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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourteenth Annual Collection

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Presents 23 of the finest science-fiction works of 1995, including stories by such diverse writers as Michael Bishop, Terry Bisson, Greg Egan, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maureen F. McHugh, Mike Resnick, and others. Contents ix • Summation: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Immersion • (1996) • novella by Gregory Benford 47 • The Dead • (1996) • shortstory by Michael Swa Presents 23 of the finest science-fiction works of 1995, including stories by such diverse writers as Michael Bishop, Terry Bisson, Greg Egan, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maureen F. McHugh, Mike Resnick, and others. Contents ix • Summation: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Immersion • (1996) • novella by Gregory Benford 47 • The Dead • (1996) • shortstory by Michael Swanwick 56 • The Flowers of Aulit Prison • [Probability Universe] • (1996) • novelette by Nancy Kress 82 • A Dry, Quiet War • (1996) • novelette by Tony Daniel 99 • Thirteen Phantasms • (1996) • shortstory by James P. Blaylock 109 • Primrose and Thorn • [Primrose] • (1996) • novelette by Bud Sparhawk 142 • The Miracle of Ivar Avenue • (1996) • novelette by John Kessel 167 • The Last Homosexual • (1996) • shortstory by Paul Park 178 • Recording Angel • (1996) • shortstory by Ian McDonald 188 • Death Do Us Part • (1996) • shortstory by Robert Silverberg 203 • The Spade of Reason • (1996) • shortstory by Jim Cowan 218 • The Cost to Be Wise • (1996) • novelette by Maureen F. McHugh 254 • Bicycle Repairman • [Chattanooga] • (1996) • novelette by Bruce Sterling 279 • The Weighing of Ayre • (1996) • novelette by Gregory Feeley 311 • The Longer Voyage • (1996) • novelette by Michael Cassutt 330 • The Land of Nod • [Kirinyaga • 10] • (1996) • novelette by Mike Resnick 350 • Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland • (1996) • shortstory by Gwyneth Jones 362 • The Lady Vanishes • (1996) • shortstory by Charles Sheffield 373 • Chrysalis • (1996) • novelette by Robert Reed 407 • The Wind Over the World • [Silurian Tales] • (1996) • novelette by Steven Utley 430 • Changes • (1996) • shortstory by William Barton 445 • Counting Cats in Zanzibar • (1996) • shortstory by Gene Wolfe 457 • How We Got In Town and Out Again • (1996) • novelette by Jonathan Lethem 475 • Dr. Tilmann's Consultant: A Scientific Romance • (1996) • novelette by Cherry Wilder 492 • Schrödinger's Dog • (1996) • novelette by Damien Broderick 518 • Foreign Devils • [War of the Worlds] • (1996) • novelette by Walter Jon Williams 535 • In the MSOB • (1996) • shortstory by Stephen Baxter 539 • The Robot's Twilight Companion • (1996) • novella by Tony Daniel 590 • Honorable Mentions: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois


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Presents 23 of the finest science-fiction works of 1995, including stories by such diverse writers as Michael Bishop, Terry Bisson, Greg Egan, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maureen F. McHugh, Mike Resnick, and others. Contents ix • Summation: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Immersion • (1996) • novella by Gregory Benford 47 • The Dead • (1996) • shortstory by Michael Swa Presents 23 of the finest science-fiction works of 1995, including stories by such diverse writers as Michael Bishop, Terry Bisson, Greg Egan, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maureen F. McHugh, Mike Resnick, and others. Contents ix • Summation: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Immersion • (1996) • novella by Gregory Benford 47 • The Dead • (1996) • shortstory by Michael Swanwick 56 • The Flowers of Aulit Prison • [Probability Universe] • (1996) • novelette by Nancy Kress 82 • A Dry, Quiet War • (1996) • novelette by Tony Daniel 99 • Thirteen Phantasms • (1996) • shortstory by James P. Blaylock 109 • Primrose and Thorn • [Primrose] • (1996) • novelette by Bud Sparhawk 142 • The Miracle of Ivar Avenue • (1996) • novelette by John Kessel 167 • The Last Homosexual • (1996) • shortstory by Paul Park 178 • Recording Angel • (1996) • shortstory by Ian McDonald 188 • Death Do Us Part • (1996) • shortstory by Robert Silverberg 203 • The Spade of Reason • (1996) • shortstory by Jim Cowan 218 • The Cost to Be Wise • (1996) • novelette by Maureen F. McHugh 254 • Bicycle Repairman • [Chattanooga] • (1996) • novelette by Bruce Sterling 279 • The Weighing of Ayre • (1996) • novelette by Gregory Feeley 311 • The Longer Voyage • (1996) • novelette by Michael Cassutt 330 • The Land of Nod • [Kirinyaga • 10] • (1996) • novelette by Mike Resnick 350 • Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland • (1996) • shortstory by Gwyneth Jones 362 • The Lady Vanishes • (1996) • shortstory by Charles Sheffield 373 • Chrysalis • (1996) • novelette by Robert Reed 407 • The Wind Over the World • [Silurian Tales] • (1996) • novelette by Steven Utley 430 • Changes • (1996) • shortstory by William Barton 445 • Counting Cats in Zanzibar • (1996) • shortstory by Gene Wolfe 457 • How We Got In Town and Out Again • (1996) • novelette by Jonathan Lethem 475 • Dr. Tilmann's Consultant: A Scientific Romance • (1996) • novelette by Cherry Wilder 492 • Schrödinger's Dog • (1996) • novelette by Damien Broderick 518 • Foreign Devils • [War of the Worlds] • (1996) • novelette by Walter Jon Williams 535 • In the MSOB • (1996) • shortstory by Stephen Baxter 539 • The Robot's Twilight Companion • (1996) • novella by Tony Daniel 590 • Honorable Mentions: 1996 • essay by Gardner Dozois

