Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dozois, Gardner. The year's best science fiction: Twenty-first annual collection.New York: St. Martin's, 2004. 704pp.
Hartwell, David G. and Kathryn Cramer. Year's best SF 10. New York: Eos, 2005. 512pp
Hartwell, David G. and Kathryn Cramer. Year's best fantasy 5. New York: Eos, 2005. 512pp.

These books are obviously self-recommending. If you love short fiction in the fantasy or sf fields, then you will love these books. And their predecessors and successors. Of these particular instances of these series, I think I liked the Hartwell/Cramer sf volume best, followed closely by the Dozois then the Hartwell/Cramer fantasy a little further back. The fantasy volume's standing mostly reflects the fact I'm a more avid reader of sf than fantasy so there were a higher proportion of stories I just didn't care for. Of the two sf volumes, the Dozois is is some ways more conservative, tending to choose the same authors and the same themes over and over whereas the Hartwell/Cramer is a little more adventurous. However, the sheer size of the Dozois and the fact that he can choose more novellas does compensate a bit.

Some standout stories from the Hartwell/Cramer sf book:

  • "Sergeant Chip" by Bradley Denton
  • "Burning Day" by Glenn Grant
  • "Scout's Honor" by Terry Bisson
  • "Red City" by Janeen Web
  • "Mastermindless" by Mathew Hughes (gotta get some of this guy's novels)
  • "The Cascade" by Sean McMullen
  • "Savant Songs" by Brenda Cooper

Some standout stories from the Hartwell/Cramer fantasy book:

  • "The Dragons of Summer Gulch" by Robert Reed
  • "The End of the World as we Know it" by Dale Bailey
  • "Leaving his Cares Behind Him" by Kage Baker (I always love Baker's stories)
  • "Life in Stone" by Tim Pratt
  • "Beyond the River" by Joel Lane
  • "Death's Door" by Terry Bisson (two by Bisson, a good year)

Some standout stories from the Dozois book:

  • "The Bear's Baby" by Judith Moffett
  • "The Green Leopard Plague" by Walter John Williams
  • "The Fluted Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi (new discovery of the year)
  • "King Dragon" by Michael Swanwick (one of the best short story writers in sf)
  • "The Cookie Monster" by Vernor Vinge (I'm usually not too fond of his work, but this ones was great)
  • "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst" by Kage Baker (another by Baker, this time one of her Company series)
  • "Dear Abbey" by Terry Bisson (a trifecta for Bisson)


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