Anthology) continues to uphold its standard of excellence with more than two dozen stories representing the previous year's best SF writing. This year's volume includes Ian R. MacLeod, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Maureen F. McHugh, Robert Reed, Paul McAuley, Michael Swanwick, Robert Silverberg, Charles Stross, John Kessel, Gregory Benford and many other talented authors of SF, as well as thorough summations of the year and a recommended reading list. Contents xi • Summation: 2002 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Breathmoss • (2002) • novella by Ian R. MacLeod 52 • The Most Famous Little Girl in the World • (2002) • novelette by Nancy Kress 71 • The Passenger • (2002) • novelette by Paul J. McAuley [as by Paul McAuley ] 95 • The Political Officer • (2002) • novella by Charles Coleman Finlay 135 • Lambing Season • (2002) • shortstory by Molly Gloss 145 • Coelacanths • (2002) • novelette by Robert Reed 164 • Presence • (2002) • novelette by Maureen F. McHugh 184 • Halo • [Macx Family] • (2002) • novelette by Charles Stross 212 • In Paradise • (2002) • shortstory by Bruce Sterling 221 • The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars • (2002) • novelette by Ian McDonald 243 • Stories for Men • (2002) • novella by John Kessel 302 • To Become a Warrior • (2002) • shortstory by Chris Beckett 313 • The Clear Blue Seas of Luna • (2002) • novelette by Gregory Benford 339 • V.A.O. • (2002) • novella by Geoff Ryman 367 • Winters Are Hard • (2002) • novelette by Steven Popkes 390 • At the Money • (2002) • novelette by Richard Wadholm 417 • Agent Provocateur • (2002) • shortstory by Alexander C. Irvine [as by Alexander Irvine ] 427 • Singleton • (2002) • novella by Greg Egan 467 • Slow Life • (2002) • novelette by Michael Swanwick 486 • A Flock of Birds • (2002) • shortstory by James Van Pelt 501 • The Potter of Bones • (2002) • novella by Eleanor Arnason 538 • The Whisper of Disks • (2002) • novelette by John Meaney (aka The Whisper of Discs) 567 • The Hotel at Harlan's Landing • [Company] • (2002) • shortstory by Kage Baker 578 • The Millennium Party • (2002) • shortfiction by Walter Jon Williams 581 • Turquoise Days • [Revelation Space] • (2002) • novella by Alastair Reynolds 641 • Honorable Mentions: 2002 • essay by Gardner Dozois