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Partial reread, 2019. Excellent anthology, as always. Highlights: • The Dead • (1996) • short story by Michael Swanwick. Zombies as cheap labor. MCs GF takes a zombie lover. He gets a short, sharp shock. Nebula and Hugo Nominee (1997 Awards). 4 stars. • A Dry, Quiet War • novelette by Tony Daniel. "A veteran from the great war at the end of time returns to his quiet homeworld to find his town and his old lover terrorized by other marauding veterans." [Brian Davies]. 5+ stars, Daniel's best and the Partial reread, 2019. Excellent anthology, as always. Highlights: • The Dead • (1996) • short story by Michael Swanwick. Zombies as cheap labor. MCs GF takes a zombie lover. He gets a short, sharp shock. Nebula and Hugo Nominee (1997 Awards). 4 stars. • A Dry, Quiet War • novelette by Tony Daniel. "A veteran from the great war at the end of time returns to his quiet homeworld to find his town and his old lover terrorized by other marauding veterans." [Brian Davies]. 5+ stars, Daniel's best and the best story in the anthology. • Bicycle Repairman • novelette by Bruce Sterling. Titular MC accidentally gets involved in political intrigue. One of Sterling's best, 4.5 stars. Many rereads. Hugo Novelette winner • Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland • short story by Gwyneth Jones. Sexy immersive fantasy role-playing psychotherapy. My favorite of her shorts, 4.5 stars. • The Robot's Twilight Companion • novella by Tony Daniel. An AI mining robot and its operator face a political revolution. Daniels had a really good year. 4 stars. -- and plenty more runners-up! The Benford, Sparhawk, McHugh, Sheffield, Utley . . . . Here's a good story-by-story memory-aid (minor SPOILERS if you haven't read it): https://web.archive.org/web/200411280... And another, spoiler-free: http://bestsf.net/years-best-science-...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Groosalugg

