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The multiple Locus Award-winning annual collection of the year's best science fiction stories. In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self-evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in Th The multiple Locus Award-winning annual collection of the year's best science fiction stories. In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self-evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection, the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award-winning authors and masters of the field. With an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.


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The multiple Locus Award-winning annual collection of the year's best science fiction stories. In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self-evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in Th The multiple Locus Award-winning annual collection of the year's best science fiction stories. In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self-evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. Now, in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection, the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award-winning authors and masters of the field. With an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must-read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Hard to believe Dozois is gone 😢, and this will be his last annual year’s best. As always, required reading for short-SF fans, and the best twenty bucks you’ll spend on a book this year. You won’t find any poorly-written stories here, and you won’t like them all. Likely, you will like a different set than me. But enough great and near-great stories to keep you reading, and to bring you back for future re-reads. For me, 4 stars overall. I wonder if Dozois had settled on his final story order befor Hard to believe Dozois is gone 😢, and this will be his last annual year’s best. As always, required reading for short-SF fans, and the best twenty bucks you’ll spend on a book this year. You won’t find any poorly-written stories here, and you won’t like them all. Likely, you will like a different set than me. But enough great and near-great stories to keep you reading, and to bring you back for future re-reads. For me, 4 stars overall. I wonder if Dozois had settled on his final story order before his untimely death. The opening two stories were among the weakest in the anthology, I thought. My Personal Best list: • We Who Live in the Heart , by Kelly Robson. 5 stars! Online, too. Don't miss! • Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe, by Naomi Kritzer. 5 stars! And online too. • The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, by Finbarr O'Reilly. 5 stars, and online too. • Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance, by Tobias S. Buckell. 4.5 stars, and online too. • Sidewalks, by Maureen F. McHugh. 4.5 stars, and online too. • Nexus • novella by Michael F. Flynn. 4.5 stars • A Series of Steaks, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad. 4.5 stars, and online too. Hugo & Nebula nominee. • The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs • short story by Kelly Jennings. 4.5 stars • Canoe • short story by Nancy Kress. 4+ stars • Starlight Express, by Michael Swanwick. 4 stars • Winter Timeshare, by Ray Nayler. 4 stars • Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics, by Jess Barber and Sara Saab. 4 stars. Copy online • Mines by Eleanor Arnason. 4 stars Wow, an impressive list of 4-star or better stories! I’ve included story links where I could find them. If I missed any, please add to comments! I’ve tried to avoid spoilers. All the Stories • The Moon Is Not a Battlefield • novelette by Indrapramit Das. Indian military cantonment on Luna, retired soldier living in a slum on Earth. Eh. I got through this, more or less, but didn’t much like it. 1.5 stars. • My English Name • novelette by R. S. Benedict. An odd story about a shape-changing English teacher in contemporary China. I gave up. DNF. 2 stars? • An Evening with Severyn Grimes • short story by Rich Larson. Finally, a decent story! In a gritty future Chicago, a billionaire in his second body fights with the body’s Mom. Some weird Priesthood is involved, and a loyal, part-Neanderthal bodyguard. Lots of action! 3.5 stars, https://www.google.com/books/edition/... • Vanguard 2.0 • short story by Carter Scholz. An Uber habitat, one of three in orbit in the near future, gets a visit from the company's trillionaire CEO. He has a plan for World Domination. I liked it better on second reading. 3.6 stars. • Starlight Express • short story by Michael Swanwick. An atmospheric love story, of sorts, in a far-future Rome. Reminiscent of late Silverberg, a very fine tale. 4+ stars • The Martian Obelisk • short story by Linda Nagata. A far-future architect on Earth is creating a memorial on Mars. Complications ensue. 3-ish stars. Online at https://www.tor.com/2017/07/19/the-ma... • We Who Live in the Heart • novelette by Kelly Robson. In an overpopulated future, a few pioneers have colonized huge gasbag creatures they call "whales", on an outer-planet moon, likely Titan. These folks aren't big on touchy-feely, so recruiting a replacement crew member is always fraught. Top-notch modern colonial/pioneer SF, an easy 5 stars!. http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/robso... • Winter Timeshare • short story by Ray Nayler. Two lovers meet in Istanbul for their winter vacations. Bittersweet slice of life in a far future. 4 stars. • Dear Sarah • short story by Nancy Kress. The alien Likkies are here to help mankind. Really. Except for the people on the bottom, who lost their jobs. And are taking violent action. Good story, 3.5 stars. • Night Passage • [Revelation Space] • novelette by Alastair Reynolds. A great starship is sabotaged, and forced to stop at a mysterious alien object. A twisty story that didn’t quite work for me. 2.5 stars. • The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun • short story by Aliette de Bodard. A Dai Viet Empire story, this one is about a Viet group whose home world was destroyed by a super-weapon wielded by their enemies the Ro. Peace has returned, but … I have a blind spot for this series, and failed again to make much sense of it. Unrated. • Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe • short story by Naomi Kritzer. Great story, about pretty much what the title says : "I ran out of gas in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, just two hundred miles short of Pierre, …” 5 stars! http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritz... • The Hunger After You're Fed • short story by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham [as by James S. A. Corey]. Very short story about chasing dreams, in the near future. Good, 3+ stars. • Assassins • short story by Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier. Gamer/Virtual Reality story. Well-written, but I’m allergic to these. Not for me. 2 stars. • The Martian Job • novella by Jaine Fenn. Complex caper story with some pacing issues, but a rousing finish that I certainly didn’t see coming. 3.6 stars. • The Road to the Sea • short story by Lavie Tidhar. Eh. Post-apocalyptic mood piece. Didn’t do much for me. 2 stars. • Uncanny Valley • novelette by Greg Egan. An old man dies, and leaves his cybernetic clone to carry on his legacy. His human heirs aren’t pleased. OK+, 2.5 stars https://www.tor.com/2017/08/09/uncann... • The Wordless • short story by Indrapramit Das. Dalits (Untouchables) in space, sort of. DNF. Not for me! 0 for 2 for this author here. And I like stories about India! • Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics • novelette by Jess Barber and Sara Saab. Life and love in a future Beirut, recovering from droughts and other environmental ills. Sexy showers! How life and love don't work out the way you think they should. 