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    pax

    Once again a very solid collection overall. Highlights are (unsurprisingly) Greg Egan's Singleton (seriously, read Egan's short fiction!), (surprisingly, for me) Michael Swanwick's "Slow Life", and Geoff Ryman's "V.A.O.". Breathmoss (novella) by Ian R. MacLeod - Still vaguely remembered this one, since it was also included in Dozois' "Best of the Best" collection. It is a smooth read and the story was (when it was written and perhaps still is, now) daring in the society it paints. The depth of the Once again a very solid collection overall. Highlights are (unsurprisingly) Greg Egan's Singleton (seriously, read Egan's short fiction!), (surprisingly, for me) Michael Swanwick's "Slow Life", and Geoff Ryman's "V.A.O.". Breathmoss (novella) by Ian R. MacLeod - Still vaguely remembered this one, since it was also included in Dozois' "Best of the Best" collection. It is a smooth read and the story was (when it was written and perhaps still is, now) daring in the society it paints. The depth of the relationship between the characters is surprising for such a short work; look especially at Jalila and Pavo. Yet - I am not sure there is a point to the story; maybe it's my general lack of interest in predestity and such; maybe because as wonderful as the story is it does not try to build a relationship to reality (science fiction as a mirror for our society, I still need this). I'd still read more by the author. The Most Famous Little Girl in the World (novelette) by Nancy Kress - I wonder whether Kress has read Strugatsky's "Roadside Picnic"; the story is very much different but it made me think about it a lot. And living today, in the future of this story, comparing the world sketched there with the reality - one has to wonder, whether the next steps will also become true, whether this is our future. The Passenger (novelette) by Paul McAuley - Somewhat pointless. But I am surprised by the diversity of characters; that was nice, does not save the story, though. The Political Officer (novella) by Charles Coleman Finlay - Kind of liked the atmosphere. But I am not sure this is how radiation poisoning works, especially after the fact, when recovering. One could add some handwaiv-y medicine into the story but then it is going to destroy the very thing I liked about it, namely the gritty dirty approach to space travel with a lot of technical and societal limitations. Lambing Season (shortstory) by Molly Gloss - A very different protagonist and a very different setup. Yet also somewhat lacking the big impact. But a good read in itself. Coelacanths (novelette) by Robert Reed - I think I get what he is trying to say? In any way: this one is really, really weird. Experimental. Not sure if good, but interesting. Presence (novelette) by Maureen F. McHugh - I've read this one in an individual collection of McHugh's and once I realized which story this was decided not to re-read it. It's packing a punch and then some and I had a bad day where I did not want to read something that I knew would be affecting me that much. Halo • [Macx Family] (novelette) by Charles Stross - Having read Stross' "Accelerando", it's strange to come back to a short story that would become part of the novel. I did not especially like Accelerando - loved the ideas, but as a book it did not work, especially the characters felt flat (and it does not have to be even in hard sf - Greg Egan is my favorite example here). In a short story however - in a short story this works perfectly. Although I do have to admit that I have no idea what reading this story would be like if one did not have the novel reverberating in the back of one's head. In Paradise (shortstory) by Bruce Sterling It's a few days later when I'm writing this and I promptly forgot what the story was about and had to look it up. It's a quick read, though, but nothing lasting. The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars (novelette) by Ian McDonald The Old Cosmonaut part's made me think of Pelevin's Omon Ra. I wonder whether McDonald ever read it? There was an English translation available ... That speculation aside: the two worlds the story creates are amazing, especially in their juxtaposition and so are the voices of the old man and the young one. (And then you stop and think of all the other possible futures and whether today - it's November 2017 - we actually live on some dying branch of the quantum tree; it tells you a lot about the world that I find this idea almost soothing.) Stories for Men (novella) by John Kessel I understand what this story tried to do with the gender-reversal and it seems to have worked for many people given how it won the Tiptree award, but it just does not click for me, not at all. Perhaps because the characters were much more types than people? I really dunno. Read Naomi Alderman's The Power if you want a really good take on similar issues. To Become a Warrior (shortstory) by Chris Beckett This is more fantasy than science fiction - but except for that: the voice of the narrator is amazing. The