    Immersion (Gregory Benford) was a solid story. I also enjoyed The Flowers of Aulit Prison (Nancy Kress), Death do us part (Robert Silverberg), The Cost to be Wise (Maureen McHugh), Bicycle Repairman (Bruce Sterling), and Chrysalis (Robert Reed). But by FAR the best two in this book were the two Tony Daniel stories, A Dry, Quiet War and The Robot's Twilight Companion. Both of these stories will haunt me for a while and I have to read more of him. I'm tempted to give it 4 stars just for introducin Immersion (Gregory Benford) was a solid story. I also enjoyed The Flowers of Aulit Prison (Nancy Kress), Death do us part (Robert Silverberg), The Cost to be Wise (Maureen McHugh), Bicycle Repairman (Bruce Sterling), and Chrysalis (Robert Reed). But by FAR the best two in this book were the two Tony Daniel stories, A Dry, Quiet War and The Robot's Twilight Companion. Both of these stories will haunt me for a while and I have to read more of him. I'm tempted to give it 4 stars just for introducing me to Mr. Daniel, but there were too many entries that were uninteresting. Dozois does a good job mixing all kinds of science fiction into the book so there is something for everyone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    This collection had some great material in it, including Nancy Kress' brilliant "Flowers of Aulit Prison", Robert Reed's weird "Chrysalis", Bruce Sterling's silly "Bicycle Repairman" and two works by Tony Daniel. This book made me buy Tony Daniel's later novels and collections. Also was my first introduction to Jonathan Lethem, though I didn't know it at the time. This collection had some great material in it, including Nancy Kress' brilliant "Flowers of Aulit Prison", Robert Reed's weird "Chrysalis", Bruce Sterling's silly "Bicycle Repairman" and two works by Tony Daniel. This book made me buy Tony Daniel's later novels and collections. Also was my first introduction to Jonathan Lethem, though I didn't know it at the time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    As I usually do, I've rated each story individually and used the average rating to determine my star rating. Unlike other years, none of the stories here hit the 5 level, as they all had some issues that kept them from being true classics to me. There were a few blah stories in the mix, unfortunately, but most of them were solid. My average was a 3. Immersion - 4 (solid adventure, very close to being superb, but the plot developments felt a bit arbitrary) The Dead - 3 (I think the idea was better As I usually do, I've rated each story individually and used the average rating to determine my star rating. Unlike other years, none of the stories here hit the 5 level, as they all had some issues that kept them from being true classics to me. There were a few blah stories in the mix, unfortunately, but most of them were solid. My average was a 3. Immersion - 4 (solid adventure, very close to being superb, but the plot developments felt a bit arbitrary) The Dead - 3 (I think the idea was better than the execution) The Flowers of Aulit Prison - 3 (the first "alien" story of the bunch, and I feel like I should have liked this more than I did) A Dry, Quiet War - 4 (a very clever story, but I felt like it just missed out on being superb) Thirteen Phantasms - 4 (this was a fun little palate cleanser after the very serious opening stories) Primrose and Thorn - 3 (the climax was a great little adventure scene, but the rest of the story wasn't quite at that level) The Miracle of Ivar Avenue - 4 (I really enjoy John Kessel's writing, and he's very good here) The Last Homosexual - 3 (moving but very dated at this point in history) Recording Angel - 3 (weirdly enough, last year's volume featured an unrelated story also named Recording Angel. This one is solid and feels like it was the germ of an almost-novel) Death Do Us Part - 3 (nasty but effective little tale) The Spade of Reason - 4 (enjoyable and very original) The Cost to Be Wise - 3 (sad, but there's a real Chekhov's gun situation with the plot that never pays off) Bicycle Repairman - 3 (creative story, but I'm not a big fan of cyberpunk, unfortunately, so it didn't grip me) The Weighing of Ayre - 2 (not really SF at all, and not particularly exciting based on its length) The Longer Voyage - 2 (some good ideas, but they didn't come together well for me) The Land of Nod - 4 (I'm a big fan of the Kirinyaga stories, and even though this isn't the strongest, it's still a solid ending to the series) Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland - 2 (sexy, but not too much going on besides that. I feel like this would have benefited from some "fleshing" out) The Lady Vanishes - 3 (another fun, amusing story) Chrysalis - 4 (probably my favorite story of the bunch, and it almost hits greatness except it falls apart a little at the end) The Wind Over the World - 3 (I enjoy the setting, but the story itself took some odd turns and ended a bit abruptly) Changes - 3 (it's a series of vignettes with an ending that doesn't quite gel) Counting Cats in Zanzibar - 2 (I appreciate what Gene Wolfe was trying to do, but it wasn't very interesting to me) How We Got In Town and Out Again - 4 (now this was a lot of fun and a great change of pace in a world that I wouldn't mind visiting again) Dr. Tilmann's Consultant: A Scientific Romance - 4 (another enjoyable and somewhat gentler story, even given the seriousness of the setting) Schrödinger's Dog - 3 (there's a lot going on here, and it's very creative, but it's a bit of a mess in the end) Foreign Devils - 3 (it feels weirdly historically accurate, which is a great compliment for a story like this) In the MSOB - 2 (probably the worst story in the bunch, just bland) The Robot's Twilight Companion - 4 (a very strong tale and a fitting end to the collection, so close to being a classic except for the very odd politics that bear no resemblance to the real world - even of the 1990s - and the way the whole thing doesn't quite come together in the end to be as profound as it wants to be)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Another "clear off my dusty bookshelf" book. Anthologies are a mixed bag, and I usually only find a handful of great stories. Collections by a single author have a better ROI. But this truly felt like "the year's best." A solid 50% of the stories I loved, and there were quite a few more that I really liked. The ones I didn't enjoy were mostly attributable to taste - despite what I wish, cyberpunk is never going to be my thing. I do have a quibble with some of the tales barely qualifying as SF. I Another "clear off my dusty bookshelf" book. Anthologies are a mixed bag, and I usually only find a handful of great stories. Collections by a single author have a better ROI. But this truly felt like "the year's best." A solid 50% of the stories I loved, and there were quite a few more that I really liked. The ones I didn't enjoy were mostly attributable to taste - despite what I wish, cyberpunk is never going to be my thing. I do have a quibble with some of the tales barely qualifying as SF. I mean, yes, historical fiction about science can technically be called "science fiction," but probably should be set aside in favor of something more true to the genre. It's also surprisingly not dated, despite being published over 20 years ago. The one exception, The Last Homosexual, posits a world where social diseases are treated as biological diseases. Remember when politicians used the term "social diseases"? What's that? You weren't born yet? Ah well. Top Five: The Dead by Michael Swanwick The Flowers of Aulit Prison by Nancy Kress A Dry, Quiet War by Tony Daniel The Cost to be Wise by Maureen F McHugh Chrysalis by Robert Reed I'll definitely check out more books in this anthology series. The editor has a great eye for quality material.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    I love these collections and have been trying to fill in the volumes that I am missing. I picked this up at a used book store during a trip last year. Editor Gardner Dozois does a great job of picking the best stories from the year and collecting them into one volume of approx. 250,000 words of fantastic science fiction. Almost as valuable as the stories themselves are his "state of the genre" forwards where he discusses trends in publishing, novel, movies, anthologies, and notable happenings in I love these collections and have been trying to fill in the volumes that I am missing. I picked this up at a used book store during a trip last year. Editor Gardner Dozois does a great job of picking the best stories from the year and collecting them into one volume of approx. 250,000 words of fantastic science fiction. Almost as valuable as the stories themselves are his "state of the genre" forwards where he discusses trends in publishing, novel, movies, anthologies, and notable happenings in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. This collection is from 1996 and is typical of these volumes (if typical can be used for something that is excellent in its own right). It is interesting by itself to see the world as it was in 1996, even if through such an admittedly small keyhole as science fiction. Movies of note: Independence Day and Twelve Monkeys. The stories in this collection are varied in subject matter and generally excellent. I enjoyed particularly the Gregory Benford, Mike Resnick, Robert Reed, and Gene Wolfe stories, but almost all were very well-written. A difference between stories from 2007 and 1996 is the tone - it seems to be more optimistic then: even the dystopic stories seem to be a little brighter, a little cleaner, a little less bleak. And there were fewer of them in this collection from 1996 than in the 2007 collection. If you are a fan of the genre, you should pick this or any of its brethren up if you happen to run across them.