4 stars. http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/barbe... • Zigeuner • short story by Harry Turtledove. Alt-WW2 1944, in Austria with an SS Hauptsturmfurher, rounding up gypsies. Grim, well-written, not to my taste. 2.5+ stars. • The Proving Ground • novella by Alec Nevala-Lee. A well-crafted story of a sea-based habitat the Marshall Islanders are building in Bikini Atoll. Things go wrong, in ways it would be unfair to reveal, but which are scientifically plausible. Fine science- and character-driven story, 4+ stars • Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance • short story by Tobias S. Buckell. Classic biter-bit tale, in a posthuman, post space-war setting. 4.5 stars, tasty stuff, highly recommended. https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fi... • The Influence Machine • novelette by Sean McMullen. A young woman in Victorian England builds a viewer that can see a more-advanced parallel London. Satire of the then-ruling class. 3 stars. • Canoe • short story by Nancy Kress. The first human expedition to an exoplanetary system finds life, intelligence, and a deadly threat to its existence. Tasty, 4+ stars. • The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs • short story by Kelly Jennings. What it says: grim, spare, pared-down story of an alien invasion. A new writer to watch for. 4.5 stars. Caution: dogs die. • Prime Meridian • novella by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Sad and rather pointless story of a young woman in a future Mexico City, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, big-city angst, and her desire to move to the Mars colony. 2.5 stars. • Triceratops • short story by Ian McHugh. Recreated Neanderthals were a failure, but the hybrid Thalers are bright and (mostly) sociable. Plus mammoths, wooly rhinos, and other Pleistocene fauna fill-ins, in a northern Canadian park. No Triceratops. Thoughtful story, especially for just 7 pages. 3.5+ stars. • Mines • short story by Eleanor Arnason. A war story on a future colony world. A damaged soldier searches for land mines, planted by the enemy. She takes up with an even more damaged soldier. Moody and very good: 4 stars. • There Used to Be Olive Trees • novelette by Rich Larson. Interesting post-apocalypse story set in Spain, lots of cool fallen-tech stuff — but it’s a story-fragment, ending with a “to be continued”. Frustrating. 3 stars for what’s here. • Whending My Way Back Home • [Martin & Artie] • novelette by Bill Johnson. Time travellers and beer-brewing in Gobekli Tepe, around 9, 000 BC. Uptime politics intrude. A few sexy moments. I liked it, even though I never quite figured out what was going on. 3+ stars. • Death on Mars • novelette by Madeline Ashby. One of the first six astronauts on Mars has a inoperable brain tumor. Her crewmates must deal with her impending death. 3.5 stars. https://csi.asu.edu/books/vvev/ • Elephant on Table • short story by Bruce Sterling. A retired politician’s last hurrah on Sardinia, with a hooker named Monica. Clever and bittersweet, 3 stars. • Number Thirty-Nine Skink • short story by Suzanne Palmer. An AI is left alone on an alien world when its master dies. It tries to carry on, as best it can, in some surprising ways. 2.5 stars. • A Series of Steaks • novelette by Vina Jie-Min Prasad. Finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and a first-rate story. Here it is: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/prasa... 5 stars! • The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon • short story by Finbarr O'Reilly. Be careful what you wish for! And, no matter how smart you are, Evolution is smarter than you. 5 stars, http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/oreil... • The Residue of Fire • short story by Robert Reed. Great Ship story, and not one I found interesting. I might go back later & try again. Or not. DNF. • Sidewalks • short story by Maureen F. McHugh. Luminous LA story by McHugh, reminding me of what a good writer she can be. It’s a time-travel story, sort of, and a slice of life, and, well, *wonderful*. 4.5 stars. Online too: https://omnimagazine.com/sidewalks/ • Nexus • novella by Michael F. Flynn. Amazingly complex and entertaining novella, which includes time travelers, two species of aliens, a very smart AI in an android body, military secrets and lots more! It gets to be a bit much at the end, but 4.5 stars overall. One of the highlights of the anthology -- and it made more sense on my 2021 reread.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I read only "Night Passage" by Alastair Reynolds and the rating is solely for this story: 4/5* Set in Revelation Space universe, we follow the struggle of a Demarchist captain in a ship which is almost hijacked by a few Conjoiners. There is a mutiny, a Shroud encounter (could be the one from Rev Space trilogy or could be other), a last minute escape and of course, a twist. I missed the universe and it was great being there again. I read only "Night Passage" by Alastair Reynolds and the rating is solely for this story: 4/5* Set in Revelation Space universe, we follow the struggle of a Demarchist captain in a ship which is almost hijacked by a few Conjoiners. There is a mutiny, a Shroud encounter (could be the one from Rev Space trilogy or could be other), a last minute escape and of course, a twist. I missed the universe and it was great being there again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Contents: vii - Permissions xi - Acknowledgements xii - Summations 2017 001 - "THE MOON IS NOT A BATTLEFIELD" by Indrapramit Das 015 - "MY ENGLISH NAME by R.S. Benedict 035 - "AN EVENING WITH SEVERYN GRIMES" by Rich Larson 050 - "VANGUARD 2.0," by Carter Scholz 063 - "STARLIGHT EXPRESS" by Michael Swanwick 071 - "THE MARTIAN OBELISK" by Linda Nagata 084 - "WE WHO LIVE IN THE HEART" by Kelly Robson 114 "WINTER TIMESHARE" by Ray Nayler 127 - "DEAR SARAH" by Nancy Kress 136 - "NIGHT PASSAGE" by Alastair Reynold Contents: vii - Permissions xi - Acknowledgements xii - Summations 2017 001 - "THE MOON IS NOT A BATTLEFIELD" by Indrapramit Das 015 - "MY ENGLISH NAME by R.S. Benedict 035 - "AN EVENING WITH SEVERYN GRIMES" by Rich Larson 050 - "VANGUARD 2.0," by Carter Scholz 063 - "STARLIGHT EXPRESS" by Michael Swanwick 071 - "THE MARTIAN OBELISK" by Linda Nagata 084 - "WE WHO LIVE IN THE HEART" by Kelly Robson 114 "WINTER TIMESHARE" by Ray Nayler 127 - "DEAR SARAH" by Nancy Kress 136 - "NIGHT PASSAGE" by Alastair Reynolds 163 - "THE DRAGON THAT FLEW OUT OF THE SUN" by Aliette de Bodard 171 - "WAITING OUT THE END OF THE WORLD IN PATTY’S PLACE CAFE" by Naomi Krtizer 180 - "THE HUNGER AFTER YOU’RE FED" James S.A. Corey 188 - "ASSASSINS" by Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier 194 - "THE MARTIAN JOB" by Jaine Fenn 252 - "THE ROAD TO THE SEA" by Lavie Tidhar 258 - "UNCANNY VALLEY" by Greg Egan 283 - "THE WORDLESS" by Indrapramit Das 293 - "PAN HUMANISM: HOPE AND PRAGMATICS" by Jessica Barber and Sara Saab 317 - "ZIGEUNER" by Harry Turtledove 328 - "THE PROVING GROUND" by Alec Nevala-Lee 358 - "ZEN AND THE ART OF SPACESHIP MAINTENANCE" by Tobias Buckell 371 - "THE INFLUENCE MACHINE" by Sean McMullen 390 - "CANOE" by Nancy Kress 403 - "THE HISTORY OF THE INVASION TOLD IN FIVE DOGS" by Kelly Jennings 408 - "PRIME MEREDIAN" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 456 - "TRICERATOPS" by Ian McHugh 465 -"MINES" by Eleanor Arnason 478 -"THERE USED TO BE OLIVE TREES" by Rich Larson 484 - "WHENDING MY WAY BACK HOME" by Bill Johnson 525 - "DEATH ON MARS" by Madeline Ashby 541 - "ELEPHANT ON TABLE" by Bruce Sterling 557 - "NUMBER 39 SKINK" by Suzanne Palmer 567 - "A SERIES OF STEAKS" by Vina Jie-Min Prased 583 - "THE LAST BOAT-BUILDER IN BALLYVOLOON" by Finbarr O’Reilley 596 - "THE RESIDUE OF FIRE" by Robert Reed 611 - "SIDEWALKS" by Maureen F. McHugh 622 - "NEXUS" by Michael F. Flynn 671 - Honorable Mentions 2017