Clear Blue Seas of Luna (novelette) by Gregory Benford Loved how this one hinted onto the complexity of the world this story takes place in. Also yes, the changing perspectives - confusing, but in an interesting way, one that makes sense within the story. V.A.O. (novella) by Geoff Ryman Oh, that was a clever one. Hard and bitter and clever. Winters Are Hard (novelette) by Steven Popkes This one reads like something really old. Not in an objectionable way, but still ... And the wolves are a bit too human in their behavior. So I guess - old in the non-good-researched way or not-able-to-suspend-disbelief way? At the Money (novelette) by Richard Wadholm So many pages of pointless, boring technobabble ... Agent Provocateur (shortstory) by Alexander C. Irvine I have the feeling of having read this story too many times, sometimes worse, sometimes better executed. I really don't think there was any need to write it again. Singleton (novella) by Greg Egan I just love Greg Egan, OK? And this novella clearly shows why. From the little things that likely only few will catch, like the casual mentions of real key papers, to large, story-defining peculiarities of his writing like working drama-less long-term relationships. There are the key questions of the story: free will and what it could means if the world were strictly deterministic (and Egan does have an answer to that), the psychology of karma (such a simple thought once it is spelled out in front of you, such a perfect thought), (parental) love. And there is the firework of ideas each of which could be a story of it's own: that wall they built; the question of airtravel and AI. In short: there is so much to this story and it's so wonderfully written. Absolute recommendation. (Btw., the story is available here http://www.gregegan.net/MISC/SINGLETO...) Slow Life (novelette) by Michael Swanwick I can't remember ever liking any of Swanwick's stories so far even though they show up pretty often in the Year's Best Anthologies. But this one? This one is great. (view spoiler)[How the title builds up an expectation just to cleverly subvert it (hide spoiler)] (I love it when the title is actually part of the story). How the "public outreach" part of the mission is handled - I've been there it's scarily close to reality. Great story, fun read. A Flock of Birds (shortstory) by James Van Pelt This one tries to be symbolic but fails to be interesting. Not bad, just boring, although it's nice to see a different view of a post-apocalyptic world. The Potter of Bones (novella) by Eleanor Arnason Adnason short story collection is now on my wishlist. What else can I say? The Whisper of Disks (novelette) by John Meaney If it were just the story about Gus, I would have loved to read it. The "historical" part was ... meh. It also contributed nothing to the story - what is it there to say? That genius is a pure function of genetics? The Hotel at Harlan's Landing • [Company] (shortstory) by Kage Baker I haven't read Baker's other stories but from what I know about her work this one is part of a bigger timetraveller-universe. It's not groundbreaking, but it's very well written. And once again the choice of the narrator and her voice makes a story. The Millennium Party (shortfiction) by Walter Jon Williams Another one where I have the feeling that it could as well have been written forty years ago. Meh. Turquoise Days • [Revelation Space] (novella) by Alastair Reynolds Loved the first half - but the second with the big conspiracy was kind of meh.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    This is a book I read mainly between May and August 2004 so, in writing a review of it over eight years later, I would not be drawing on any detailed recollections of the stories in this anthology! Rather, I thought I would add some brief handwritten notes I took at the time I read the book. Should I re-read this book at any stage, I might flesh out my comments a bit more. Ian R. Macleod's novella, 'Breathmoss', is a coming of age tale set on a culturally Arabic planet where the majority of human This is a book I read mainly between May and August 2004 so, in writing a review of it over eight years later, I would not be drawing on any detailed recollections of the stories in this anthology! Rather, I thought I would add some brief handwritten notes I took at the time I read the book. Should I re-read this book at any stage, I might flesh out my comments a bit more. Ian R. Macleod's novella, 'Breathmoss', is a coming of age tale set on a culturally Arabic planet where the majority of humans are female and who now reproduce without males. The protagonist, a girl, learns about space travel and has to decide whether to leave the planet and become a kind of monk-like pilot or stay on her world and develop a relationship with a boy or another girl. I noted that I'd finished reading this story after circa two weeks of sporadic reading – but I don't know if this is a reflection on the quality of the work or that I was more preoccupied with other matters at the time. In contrast, I read Nancy Kress' short story, 