  7. 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...

  8. 4 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James

    Some of the stories made me wonder what their criteria was for the award.... but others were good!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michallevy

    English edition

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    99-cent buy from Goodwill.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Timon Karnezos

    Standouts were "A Dry, Quiet War" and "Bicycle Repairman". Standouts were "A Dry, Quiet War" and "Bicycle Repairman".

  13. 4 out of 5

    o

    Meh, gave up on this one. I gave each of the stories ten pages, and only ended up reading the entirety of two or three. Not my favorite collection; better luck next time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Darth

    Not much in here grabbed my attention, and nothing sparked my imagination. I usually love collections of shorts, but this was not my fave.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aneil

    Mostly unreadable, boring pieces. I'm glad I only paid $7.99 for the Kindle version, and will be donating/giving it away as soon as I can. Mostly unreadable, boring pieces. I'm glad I only paid $7.99 for the Kindle version, and will be donating/giving it away as soon as I can.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    2/6/12: "The Miracle of Ivar Avenue" by John Kessel 2/7/12: "The Lady Vanishes" by Charles Sheffield 2/9/12: "Counting Cats in Zanzibar" by Gene Wolfe 2/17/12: "In the MSOB" by Stephen Baxter 2/6/12: "The Miracle of Ivar Avenue" by John Kessel 2/7/12: "The Lady Vanishes" by Charles Sheffield 2/9/12: "Counting Cats in Zanzibar" by Gene Wolfe 2/17/12: "In the MSOB" by Stephen Baxter

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ricky Hughes

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alison C

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Brooks

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Brown

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann Cohrs

  24. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  25. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marti Dolata

  27. 5 out of 5

    Reuven

  28. 4 out of 5

    Devo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mikko Herranen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Cummings

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