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jemppu

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for Indrapramit Das' "The Worldless" alone. Variably for the rest. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for Indrapramit Das' "The Worldless" alone. Variably for the rest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    pax

    What a great collection! And I am not just saying it because it's the last of Year's Best Science Fiction collections, at least by Dozois :( Not all the individual stories (individual comments below) are great, at least one is downright awful, but the ensemble of them is such a great insight into what science fiction can do today: so much experimentation, a bit of solar punk, extrapolations/warnings, (a few) international authors, quietly addressed question of gender and gender assumptions and ex What a great collection! And I am not just saying it because it's the last of Year's Best Science Fiction collections, at least by Dozois :( Not all the individual stories (individual comments below) are great, at least one is downright awful, but the ensemble of them is such a great insight into what science fiction can do today: so much experimentation, a bit of solar punk, extrapolations/warnings, (a few) international authors, quietly addressed question of gender and gender assumptions and expectations, so many stories tingling with ideas and possibilities and dreams, so many voices who do not expect it to just be a boy-meets-girl story. Don't misunderstand me, none of the story really focus on diversity, but it is often so interwoven in their fabric and in so many of them, that it still makes me happy (because this is a mainstream science fiction collection, not a focus one, a collection in it's thirty-fifth year ...). I would have loved to read the next one. And the next. And the next. (Well, at least there are still some of the old ones to read. But even looking at them waiting on my shelves makes me sad.) **** INDIVIDUAL STORIES The moon is not a battlefield, Indrapramit Das OK and in some point very clever (gender, the description of moon combat), but not quiet strong enough otherwise. My English name, R.S. Benedict That was good! Not sure it was science fiction (rather - horror? Something like this?), but it was clever and well written and interesting. More from this author, please. An evening with Severyn Grimes, Rich Larson Kind of pointless? I feel like the clones vs. volunteers point may make an interesting world, but this was not what the story was exploring. Everything else was boring. Vanguard 2.0, Carter Scholz Clever, distressing in a good way. It may have done without the tragic family backstory (really, your short story character does not need all the mainpaaaiiiin), but the world was interesting and very close to home (wonderful extension of today's world), the moral dilemma gripping and the ending just right (unsatisfactory in a way that makes it perfect and makes you think and that's what I want from the story). Starlight Express, Michael Swanwick I've read this one yesterday night and had to think hard to remember what it was about today morning and now, half a day later, again. So: not a story I will remember in any way. The Martian Obelisk, Linda Nagata Some of the imagery is very, very well done. The plot on the other hand is rather meh. We Who Live in the Heart, Kelly Robson Boooooring. Winter Timeshare, Ray Nayler Inventive, interesting, atmospheric glimpse of a world. Definitely another author I want to keep an eye on! Dear Sarah, Nancy Kress This is very much a Kress story - and from several that I've read so far, I am more and more convinced that they don't work for me. I like the ideas, but they fail to really impact me (not enough of family person? not American enough? Something else entirely?)... Night Passage, Alastair Reynolds To my own surprise, I seem to love the voices and the worlds that Reynolds creates. But the story is nothing especially interesting in terms of actual story even if the world has potential. The Dragon that Flew out of the Sun, Aliette de Bodard Aliette de Bodard is another author who seems not to work for me. A pity, I would love to love her writing, it's inventive and I want more of my future based on diverse cultural backgrounds :( Waiting out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe, Naomi Krtizer Dunno ... Feels like something I've read already? At least it adds nothing new, nothing interesting. (I get what it tries to say, but this could just as easily be said in a story that does not invoke the end of the world.) The Hunger After You're Fed, James S.A. Corey Well, I guess there is a pattern of "I get what this story is saying, but the story itself does not work for me ..." in this review. This is another of those. Mainly because given today's world with its, very literal, just look into the news outside our little Western islands (yeah, there is more to the world!), it seems totally pointless. Should a child starve just because you are too stupid to give the world a meaning without having to struggle for food every day? Assassins, Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier Neat world, a bit of in your face in terms of execution (heh~!). The Martian Job, Jaine Fenn Another rather boring one with plotholes abound. Road to the Sea, Lavie Tidhar Nothing incredibly new here, but it creates a good atmosphere. Uncanny Valley, Greg Egan Not the strongest one of Egan's, but hey, it's an Egan-story, so it is good! And not every story can be such a slap in one's face as "Cutie" is ... The Worldless, Indrapramit Das The right story at the right time, well written. I think taken together with the other of Indrapramit Das' stories in this volume (though that one wasn't as strong as this one), it makes me want to pick up a pook of his ... *wanders off to put it on her wishlist* (And now I realize that I already said this once before, with another of Year's Best anthologies, but back that he had not yet published a novel. He did now!) Pan Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics, Jessica Barber and Sara Saab Yes, this one is gonna have plotholes if you poke it too hard, but it was such a lovely read, that I don't feel like poking. Solarpunk! Wonderfully written solarpunk! Zigenuner, Harry Turtledove This is absolutely disgusting. Seriously, just ugh ... It absolutely ignores the fact that the Roma people were already persecuted to the worst by the nazis; at least do your freaking research, it's really not that hard. And what with all the German strews into the story? There are no language mistakes, but why? Do appear more menacing, like some old stupid movie? UGH. The Proving Ground, Alec Nevala-Lee Loved the setting (both the overall political setting and the law details), was somewhat annoyed by the resolution. Zen and the Art of Spaceship Maintenance, Tobias Buckell This was clever and fun and I loved the narrator's voice and while the story used a black hole as a plot device, it did not misuse. Oh, and on the way it poses a few interesting question about free will and human/machines. What else can one ask for from a short story? The Influence Machine, Sean McMullen The plot is stupid, the ideas are shoved down the reader's throat, the setting is unrealistic ... Canoe, Nancy Kress Another Kress that leaves me with the same feeling of something that does not quiet work, in spite of all the images it creates. The history of the invasion told in five dogs, Kelly Jennings Very bleak, very real, told in an interesting way. (The scary part of it is perhaps this: stories like this are real, today. And the invaders are us.) Prime Meridian, Silvia Moreno-Garcia For some reason - and it's not only the Mars-part of the story - this remind me of Maureen McHughs "China Mountain Zhang". Something in the atmosphere, modernised, of course. And there are a few clever ideas, very clever ideas. Triceratops, Ian McHugh I'm not sure I get the story fully, but there are bits and pieces ("I am illegal in X") that resonate. A lot. Mines, Eleanor Arnason Two kinds of mines, isn't it? Or even more of them. Clever. And also a really interesting resonance with the very first story in this volume, Indrapamit Das' "The Moon is not a Battlefield". Interesting, how two such different authors wrote texts that resonated so much in spite of all the differences in cultural background and age and language. There used to be olive trees, Rich Larson The other story by Larson was pretty pointless, but this one is really nice: interesting worldbuilding, a great voice for the main character, just the right kind of resolution (or not since it opens the space for so much more) for a short story. Whending my way back home, Bill Johnson I have yet to encounter a time travel story that would work for me. This one isn't it ... Death on Mars, Madeline Ashby Another one that resonates with another story, this time with Nancy Kress' "Canoe". Just ... I cannot get over the small things, cannot turn my brain off that looks into whether the setup is believable and if it is not, if things seem somewhat out of place ... Elephant on the table, Bruce Sterling Bored by the story, actively disliked the voice in which it was told. Number 39 Skink, Suzanne Palmer I liked it until the last bit - too much of deus ex machina here, why not bring it to one of the two logical conclusions? A series of steaks, Vina Jie-Min Prased This one was fun. This is not a fun world and not a fun story and not fun a lot of other things, but it's still a fun read and something that makes me cheer at the end. And hey, what will these ladies pull of next? Can you imagine? (Yes, someone may catch them in the end - or perhaps not. This is a story, I can dream.) The last boat-builder in Ballyvoloon, Finbarr O’Reilley Loved the idea and the tech and the world, rather meh about the execution of it. But what a cool, unique idea! The residue of fire, Robert Reed Truly alien aliens. And they work. And a sprinkle of diversity. Like. A lot. (I really should read more by Reed, his collection perhaps.) Sidewalks, Maureen F. McHugh Very McHugh but also very much another time-travel story (though from a bit of unexpected perspective), so nope, it did not work for me. Nexus, Michael F. Flynn Boooooring. Seriously, I would have finished the book weeks ago if this one did not bore me quiet that much. Not to mention all the plotholes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    2016 was a pretty good year for short fiction. 