'The most famous little girl in the world', at a single sitting. It is an interesting near-future story in which the United States is becoming a more paranoid and security-conscious society, but I found the background plot of the protagonist's sister being abducted by aliens to be vague and unsatisfying. Paul J. McCauley's 'The passenger' is a more straightforward story of an encounter with the 'other', in this case, an apparently young girl with major genetic modifications hibernating in a space hulk, which is being decommissioned by a salvage team. It was a generally enjoyable story but it ended rather abruptly with a brief 'what-happened-to-everybody-afterwards' kind of summary. Charles C. Finlay's 'The political officer' is an interesting story of future post-war/post-revolutionary intrigue on a military spaceship. Possibly because Finlay was a new writer at the time, he tended to over-elaborate some points but I thought it was a sound enough story. I liked the xeno-archaeological element of Molly Gloss's 'Lambing season' where shepherds' mounds of stone may cover up things like the body of an alien (in this story) who died after a crash landing. I thought Robert Reed's 'Coelacanth' to be an odd story about varieties of human being aware of, and living in, different dimensions. Maureen F. McHugh's story, 'Presence', relates how a woman coped with her husband's Alzheimer's and her decision to have an experimental form of surgery performed on him to reverse the disease. The experimental technique is the 'science' – the rest is conventional fiction. There is a nice reference to the 'lousy' films in the Star Wars series (p. 202). Charles Stross's 'Halo' is a kind of space-based cyberpunk tale that shares with KW Jeter's Noir a fascination with legal constructs in an advanced technological world. In this case, an enhanced girl escaped her mother's custody by selling herself into slavery to a company she came to own on reaching her majority and then set up a kingdom for herself on a tiny moon of Jupiter so that she could escape the jurisdiction of shari'ah law by which she had herself 'enslaved' in the first place! Although there a number of other stories in this anthology, I either stopped reading the book at this point or merely stopped taking notes on each story. A month after finishing Stross' story, I was reading Quick Bites: Fiction to Sink Your Teeth Into , but as I'd read The Bedern Foundry (The Archaeology of York: The Medieval Walled City vol. 10/3) concurrently with The Mammoth Book of Best New Science Fiction 16, it's possible that I was still reading the latter towards the end of 2004. If so, I regret not taking further notes. It's good to see strong female protagonists (girls as well as adults) in some of the stories. I wonder if references to Arabic culture in two of the stories reflected an increased awareness of the Islamic world due to contemporary politics (i.e., the US war in Iraq and Afghanistan)? Overall, I seemed to enjoy the eight stories I took notes on, so I must catch up with my reading of Dozois' other Best New Science Fiction volumes in my library!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    Well, I'm only about a decade and a half behind on reading this Year's Best anthology, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. The Stross, Sterling, Egan and Swanwick stories were also in Hartwell's collection covering the same year, so I didn't reread them (and you can find my review on my old Livejournal site), but needless to say this is a strong collection from beginning to end. Special favorites were Ian R MacLeod's "Breathmoss" (which share a feature with the final story, Alastair Reynolds Well, I'm only about a decade and a half behind on reading this Year's Best anthology, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. The Stross, Sterling, Egan and Swanwick stories were also in Hartwell's collection covering the same year, so I didn't reread them (and you can find my review on my old Livejournal site), but needless to say this is a strong collection from beginning to end. Special favorites were Ian R MacLeod's "Breathmoss" (which share a feature with the final story, Alastair Reynolds's "Turquoise Days"), Molly Gloss's "Lambing Season" (which reminds me of my own "Crash Site" but done with an opposite outcome; very nice), and Ian McDonald's "The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars." The last one is a very interesting mix of historical fiction and alternate history, that overrides the objections I often have to alternate history. There's a nice pair of closely-themed feminist narratives in the last section: Eleanor Arnason's "The Potter of Bones" and John Meaney's "The Whisper of Disks" which both take time to develop mini-biographies. I have to say that I especially admired the immersive quality of the stories in this selection. I've made note of narrative strategies, both for my own use and for teaching, so clearly this volume made an impression. Strongly recommended. Oh, yes, I should add that this is a 9-grimace anthology, sad to say.

