Friday, 17 June 2016

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 1

4 out of 5 stars
For the first time ever, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has assembled the best science fiction and the best fantasy stories of the year in one volume. More than just two books for the price of one, this book brings together over 200,000 words of the best genre fiction anywhere. Strahan's critical eye and keen editorial instincts have served him well for earlier best of the year round-ups in the Best Short Novels, Science Fiction: Best of and Fantasy: Best of series, and this is his most impressive effort yet.

 An interesting collection—in anthologies like this one, a reader will obviously encounter some stories that they enjoy more than others. I do have to say, however, there was only one that I found rather opaque and several that I really, really enjoyed.

My favourites:

In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages, which I have reviewed separately.

I, Row-Boat by Cory Doctorow, a tale of a sentient machine (said row-boat) who ponders Asimovian philosophy and the nature of life.

The Night Whiskey by Jeffrey Ford, in which a whiskey distilled from a certain fruit can provide the drinker with a one night encounter with a dead friend or family member. The amount of whiskey is limited & distributed by lottery in the small town where this plant grows.

Eight Episodes by Robert Reed, in which a television show of debatable provenance seems to be manipulating people into abandoning space exploration—or is it?

D.A. by Connie Willis, which, as the introductions states, hails back to Robert A. Heinlein, but this time with women that I can actually admire. Hectically paced, smart, and funny.

A worthwhile read if you enjoy SF/F short stories.

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