2017... not so. (Judging for now solely on Dozois' massive anthology.) The trend of fewer novellas and fewer longer novelettes continues, with short stories making up the bulk of it. Another observation that can be made is the large number of authors not published before. Perhaps the most important observation to make though is the dismal quality of almost half the stories here. Yea, there are five standouts, more than in some other editions (the Tur 2016 was a pretty good year for short fiction. 2017... not so. (Judging for now solely on Dozois' massive anthology.) The trend of fewer novellas and fewer longer novelettes continues, with short stories making up the bulk of it. Another observation that can be made is the large number of authors not published before. Perhaps the most important observation to make though is the dismal quality of almost half the stories here. Yea, there are five standouts, more than in some other editions (the Turtledove, the McMullen, the Jennings, the Flynn, and the Buckell), but they can't tip the balance. Averaging out at 1.77, it is one of the lowest ever. The incomprehensible meets the bad idea or the Near-Future On-Earth setting (which I have a personal distaste for). Breakdown: The Moon Is Not a Battlefield • novelette by Indrapramit Das: 1* There's supposed to be some catch with the two narrators at the same time explaining about how some Indian soldier on the moon became something more, but I was unable to progress past half of this over-descriptive story full of Indian slang. My English Name • novelette by R.S. Benedict: 1* Extraterrestrial pretends to be a gay Western male in China and has an affair before losing the ability to camouflage. Terrible plot, and coupled with an even more terrible idea of splitting the narration between 1st and 2nd (?!) person point of views. An Evening with Severyn Grimes • short story by Rich Larson: 3* Interesting near-future high-tech thriller. Combines a little too many already used formulas of the genre (hacking, virtual reality, downloadable minds, life-extension through clones, etc), but still packs a good punch. Vanguard 2.0 • short story by Carter Scholz: 1* In the near-future, a bunch of astronauts meet on a space station to have a chat about orbital garbage. Great! Starlight Express • short story by Michael Swanwick: 1* This is set in a future Rome, where a time traveler returns to... not sure what to achieve exactly. I managed to finish it, but now remember next to nothing about it. The Martian Obelisk • short story by Linda Nagata: 2* On a near-future semi-postapocalyptic Earth, a woman reaches out to help some colonists on once inhabited, but now almost deserted Mars. The story is over before it got anywhere. We Who Live in the Heart • novelette by Kelly Robson: 1* Another story opening in media res. I despise this style. Especially in short fiction. Especially when the scene contains 5 or 6 characters. The setting is hard to grasp. Some kind of remote planet, with some people living underground and others in submarines? Maybe. I was unable to follow and stopped mid-way through it. Winter Timeshare • short story by Ray Nayler: 1* Again, near-future on-Earth. The dead can be rekindled to life and a woman has a relationship with a man in Istanbul. I can't get enough of these stories... Dear Sarah • short story by Nancy Kress: 1* OH NO, NFOE again. A woman joins the marines and witnesses a alien-hostage situation. Boy this sucked. Night Passage • novelette by Alastair Reynolds: 3* I haven't read a Revelation Space work in a long time. This one was off to a good start: starship lost in space encounters large unidentified object. And then... instead of investigating it properly, the story descends into political bickering, mutiny plots and what-not and succeeds in being boring by not explaining the object at all. Maybe it's a prologue to a series of short works, or maybe even novels. The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun • short story by Aliette de Bodard: 1* Another of de Bodard's stories set in the interesting Xuya universe. Unfortunately, much like its predecessors in Dozois' anthologies, this is still just a bunch of women in a room talking. Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Cafe • short story by Naomi Kritzer: 2* This is the perfect example of a story were everything that it has to offer - it offered in a title. A few folks wait out a possible end of the world in a cafe. The Hunger After You're Fed • short story by James S.A. Corey: 1* The NFOE virus has struck even James S.A. Corey. Not that this isn't space opera like you'd think, it isn't even sci-fi-ish. Or any good. Some guy is looking for a writer in a Mexican village. If there's supposed to be a point to it, I completely missed it. Assassins • short story by Jack Skillingstead & Burt Courtier: 1* I think this is about someone whacking off famous avatars in an online world. Couldn't tell as I found it impossible to follow. The Martian Job • novella by Jaine Fenn: 3* Woman is enlisted to help steal some precious device from a high-tech camp on Mars. Nothing out of the ordinary with the premise, and the execution kinda drags a bit with all its step-by-step descriptions, but I liked the main character and the actual plan for the device. The Road to the Sea • short story by Lavie Tidhar: 2* A lyrical semi-post-apocalyptic tale told by an overly nostalgic child. Nothing special here. Move on. Uncanny Valley • novelette by Greg Egan: 1* Another one of those on-Earth near-future thingies. Clones in trials and corporate/financial battles. Ugh. Abandoned before half. The Wordless • short story by Indrapramit Das: 1* This actually has a pretty good extra-terrestrial setting, but its style and abuse of Indian words/slang totally ruined it. Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics • novelette by Jess Barber & Sara Saab: 1* I should've known better than to try to read a story with this title. Just as meaningful as it. No idea what this was about. Zigeuner • short story by Harry Turtledove: 4* Boy this is well-written. Told from the perspective of an SS officer who is rounding up "zigeuner" (gypsies) during WWII. It turns out in the very last paragraphs that this is an alternate world. Really, what did you expect from Turtledove? The Proving Ground • novella by Alec Nevala-Lee: 1* I can't read another NFOE story. The ocean levels have risen and some birds are endangered. You get the picture. Stopped before reaching half. Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance • short story by Tobias S. Buckell: 5* The masterpiece of this volume so far. It's got everything I am looking for in a sci-fi short story. This is told from the perspective of a robot who lives on the outer hull of a spaceship. Said robot meets a human survivor from a warring faction and in a twist reminding me of Asimov's robots, it starts having ethical dilemmas. The Influence Machine • novelette by Sean McMullen: 4* Finally! An interesting plot set in a cliche setting, but still managed to keep my interest up. A woman in Edwardian England comes up with a machine that can see in alternate dimensions and manages to fool the government who was desperately seeking to is for the usual government reasons. Canoe • short story by Nancy Kress: 2* Exploration starship stumbles upon a remote planet and discovers a new lifeform. Interesting (though far from original) premise, but the story is over before anything interesting has any chance of happening. The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs • short story by Kelly Jennings: 4* Short and sweet, a la Stephen King. Aliens are taking over Earth, and a survivor tells her survivor story which - as the title suggests - includes befriending five dogs. Prime Meridian • novella by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: 1* NFOE strikes again! This actually could've been a 2* maybe a 3* story were it not published as a sci-fi novella. A call-girl is slowly falling in love with her ex-boyfriend. Yeap. Some plot. Abandoned again. Triceratops • short story by Ian McHugh: 1* Jurassic Park, Part 19, or something like that. And early primates have also been 'resurrected' along with the dinosaurs. Yawn... Mines • short story by Eleanor Arnason: 2* Woman goes hunting for landmines on another planet accompanied by her faithful cyborg rat pet. There Used to Be Olive Trees • novelette by Rich Larson: 1* Some post-apocalyptic setting, a man from a stronghold meets an outsider and they wander about aimlessly. That's all I could ascertain before giving it up. Whending My Way Back Home • novelette by Bill Johnson: 1* Only thing about these anthologies that I hate more than NFOE stories are stories opening in medias res. This "famous" procedure has corrupted many a "young writer". Add a gazillion characters in the opening sequence and you've lost me. A bunch of "organized" time travelers become stuck in the past. Death on Mars • novelette by Madeline Ashby: 1* Fabulous idea to include yet another story opening in medias res consecutively. And, as is usually the case with these, a large slew of characters to really piss me off. Mars and some robots was all I could ascertain before losing my patience. Elephant on Table • short story by Bruce Sterling: 1* Completely incomprehensible. I simply cannot tell what this one is about. Number Thirty-Nine Skink • short story by Suzanne Palmer: 1* A robot tells a story that I was unable to follow past the first page. A Series of Steaks • novelette by Vina Jie-Min Prasad: 1* Nope, the title is not a metaphor. This story follows two Chinese women as they work in fake beef factory. Can't get enough of this kind of stories either. The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon • short story by Finbarr O'Reilly: 1* NFOE story #10000. Artificial squids have been introduced in the world oceans to help with some problem. People talk about them. Boring! The Residue of Fire • short story by Robert Reed: 1* Wow, this is now the 8th horrible story in a row. Another of his Greatship stories. Why isn't he done with this universe yet? I was unable to understand what this batch of aliens had going for them. Abandoned half-way through. Sidewalks • short story by Maureen F. McHugh: 1* Nicely written, but not even NFOE. Probably with some space left, Dozois decided to include another non-sci-fi story in here. Nexus • novella by Michael F. Flynn: 4* Hey, this is actually surprisingly good. Written in a very quirky and witty style, this novella sees immortals, aliens, time travelers, cyborgs, all engaging in a pretty convoluted plot for supremacy in a near-future Earth. It gets kinda confusing towards the end, but it did prove that NFOE stories CAN be cool. PS: RIP Gardner Dozois. Thanks for these 35 and countless others.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Kitchens