  4. 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...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sir He-Man

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Okay, so going down the list we got the great, the meh, and the what were you thinking The Great * The Political Officer by Charles Coleman Finlay - I liked that it was a dystopia mired in fundamentalist Christian dogma, but that wasn't the central focus of the story. Instead it's more about how every large government has spies and intrigues. * Slow Life by Michael Swanwick - Won the Hugo. An astronaut on Titan has to get out of a very sticky situation by figuring out that there's (gasp!) life on Okay, so going down the list we got the great, the meh, and the what were you thinking The Great * The Political Officer by Charles Coleman Finlay - I liked that it was a dystopia mired in fundamentalist Christian dogma, but that wasn't the central focus of the story. Instead it's more about how every large government has spies and intrigues. * Slow Life by Michael Swanwick - Won the Hugo. An astronaut on Titan has to get out of a very sticky situation by figuring out that there's (gasp!) life on Titan! Wonderfully told. * Lambing Season by Molly Gloss - This would have gotten my vote for best story. It's basically told from the POV of an older woman shepherd. It's the Brokeback Mountain of "Gray" Alien UFO stories. And it's very moving! No, really! * The Most Famous Little Girl in the World by Nancy Kress - A great story about two sisters that grow to hate each other and then make up over the course of a lifetime. Oh and one of them was famous for going up in a UFO. Not that it's important. What's important, and far more interesting, is their relationship. No, really! * The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars by Ian McDonald - Okay so this story by him I did like. Sort of. It was surreal and I liked that it started out as hard scifi and wound up going in a completely different direction than I assumed it would. * To Become a Warrior by Chris Beckett - Incredible characters mindfuck a young boy into committing a crime. Or are they telling the truth? It's one of those stories you can interpret and argue about but what is important is at heart the central character becomes a man, even if he doesn't become what he thinks he will. * V.A.O. by Geoff Ryman - Old people in the future, who were young hotshots in the dot com era, are now in an old folks home. Either by choice or because their kids stuck them there. And some old geysers are going literally insane and going on huge murder sprees as revenge for society treating them poorly. Told in a realistic, matter of fact, wry manner as only Ryman could possibly tell. * Agent Provocateur by Alexander Irvine - Incredibly original and short time travel, or rather in between time travel, story about possibilities... * A Flock of Birds by James Van Pelt - Utterly depressing but ultimately satisfying and well written post disease apocalypse story. Similar in a vein to Jeremiah, if you remember that series. * The Whisper of Discs by John Meaney - An utterly gorgeous tale of geniuses linked through a genetic line, the future genius never really knowing her heritage, the past never really getting the chances she really required to be happy. A meaningful attempt to ponder what genius is and how it affects the people who are born with it. * The Hotel at Harlan's Landing by Kage Baker - Why yes, I would like to hear about a town in Oregon in the 20s battling a demonic time traveler as he confronts a good time traveler. Thanks! * Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds - Engrossing, utterly alien world captured by utterly alien humans. One of Reynolds better stories. Tragic loss leads to redemption, or so we're led to believe that is the direction this will take. * In Paradise by Bruce Sterling - A superb love story about immigration, Iran, future government spying on its citizens, and a man who gives up everything willingly and happily to be in love with his soulmate. Dazzling. The Meh Breathmoss by Ian McLeod - Lesbians rule the cosmos! Space lesbians! And only a few men are left. They're weird because they have hair and penises. We never find out how men became nearly extinct. One girl wanders her beautiful world never really being satisfied with pretty girlfriends or the one man who may as well be a zoo exhibit. She ditches everyone and heads off to the stars. If I was on a planet with only lesbians I might do the same thing. * The Passenger by Paul McAuley - Little girl mutant doesn't speak but can murder her up some astrojerks. Fairly entertaining hard scifi. * Coelacanths by Robert Reed - Okay I'm an open minded guy. I will be honest. I have no idea what the shit I just read here. What the hell even happened??? I have NO idea. Some crazy shit, that's what. Some different people on different planes of reality because they evolved that way and some of them are homeless and what???? Make sense, Robert Reed. This would be a great story to read while listening to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. * Presence by Maureen F. McHugh - Incredibly well written but depressing ass story about future Alzheimers disease treatments and one woman's never ending hell dealing with her husband's sudden aggressive, childlike behavior, and total lack of empathy as she spends her life savings trying to save him. A scathing indictment of the health care system. * At The Money by Richard Wadholm - A bunch of annoying people trying to make a bunch of lucrative investments do so. Meh. * Halo by Charles Stross - I can see you're halo...halo...I can see you're halo...haloooooo. Oh sorry. Wrong Halo. What I meant to say was zzzzzzzzzzz... * Singleton by Greg Egan - A bunch of aliens thwart an archaeologist human who makes herself into an alien as she looks for ancient math related artifacts. The aliens are jerks. Like we used to be. Mehhhh. * The Clear Blue Seas of Luna by Gregory Benford - Why is it I never like stories about the moon? Well written but just...didn't do it for me. And What Were You Thinking * Stories for Men by John Kessel - reprehensibly boring and stupid, heavy handed and trying to comment on gender relations in the most annoying and vapid way possible. So of course the Nebulas awarded it with a nomination. * Winters are Hard by Stephen Popkes - Future whack job thinks he's a bear, genetically modifies himself to look more like one. Then he murders some dude for knocking around his bear cub. Who he considers to be like a child. Furry wank material. ughghghghgh * The Potter of Bones by Eleanor Arnason - Wow. This author sure loves her some lesbian furry porn. AVOID, WILL ROBINSON. DOUSE WITH FIRE. * The Millennium Party by Walter Jon Williams - Who doesn't love a story about immortal people eating each other just for kicks? Oh and what???

