Silverberg, Robert and Karen Haber, editors. Science Fiction: The Best of 2002. New York: iBooks. 3/2003. 420pp.
There's something depressing about doing one bad review after another. Means I'm wasting my darn time reading these stupid books. This is the second year Silverberg and Haber have done these anthologies and I have to say that I thought last year's was pretty good. Unfortunately, this year's seems a bit rushed and careless. Take the introduction, for example. Virtually the same, word for word, as last year's. No attempt what so ever to sum up the year in SF. Even the same stupid mistake on David G. Hartwell's name. They call him David A. Hartwell. Once is bad enough, but to make the same stupid mistake two years in a row is unforgivable. I don't pay cdn$11.99 for cut and paste. No story notes to put the work in context of the field or the author's career. Okay, they're the first year's best out of the gates, a couple of months ahead of Hartwell & Cramer's or Dozois's collection, so speed is of the essence, but it's not rocket science to write story notes for a story published in January by December. The point here seems to be to steal market share from the other two collections by being out first, rather than trying to get the best, most overlooked stories.
And speaking of the stories, many just don't do it for me. Author's I really enjoy like Ian MacLeod or Robert Reed are represented here with stories that don't appeal to me all that much -- even Reed's "Coelacanths." "Tourist" by Charles Stross emphasises his weaknesses in characterization without compensating with his strengths in vision. Several other of the stories just don't really engage me as much as they could. I also wish they had tried a little harder to get stories from beyond Asimov's and a few other fairly standard and expected sources. I do, however, have to mention that the Ted Chiang story and Michael Swanwick story are brilliant as usual. I'll update here when I read Hartwell & Cramer's Year's Best SF 8.