    "The Moon is Not a Battlefield" by Indrapramit Das - 3 Stars - DNF - Veteran is interviewed about the "conflict on the moon." This is a neat little space military piece with a lovely Indian flavor. However, it's ultimately not my cup of tea. "My English Name" by R. S. Benedict - 4.5 Stars - A Inhuman spends a few years in China in the near future and falls in love. Benedict's style has a interesting rhythm too it in this neat LGBT piece with an unexpected literary reference. (view spoiler)[This s "The Moon is Not a Battlefield" by Indrapramit Das - 3 Stars - DNF - Veteran is interviewed about the "conflict on the moon." This is a neat little space military piece with a lovely Indian flavor. However, it's ultimately not my cup of tea. "My English Name" by R. S. Benedict - 4.5 Stars - A Inhuman spends a few years in China in the near future and falls in love. Benedict's style has a interesting rhythm too it in this neat LGBT piece with an unexpected literary reference. (view spoiler)[This story is best summed up as "What If Frankenstien's monster never died, but just kept changing its skin for ages?" (hide spoiler)] "An Evening with Severyn Grimes" by Rich Larson - 2.5 Stars - DNF - A heist of sorts involving a very rich, very old man, and a woman he scorned. Larson's style is viseral, but wordy. He's a bit adjective heavy for my tastes, leading me to skip to the next story. "Vangaurd 2.0" by Carter Scholz - 3.5 Star - Uber of the future has reached the stars, and it's looking to make it's own waves. This is a more near future story that embodies a perfect concept for a short story. It's a bit of history, and a bit of history repeating itself for a neat introspective read. "Starlight Express" by Michael Swanwick - 3 Stars - High Sci-Fi set so far in the future, Earth is a little unrecognizable, love story between a man and a being. I like Swanwick's style. He throws you into this world, and doesn't drown the reader in exposition. However, I was ultimately disappointed in the story itself. It was just kinda meh. "The Martian Obelisk" by Linda Nagata - 4 Stars - A surprise interrupts Susannah's greatest art piece yet, a obelisk on Mars, renewing her hope in a future she thought couldn't exist. This is ultimately a story of hope that is poignant and thoughtful. We spew so much doom and gloom, sometimes we forget that life can endure. (view spoiler)[I did not appreciate Susannah learning at the very end that she still had family left. It felt like overkill at that poing. (hide spoiler)] "We Who Live in the Heart" by Kelly Robson - I skipped this one because it's long. "Winter Timeshare" by Ray Nayler - 3.5 Stars - Regina and Ilkay explore the meaning of love and home through their "blanks" or by downloading their consciousness into random bodies. There is something quite lovely about this piece that I can't quite place. "Dear Sarah" by Nancy Kress - 4 Stars - In a world where the working class is eliminated overnight (by tech not death) by a "helpful" alien invasion, Mary Jo does what poor people have done for generations to change their fortune - join the army. While the narrators twang is annoying, this is a solid little piece with good pacing and rhythm about the choices we make. "Night Passage" by Alastair Reynolds - Skipped because of length. "The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun" by Aliette de Bodard - 3 Stars - DNF - A little bit of myth and a little bit of science, this story is all about perspective. There's nothing I could pinpoint wrong with this story, I just couldn't get into it. "Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Palace Cafe" by Naomi Kritzer - 4 Stars - What's in the apocalypse? Lorien spends the end of the world with an unlikely couple, a trans woman named Robin and her husband Michael, and learns a lot about the various ends of the world. "The Hunger After You're Fed" by James S. A. Corey - 2.75 Stars - A fan on the hunt for an almost mythical, favorite author... So, yeah, this is a interesting piece, but I've totally missed something. And that something is the twist. I tried going back to re-read, but I was still left confused. "Assassins" by Jack Skillingstead & Burt Courtier - 3.5 Stars - She's an assassin of an unusual type, (view spoiler)[ of virtual celebrities (hide spoiler)] . So, this concept is super cute, and I really enjoyed it. Especially how much more vibrant the real world was compared to the virtual world. "The Martian Job" by Jaine Fenn - Skipped for length, but everyone else seems to really like it and it has a really catchy opening. "The Road to the Sea" by Lavie Tidhar - 3 Stars - A glimpse into a future reminiscent of a past long ago. This is a pensive little piece, and because of that I wanted more from the prose, which I just found mediocre. "Uncanny Valley" by Greg Egan - 3 Stars - DNF - A famous actor(?) leaves everything to his robot clone, causing legal battles. I actually was intrigued by the concept, but Egan's style, which is winding and over-complicated (he tends to use unnecessarily complex phrases and difficult words), turned me off to the story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Johan Haneveld