  6. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    These collections represent some of the best science fiction writing I encounter; even the stories I’m not as excited about seem to maintain that high quality. I should be able to remark on some changes I noticed between this and the last one I read, the Third Annual, but I can’t really except to say “new” writers such as K S Robinson and George R R Martin were no longer featured, apparently by 2002 their careers having moved to novels rather than short stories. The highlight of this volume for These collections represent some of the best science fiction writing I encounter; even the stories I’m not as excited about seem to maintain that high quality. I should be able to remark on some changes I noticed between this and the last one I read, the Third Annual, but I can’t really except to say “new” writers such as K S Robinson and George R R Martin were no longer featured, apparently by 2002 their careers having moved to novels rather than short stories. The highlight of this volume for me, was “Turquoise Days” by “new new” writer Alastair Reynolds, far and away my favorite sci fi author, who hadn’t started out yet at the time of the early volumes. These collections provide hours of high quality, satisfying reading, and purchased used, are a tremendous value. Also for authors I like, they provide leads for good full-length novels to read (though I have accumulated more novels to read than actually read so I can’t say a lot about that strategy yet). By the end of my life I hope to have gotten through all thirty five (I think) volumes. Now jumping back to read Fourth Annual. Sadly, Gardner Dozois passed a couple of years ago, but left hours of great reading, and I certainly am grateful for that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Princessjay

    Argh, it's taking me 7 years to finish this tome. For some reason it is difficult to focus on many of the stories in this collection. --------------------------------------- BREATHMOSS. Ian R. MacLeod. 3.5 STARS. A coming of age story involving moss that allow one to breathe under water, and a girl yearning to chase her dream. THE MOST FAMOUS LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD. Nancy Kress. [Can't remember anything about this one] THE PASSENGER. Paul McAuley. 3 STARS. A working crew in space found themselve Argh, it's taking me 7 years to finish this tome. For some reason it is difficult to focus on many of the stories in this collection. --------------------------------------- BREATHMOSS. Ian R. MacLeod. 3.5 STARS. A coming of age story involving moss that allow one to breathe under water, and a girl yearning to chase her dream. THE MOST FAMOUS LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD. Nancy Kress. [Can't remember anything about this one] THE PASSENGER. Paul McAuley. 3 STARS. A working crew in space found themselves with a special passenger(view spoiler)[, a little girl with genetically-manipulated powers. They helped to hide her and keep her away from authorities (hide spoiler)] . Straight-forward narrative. THE POLITICAL OFFICER. Charles Coleman Finlay. 2.5 STARS. Claustrophobia & political shenanigans war with one another on a space ship. What is the meaning of heroism & righteousness? Who the heck knows. LAMBING SEASON. Molly Gloss. 2 STARS. Short story, filled with minute details. A quiet woman spent her life herding sheep in the wild mountains. One night, she met an unusual visitor: (view spoiler)[a dog-man in a star ship. They fall into companionable co-existence, meeting 3 times, without interacting. Until the final time, when his ship crashed before her, and she comforted him the way she would a dog, until he died. Then she buried him beneath a rock monument, and took up astronomy. (hide spoiler)] I found this one hard to get through. I understand the details are meant to replicate her awareness of the world, mindful, non-judging, yet it made the pacing seem like molasses... COELACANTHS. Robert Reed. 3 STARS. 4 parallel story lines, 4 parallel tracks of humanity, surviving in a hostile universe in different sizes, from gigantic to minute, in various dimension. The naked man orgasmically orating human success, on the other hand, was deeply annoying. PRESENCE. Maureen F. McHugh. 4 STARS. Painful journey, the ups and downs of Alzheimer's, even in face of a "cure." Real. HALO. Charles Stross. 2 STARS. Overwhelming mass of mind-numbing technobabble laid over a simple story(view spoiler)[, genius child ran away from controlling mother into space, absorbed a planet's worth of raw materials into materials for her external expanded brain power, planning first contact with aliens; meanwhile, dealing with intricacies of Sharia law & hyper-sophisticated fiscal instruments (hide spoiler)] , with a rather anticlimactic ending to boot. Moreover, I disagree with the trend of these stories. Intellect, even hyper-intellect, is meaningless without understanding of the emotional experience of being human. Although the ending seem to address this, still it all felt very dismissive and arbitrary. IN PARADISE. Bruce Sterling. 2 STARS. Moslem and Catholic, love, language translation apps. Trying to make a point, but I can not remember what it is. THE OLD COSMONAUT & THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER DREAM OF MARS. Ian McDonald. NO RATING. Found this one hard to focus on. Something about an old Russian scientist and his abandoned dreams to go to Mars because Russian government dismantled its space initiative. STORIES FOR MEN. John Kessel. NO RATING. Exploration of a matri-centric society based on everything current-day feminism supposedly preaches. Men has traditional women's role--look pretty, be sexy and sleep with whomever they want, study art & science but bc they do not contribute to "real" work, they cannot vote. The disruptive element calls himself Tyler Durden, an agent working for creative destruction. The upside and downsides of manhood, and is it necessary? TO BECOME A WARRIOR. Chris Beckett. 3.5 STARS. Colloquial slangy language from TRAINSPOTTING, yeah? know what i mean?? from a sociopathic narrator. It's interesting to read this right now, when trailers about the AMERICAN GODS tv series is everywhere you turn. Some young disenfranchised dude from the projects is enticed by strangers to be a Thor's warrior. Except he must first pass a test. (view spoiler)[To kill his old social worker, who cares about him and he runs away from that concern. Someone else described this as when he becomes a man, but I don't see that, more a revelation that he's good deep down circumstances had rendered him moral-less and sociopathic. Felt no love from anyone, therefore decided he doesn't need nor understand love & feelings--except here his old SW gave love and something responds and he could only run away to build a higher wall. (hide spoiler)] THE CLEAR BLUE SEAS OF LUNA. Gregory Benford. The moon worldscaped into a human-livable world over centuries, by a cyborg-demigod: the Shaping Station with a human co-component. (view spoiler)[Some Earth clans come to try and take over what he created--but the man is digital and merged with all components of the planet. Extremely confusing to read as the narrative jumps between I and we and he and us, in between all his iterations. Bleh. (hide spoiler)] V.A.O. Geoff Ryman. WINTERS ARE HARD. Steven Popkes. AT THE MONEY. Richard Wadholm. AGENT PROVOCATEUR. Alexander Irvine. SINGLETON. Greg Egan. SLOW LIFE. Michael Swanwick. A FLOCK OF BIRDS. James van Pelt. THE POTTER OF BONES. Eleanor Arnason. THE WHISPER OF DISKS. John Meaney. THE HOTEL AT HARLAN'S LANDING. Kage Baker. THE MILLENNIUM PARTY. Walter John Williams. TURQUOISE DAYS. Alastair Reynolds.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    The Presence was very haunting

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    This anthology series is really excellent for the science fiction fan who doesn’t have lots of time to read. I own a copy of an earlier installment of this series, so after reading through two volumes I have to give them two thumbs up. Dozois starts off with a very useful and concise overview of the year in science fiction, ranging from small zines to Hollywood movies. For those of us who are getting into publishing for the first time, this overview is really helpful. This anthology contain short This anthology series is really excellent for the science fiction fan who doesn’t have lots of time to read. I own a copy of an earlier installment of this series, so after reading through two volumes I have to give them two thumbs up. Dozois starts off with a very useful and concise overview of the year in science fiction, ranging from small zines to Hollywood movies. For those of us who are getting into publishing for the first time, this overview is really helpful. This anthology contain short stories and novellas culled from the science fiction press. Most of the selections are pretty good. It’s too bad that the book starts off with a ponderous long story that is somewhat interesting, but a bad choice to lead off the book. I skipped a few poor stories that represent the self-absorbed literary school of writing for the sake of writing. Tell me a good story, dammit! The best stories here are the ones that relate in some way to our contemporary era. There is even one story that mentions the anti-globalization movement in passing. “Stories For Men” is an interesting novella about the boomerang effects of a future matriarchal society in a moon colony. “V.A.O” is a kick ass story about a group of elderly hackers who must have been ELF members at one time. “Singleton” by Greg Egan is a frightening tale about a couple who create a child based on artificial intelligence. “Lambing Season” is a fascinating first contact story told from the perspective of a woman shepard. Finally, the story that will stick with me is “Coelacanths,” which is a brain-bending story about quantum possibilities in a mutliverse populated by super-evolved humans.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    My copy of this collection is water damaged and well worn. Though it didn't have any "all-time great" pieces, the stories were consistently very good and this would probably be a good collection to start with. In fact I probably bought this as a gift for at least one person. Great stories by Ian R MacLeod, Kress, McHugh, Sterling, Ian McDonald, John Kessel, Chris Beckett, Geoffrey Ryman, Swanwick, Eleanor Arnason, Kage Baker and Alastair Reynolds. This was probably my first introduction to Kage B My copy of this collection is water damaged and well worn. Though it didn't have any "all-time great" pieces, the stories were consistently very good and this would probably be a good collection to start with. In fact I probably bought this as a gift for at least one person. Great stories by Ian R MacLeod, Kress, McHugh, Sterling, Ian McDonald, John Kessel, Chris Beckett, Geoffrey Ryman, Swanwick, Eleanor Arnason, Kage Baker and Alastair Reynolds. This was probably my first introduction to Kage Baker. Other good stories are by Charles Colman Finlay, Stross, Steven Popkes, and Richard Wadholm.