    8+ It's always hard to review a short story collection, as within the field of science fiction there are a lot of different forms of storytelling and influences and styles. There's near future SF and far future SF, but also SF that tries to be literary in its approach, and SF that hews closer to scientific speculation, or adventure. There's alternative history, soft SF and almost incomprehensible SF. A bit for everyone then. And the power of Dozois as an editor is that he manages to compile a 'T 8+ It's always hard to review a short story collection, as within the field of science fiction there are a lot of different forms of storytelling and influences and styles. There's near future SF and far future SF, but also SF that tries to be literary in its approach, and SF that hews closer to scientific speculation, or adventure. There's alternative history, soft SF and almost incomprehensible SF. A bit for everyone then. And the power of Dozois as an editor is that he manages to compile a 'The year's best Science Fiction' that contains all - including the literary and experimental SF and the science based adventure stories. This is really a pretty complete overview of the genre. So, while everyone reading this will find stories not to their liking, it is probably guaranteed there will be stories you love in here. Who likes which story most is something that will be different for each reader. I myself have a preference for the stories based on scientific speculation, with a clear ending and preferably adventure in there as well. I still find myself unenthused by the examples of more literary SF I read in these collections. Stories that are more 'slice of life' in a (sometimes barely) sci fi setting, with ambiguous conclusions and the clear goal of providing insight in the human condition instead of the nature of the universe. I make a point of reading all stories in these collections, and still I find in myself no growing appreciation, and I think my love for 'old school hard SF' in the vein of Asimov and Clarke and the more modern authors Baxter, Reynolds and Robinson is pretty much set in stone. With that prejudice in mind there were some stories in here I really liked. 'My english name' by R.S. Benedict was a fascinating twist on shape shifter stories with a lot of atmosphere. 'An evening with Severyn Grimes' was a fast paced adventure. Not deep but exciting. Michael Swanwicks story was fascinating! I had read Linda Nagatas story The martian obelisk on Tor.com before but it remains elegiac and beautiful. 'We who live in the heart' transports the reader to a truly alien environment, with people living in the atmosphere of a gas giant in gigantuous ballooncreatures. I liked being transported to such a strange world that was convincingly realised. Alastair Reynolds provides an 'old school' SF-story about a ship encountering a strange object and a captain having to figure out who to trust and trying to prevent a war. I liked it a lot. 'The martian job' was a kind of Oceans Eleven but set on Mars, a well thought out caper with surprises aplenty and a nice conclusion. 'Pan-humanism: hope and pragmatics' was a more literary story that I liked, mainly for its hopeful view of our future as humanity. 'The proving ground' is a interesting near future SF story about the consequences of climate change and of our trying to combat it. We don't really know what we're messing it. 'Zen and the art of starship maintenance' was a fun far future SF story with non human characters trying to deal with a conflict and questions about freedom. 'The influence machine' was a victorian story, that reminded me of the stories by Conan Doyle. 'Canoe' by Nancy Kress is a great SF story about a different planet where intelligent life is discovered, but it's already on the brink of extinction ... 'Prime meridian' was well written but more of a literary tale instead of a hard SF tale. 'Whending my way back home' was a really interesting time travel tale with different factions trying to influence ancient history to determine a historic event. I liked it. 'Death on Mars' by Madeline Ashby is a touching human scale story where the first human on Mars has a secret ... I loved the hard SF tale by Suzanne Palmer 'Number thirty-nine skink'. It's about a terraforming project on another planet told by one of the terraforming robots left behind ... who discovers he doesn't know everything there is to know about the planet he's working on ... 'A series of steaks' was a wry story with a fun twist at the end. The final story 'Nexus' by Michael F. Flynn is an all out SF-feast with androids, time travellers and aliens, with a lot of exposition hampering it, but the twisting together of all strands makes it a fun read! So, lot of good stories here!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm so sad that this is Gardner Dozois's last best-of anthology. I like his essays at the beginning with the long lists of books to add to my already-too-long to-read list. The last story, "Nexus," by Michael Flynn, was a hoot. He had six characters, each with a different science fiction trope--time traveler, alien, etc., and blended them into one coherent narrative. An excellent note to end the book on. I'm so sad that this is Gardner Dozois's last best-of anthology. I like his essays at the beginning with the long lists of books to add to my already-too-long to-read list. The last story, "Nexus," by Michael Flynn, was a hoot. He had six characters, each with a different science fiction trope--time traveler, alien, etc., and blended them into one coherent narrative. An excellent note to end the book on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ed Rich

    A really strong collection for unfortunately the last in the series. My favorites: Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics Jessica Barber and Sara Saab 4.5 / 5 Nexus Michael F. Flynn 4.5 / 5 Starlight Express Michael Swanwick 4.5 / 5 A Series of Steaks Vina Jie-Min Prasad 4.5 / 5 Winter Timeshare Ray Nayler 4.5 / 5 Sidewalks Maureen F. McHugh 4.5 / 5 Full List: The Moon is not a Battlefield Indrapramit Das 2.5 / 5 My English Name R. S. Benedict 4 / 5 An Evening With Severyn Grimes Rich Larson 4 / 5 Vanguard 2.0 C A really strong collection for unfortunately the last in the series. My favorites: Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics Jessica Barber and Sara Saab 4.5 / 5 Nexus Michael F. Flynn 4.5 / 5 Starlight Express Michael Swanwick 4.5 / 5 A Series of Steaks Vina Jie-Min Prasad 4.5 / 5 Winter Timeshare Ray Nayler 4.5 / 5 Sidewalks Maureen F. McHugh 4.5 / 5 Full List: The Moon is not a Battlefield Indrapramit Das 2.5 / 5 My English Name R. S. Benedict 4 / 5 An Evening With Severyn Grimes Rich Larson 4 / 5 Vanguard 2.0 Carter Scholz 3 / 5 Starlight Express Michael Swanwick 4.5 / 5 The Martian Obelisk Linda Nagata 3.5 / 5 We Who Live in the Heart Kelly Robson 3 / 5 Winter Timeshare Ray Nayler 4.5 / 5 Dear Sarah Nancy Kress 4 / 5 Night Passage Alastair Reynolds 4 / 5 The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun Aliette de Bodard 4 / 5 Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty's Place Café Naomi Kritzer 4 / 5 The Hunger After You're Fed James S. A. Corey 3.5 / 5 Assassins Jack Skillingstead and Burt Courtier 3.5 / 5 The Martian Job Jaine Fenn 3.5 / 5 The Road to the Sea Lavie Tidhar 3.5 / 5 Uncanny Valley Greg Egan 4 / 5 The Wordless Indrapramit Das 3.5 / 5 Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics Jessica Barber and Sara Saab 4.5 / 5 Zigeuner Harry Turtledove 3 / 5 The Proving Ground Alec Nevala-Lee 3.5 / 5 Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance Tobias S. Buckell 4 / 5 The Influence Machine Sean McMullen 4 / 5 Canoe Nancy Kress 3 / 5 The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs Kelly Jennings 4 / 5 Prime Meridian Silvia Moreno-Garcia 1 / 5 Triceratops Ian McHugh 3 / 5 Mines Eleanor Arnason 3.5 / 5 There Used to be Olive Trees Rich Larson 3.5 / 5 Whending My Way Back Home Bill Johnson 4 / 5 Death on Mars Madeline Ashby 4 / 5 Elephant on Table Bruce Sterling 4 / 5 Number Thirty-Nine Skink Suzanne Palmer 4 / 5 A Series of Steaks Vina Jie-Min Prasad 4.5 / 5 The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon Finbarr O'Reilly 4 / 5 The Residue of Fire Robert Reed 4 / 5 Sidewalks Maureen F. McHugh 4.5 / 5 Nexus Michael F. Flynn 4.5 / 5

  11. 5 out of 5

    Spike Gomes

    It's going to be really difficult to write a review of what's going to be the last volume of this series, something that's been a part of my life since I found the first volume in high school 25 years ago. Gardner Dozois has probably been one of the primary shapers of my tastes in speculative fiction. Overall, I'm going to rate the series and his skills as an editor six stars out of five. This particular entry, however, is a bit on the weak side, which I am chalking up to his health over the las It's going to be really difficult to write a review of what's going to be the last volume of this series, something that's been a part of my life since I found the first volume in high school 25 years ago. Gardner Dozois has probably been one of the primary shapers of my tastes in speculative fiction. Overall, I'm going to rate the series and his skills as an editor six stars out of five. This particular entry, however, is a bit on the weak side, which I am chalking up to his health over the last few years, and the doldrums the written form of the genre currently seems to be in for the past decade or so, where a writer's prominence and critical acclaim seems derived more from the social circles they keep and skill at harnessing social media to their advantage than anything to do with the quality of their writing. There's only a couple stories that are out and out bad or pandering, but overall, most of them are pretty forgettable. You read them, you're entertained, but for the most part you forget them as soon as you put the book down. The major exception is the final novella in the collection; "Nexus" which is almost like an attempt to pull together all the major character tropes of the genre into a single story and have it work, which it does spectacularly. Four out of Five Stars for this book and all the stars in the Milky Way for Gardner. RIP.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison C

    For the past 35 years, I have looked forward to July because of the publication of this enormous tome, in my opinion the very best source for science fiction stories and novellas that were published in the previous year. Each year the stories come from more and more unfamiliar sources, too, with the advent of many e-magazines that I don’t get, which means that I find new authors every time. As with any anthology, each reader will like different stories, but this year I found stories from Michael For the past 35 years, I have looked forward to July because of the publication of this enormous tome, in my opinion the very best source for science fiction stories and novellas that were published in the previous year. Each year the stories come from more and more unfamiliar sources, too, with the advent of many e-magazines that I don’t get, which means that I find new authors every time. As with any anthology, each reader will like different stories, but this year I found stories from Michael Stanwick, Nancy Kress, Kelly Jennings, Ian McHugh, Finbarr O’Reilly and Maureen F. McHugh especially good. As ever, editor Dozois also provides information about the science fiction publishing world, which is interesting and informative. With all this goodness in a single volume, I am very sad to have to report that just before publication of this collection, Mr. Dozois suddenly died, according to Wikipedia of an opportunistic infection while in hospital. So there will be no Thirty-Sixth Annual Collection, and that is a very sad thing indeed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Critchfield

    This is another great addition to a “Best Of” series that unfortunately has come to an end with the passing of its award-winning editor, Gardner Dozois. For thirty-five years Dozois has published this fantastic anthology. I have the last twenty-five, and will now have to find a new series in order to stay current with what’s new in the field of Science Fiction. As usual, the stories in this year’s edition are mostly superb. I’ll mention one: NEXUS, a 47-page novella by Michael F. Flynn which is w This is another great addition to a “Best Of” series that unfortunately has come to an end with the passing of its award-winning editor, Gardner Dozois. For thirty-five years Dozois has published this fantastic anthology. I have the last twenty-five, and will now have to find a new series in order to stay current with what’s new in the field of Science Fiction. As usual, the stories in this year’s edition are mostly superb. I’ll mention one: NEXUS, a 47-page novella by Michael F. Flynn which is worth the price of the book alone. In this flamboyant, hugely entertaining yarn, a group of very interesting characters* come together to save the Earth, the existing timeline, a mutant race, and everything else you can think of. *two time travelers, an immortal, an AI, a telepath, and an alien