  11. 4 out of 5

    F.

    2007 was not a good year for "The Year's Best Science Fiction". Comparatively speaking, this was by far the worst of this annual anthology that I have read yet. There were a few gems in here but all in all, it was dry, anti-climactic, and boring as can be. I was really disappointed with this particular one. Not enough to make me avoid the rest of them because some of the the others have been amazing. But, if you're looking to start reading through all of these I would advise you to grab another 2007 was not a good year for "The Year's Best Science Fiction". Comparatively speaking, this was by far the worst of this annual anthology that I have read yet. There were a few gems in here but all in all, it was dry, anti-climactic, and boring as can be. I was really disappointed with this particular one. Not enough to make me avoid the rest of them because some of the the others have been amazing. But, if you're looking to start reading through all of these I would advise you to grab another year's first.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    I was only able to get halfway through it. Out of all of the short stories I read, I didn't find a single one that I genuinely liked, and only two got to "OK". All of the stories seemed to be trying very hard to be artistic and/or weird. At first I was going to go through the entire book because it's a book of short stories - each new story is a chance for a fresh start. But after getting halfway through, I decided to bag it. I was only able to get halfway through it. Out of all of the short stories I read, I didn't find a single one that I genuinely liked, and only two got to "OK". All of the stories seemed to be trying very hard to be artistic and/or weird. At first I was going to go through the entire book because it's a book of short stories - each new story is a chance for a fresh start. But after getting halfway through, I decided to bag it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    12/27/11: "The Passenger" by Paul J. McAuley 12/27/11: "The Millennium Party" by Walter Jon Williams 12/30/11: "The Political Officer" by Charles Coleman Finlay 12/30/11: "Slow Life" by Michael Swanwick 12/27/11: "The Passenger" by Paul J. McAuley 12/27/11: "The Millennium Party" by Walter Jon Williams 12/30/11: "The Political Officer" by Charles Coleman Finlay 12/30/11: "Slow Life" by Michael Swanwick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Replogle

    Couldn't do without this SciFi series. Re-reading good stories that I read elsewhere, reading stories I've never encounters before, and of course, some stories where I'm totally lost. But that's ok, I wouldn't miss an edition. Couldn't do without this SciFi series. Re-reading good stories that I read elsewhere, reading stories I've never encounters before, and of course, some stories where I'm totally lost. But that's ok, I wouldn't miss an edition.

  15. 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hypatia

    This was ok. Some of the stories were quite good, but there were a few in the middle that made me want to stop reading. I'm glad I stuck it out because the last couple were good. Overall though, I'm just not a short story fan. I prefer the more developed stories in a full length novel. This was ok. Some of the stories were quite good, but there were a few in the middle that made me want to stop reading. I'm glad I stuck it out because the last couple were good. Overall though, I'm just not a short story fan. I prefer the more developed stories in a full length novel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Best so far: In Paradise, Sterling 5/26

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Loved it as usual with Dozois work.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Best stories: Halo – Charles Stross Winters Are Hard – Steven Popkes The Potter of Bones - Eleanor Arnason

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Gallan

    94/648

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ross

    An excellent anthology of hard science fiction stories and novellas.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jar

    This is comment, not a review. Different stories have the same name--Robin--in them. Rather universial, that name.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrej

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fred Kiesche

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ricky Hughes

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris Mata

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lester

  30. 4 out of 5

    Simon

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