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Note to myself - don't read two Sci-fi anthologies in less than six months. I loved the 34th collection, but this one felt a bit repetitive and I got bored more than once. Anyway, here is my top 5 in no particular order - Zen and the art of starship maintenance - A series of steaks - Nexus (this one is so kitsch that I wish I wrote it myself) - Vanguard 2.0 - We who live in the heart What's interesting in this one is that lots of stories were exploring more than one sci-fi sub genre. Not just AI, but A Note to myself - don't read two Sci-fi anthologies in less than six months. I loved the 34th collection, but this one felt a bit repetitive and I got bored more than once. Anyway, here is my top 5 in no particular order - Zen and the art of starship maintenance - A series of steaks - Nexus (this one is so kitsch that I wish I wrote it myself) - Vanguard 2.0 - We who live in the heart What's interesting in this one is that lots of stories were exploring more than one sci-fi sub genre. Not just AI, but AI + space exploration, not just time travel, but time travel + alternative history + AI (those are everywhere now), and so on. This is why Nexus, the last story of the book, looked so great - it threw everything into one melting pot and made some fun read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lund

    These are big books. And as such, the degree of quality, complexity and enjoyment received by any one person will vary. That being said, I found myself enjoying the stories more often then not, which is not always the case with these kinds of collections. I also found it easier to read 1 or 2 stories at a time, in between other books that I was reading, kind of a break between other multi-volume stories I am currently reading. Breaking it down that way is certainly easier then trying to read 38 These are big books. And as such, the degree of quality, complexity and enjoyment received by any one person will vary. That being said, I found myself enjoying the stories more often then not, which is not always the case with these kinds of collections. I also found it easier to read 1 or 2 stories at a time, in between other books that I was reading, kind of a break between other multi-volume stories I am currently reading. Breaking it down that way is certainly easier then trying to read 38 short stories in quick succession.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liam Mason

    There were some interesting stories in this collection, but also a lot that bored me. For the most part, I'm finding that I prefer classic Sci-Fi over modern Sci-Fi. Character work is much better in the modern day, but none of these stories had the same sense of wonder or exploration of unique concepts that I've found in most classic Sci-Fi short stories. Rating: 5/10 There were some interesting stories in this collection, but also a lot that bored me. For the most part, I'm finding that I prefer classic Sci-Fi over modern Sci-Fi. Character work is much better in the modern day, but none of these stories had the same sense of wonder or exploration of unique concepts that I've found in most classic Sci-Fi short stories. Rating: 5/10

  17. 5 out of 5

    David

    An excellent collection, as always. Mr. Dozois will be missed. The best of the collection was the last, Nexus by Michael Flynn, which managed to pack as many tropes into one novella as I believe possible.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Excellent collection with a little something for everyone. Unfortunately this is the last of the series edited by the late Gardner Dozois. I'm not going to recommend any one story. Just read them all at your leisure. Excellent collection with a little something for everyone. Unfortunately this is the last of the series edited by the late Gardner Dozois. I'm not going to recommend any one story. Just read them all at your leisure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Devlin

    A good yearly annual. Avoided some problems of being too much about today that other years have seemed to be slipping into.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually do - - but did really love "Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics", by Jessica Barber and Sara Saab. I also quite enjoyed "The Martian Job" by Jaine Fenn. I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually do - - but did really love "Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics", by Jessica Barber and Sara Saab. I also quite enjoyed "The Martian Job" by Jaine Fenn.

  21. 4 out of 5

    RONALD EVANS

    Another excellent collection from Gardner Dozois, who always picks the best from a variety of sub-genres!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

    This is usually a great anthology. I prefer hard sci fi and that's what I get here. This year has some really notable stories, but one really stood out, the novella "Nexus" by Michael Flynn. This is usually a great anthology. I prefer hard sci fi and that's what I get here. This year has some really notable stories, but one really stood out, the novella "Nexus" by Michael Flynn.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary Bunker

    Dozois' final entry in his decades-long anthology is just as fantastic (in every meaning) as his previous iterations. Great stuff, from great authors. Mr. Dozois will be a hard editor to replace. Dozois' final entry in his decades-long anthology is just as fantastic (in every meaning) as his previous iterations. Great stuff, from great authors. Mr. Dozois will be a hard editor to replace.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Sowery-Quinn

    Did I love every story in this collection? No. But for the most part it was a very well-written,diverse & entertaining collection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dale H

    This is a great volume of short stories with just a couple of duds, the biggest dud being the last one - "Nexus" by Michael Flynn. It's a shame to end such a nice collection with a mess like that. This is a great volume of short stories with just a couple of duds, the biggest dud being the last one - "Nexus" by Michael Flynn. It's a shame to end such a nice collection with a mess like that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Joy

    Good collection of short stories, and successfully expanded by to read list!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    It's rich parade of thirty-eight remarkably thought-provoking stories. I'm once again dazzled by what great writing there is out there. It's rich parade of thirty-eight remarkably thought-provoking stories. I'm once again dazzled by what great writing there is out there.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Started reading what's available online. -zen and the art of ......by TOBIAS S. BUCKELL, don't really follow the story but enjoyed it very much,4* - something about "waiting for the end ...at ...'s diner" (sorry. Too lazy to look up): poignant with good humor, 5*. - meat substitute steak as a business, 3*. -The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, 4*. Started reading what's available online. -zen and the art of ......by TOBIAS S. BUCKELL, don't really follow the story but enjoyed it very much,4* - something about "waiting for the end ...at ...'s diner" (sorry. Too lazy to look up): poignant with good humor, 5*. - meat substitute steak as a business, 3*. -The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, 4*.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rogue

    Most of these were nice stories but none of them really wowed me. I'm not always comfortable writing a review for a single novel so I'm going to be brief concerning an entire anthology of short stories rather than going over each story individually. Some of these stories didn't even feel like science fiction other than in setting and one of them in particular felt more like a vague contemporary what-if than it did true science fiction. Nevertheless, it felt good to read some science fiction that Most of these were nice stories but none of them really wowed me. I'm not always comfortable writing a review for a single novel so I'm going to be brief concerning an entire anthology of short stories rather than going over each story individually. Some of these stories didn't even feel like science fiction other than in setting and one of them in particular felt more like a vague contemporary what-if than it did true science fiction. Nevertheless, it felt good to read some science fiction that focused more on characters and humanity than on a futuristic setting full of aliens and robots. Somehow, I have a hard time identifying something as sci-fi if it doesn't in some way address the nature of humanity and human interaction. That's just me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill Carroll

    The Martian Job - Fenn - 5* - heist on Mars, fun with great ending Mines - Arnason - 3* - ex soldier and rat companion clear mines on new earth My English Name - Benedict - 4* - alien wearing blonde Brit skin teaches English in China

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