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Science Fiction: the Best-of-the-Year Anthologies

Science Fiction Fans

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Edited: Dec 17, 2011, 2:35am Top

I've found one of the best ways to keep up with the field of SF is to follow the various "Best of the Year" anthology series.

In the beginning - starting with a 1949 hardcover, Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949 - Bleiler and Dikty did an annual series (which was then carried on JUST by Dikty): http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Best+Science+Fiction+Stories
This ran from 1949-1957.
(They also did three volumes of "Year's Best Science Fiction Novels" from 1952-54.)

It was 'succeeded' by Judy Merril's series, which ran under various titles from 1956-1967: http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Year%27s+Best+S-F ,

'Succeeded' by Wolheim and Carr for Ace Books from 1965-71: http://www.librarything.com/series/World%27s+Best+Science+Fiction

Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss did a series from 1967 to 1975: http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Year%27s+Best+SF

(So, for most years since the mid-60s, there have been multiple "Best SF of the Year" anthologies to choose from.)

In 1972, Wollheim took the "annual anthology" with him to his own DAW Books: so in the early '70s, the succession to the "Ace / Wollheim&Carr" series gets ambiguous for a couple years: Ace carried on with new editors - Fred Pohl edited a competing volume for 1972 ( http://www.librarything.com/work/1537418 ), Ackerman did the volume for 1973: http://www.librarything.com/work/707912 ...), while

Wolheim continued the series with DAW (with co-editor Saha) from 1972 until 1990; (and here, LT views the "DAW/Wollheim" series as a continuation of the "Ace/Wollheim&Carr" series);

while Terry Carr went off to edit a rival series for Ballantine, from 1972-1986:
http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Year%27s+Best+Science+Fiction+%2526+Fanta... .
(Carr also did a short-lived (two years) "Best SF Novellas" anthology series for Ballantine.)

Also in the '70s, Lester del Rey edited a series (carried on by Dozois) in hardcover for Dutton, ten volumes 1972-81: http://www.librarything.com/series/Dutton+Best+Science+Fiction+Stories+of+the+Ye...

Mike Ashley compiled "the best of 1975", but it only saw print as SF Choice 77 for Quartet, and turned out to be a one-shot.

DAW published two volumes of "Terra SF: the Best European SF of the Year", in 1981 and 1983.

Across the Atlantic, there was short-lived "Orbit SF Yearbook" series for three years in the late '80s: http://www.librarything.com/series/Orbit+Science+Fiction+Yearbook;

In 1985 there was a one-shot Science Fiction Yearbook, edited by Pournelle;

And then the longest run, Gardner Dozois' "The Year's Best Science Fiction" series, from 1984 to date:
http://www.librarything.com/series/Dozois+Year%27s+Best+Science+Fiction. (The Dozois series has run long enough that there are now two "meta" anthologies of "best stories" drawn from his "Best of the Year" series. Presumably for people interested only in the best of the best....)

Hartwell and Cramer (1996-to-date), now in its 16th annual volume: http://www.librarything.com/series/Year%27s+Best+SF

Strahan tried a short lived Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy that lasted two years, 1997-8.

Early in the 21st century, a short-lived series edited by Robert Silverberg: http://www.librarything.com/series/Science+Fiction%3A+The+Best+of...

Strahan - http://www.librarything.com/series/Best+Science+Fiction+and+Fantasy+of+the+Year, now in its fifth year; a prior "2005" volume for Locus; and his short-lived "best novels" series http://www.librarything.com/series/Best+short+novels from 2004-7

A one-off Best Science Fiction & Fantasy for Teens for 2005;

Congreve tried again with a Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy series; this time out it ran 2005-9

Rich Horton - Best SF from 2006-8: http://www.librarything.com/series/Science+Fiction%3A+The+Best+of+the+Year ...,
and which is now succeeded by his "Best SF & F" http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Year%27s+Best+Science+Fiction+%2526+Fanta... (2009-2011)

(In addition to the hundreds of "Year's Best SF" anthologies, there's also a closely-related annual anthology from SFWA, collecting the Nebula winners for most years from 1965 to date; this is more-or-less a "best of the year" series, one selected by the trade association of the science fiction writers of America, and with a changing editor-of-record. 45 volumes since 1965; but not quite continuously, as they managed to miss a couple/three years in the 1990s: http://www.librarything.com/series/Nebula+Award+Stories )

(There are also various "Year's Best FANTASY" anthology series - most notably, 21 annual volumes of the recently-demised "Datlow and Windling" series; and further afield, various "Year's Best Horror" series.)

Also related: Asimov edited a retrospective series of "The Great SF Stories" going back to 1939: so, a run of 25 "annual" volumes from 1939 to 1963. (Silverberg edited the final volume of these "retrospective best of the year" anthologies, to cover 1964 and to explicitly tie in to the 1965 start of the Ace/Wollheim/Carr series: http://www.librarything.com/work/2852072/book/4050459 .)

Limiting the count to JUST SF, then, all told, over the last 62 years there have been well over 140 volumes purporting to bring us the "Best SF of the Year" - an average of over two per year. (Anybody feel like counting them all up?)

(And - for extra credit - what year saw the greatest choice of available "Best of the Year" anthologies? Currently, we have four to choose from: Dozois, Hartwell/Cramer, Strahan, and Horton.)

I'll be glad to edit this to flesh it out; my hope is to assemble this information in one place, for the benefit of collectors.

Edited: Oct 23, 2016, 7:04pm Top

In summary:

Bleiler and Dikty: 6 (1949-54)
- - continued by Dikty: 3 (1955, 1956, 1958)
- - and B&D "Best SF Novels" 3 (1952-54)
Derleth's "Portals of Tomorrow" (explicitly intended as a YBSF for 1953)
Merril: 12 (1956-1968)
Harrison/Aldiss: 9 (1967-75)
Ace/ Wollheim & Carr: 7 (1965-71)
Ace continuation: Pohl (1972), Ackerman (1973)
Wollheim at DAW: 19 (1972-1990)
Carr at Ballantine: 16 (1972-87)
- - Carr : 2 volumes of "Best Novellas" (1979, 1980)
Dutton (del Rey/Dozois): 10 (1972-81)
SF Choice 77 (actually for 1975)
Terra SF: 2 (1981, 1983)
Dozois: 28 (!) (1984-date)
Orbit: 3 (1988-90?)
Pournelle/SF Yearbook: 1 (1985)
Hartwell, Hartwell & Cramer: 16 (1996-date)
Strahan/Australian: 2 (1997-8)
Strahan: 1 + 5 (2005-date)
- - Strahan "Best Novellas": 4 (2004-7)
Silverberg/Haber/(Strahan) : 5 (2001-5)
Teens: 1 (2005)
Congreve/Australian: 5 (2005-9)
Horton: 6 (2006-date)

I make that as 164? books
What am I forgetting?

{Five years later: >89 points us to the Derleth for 1953. Also added to the count in >15 (which needs a thorough update, too...) }

(edited to add some stuff - thanks to various people below...

Dec 2, 2011, 8:00pm Top

so lets say that I'd like to START reading a "Best SF of the Year" anthology in 2012. Which one to go with?

Edited: Dec 2, 2011, 8:16pm Top

Depends on your budget:
the Hartwell/Cramer is an $8 paperback, the Strahan and the Horton are $20 trade paperbacks, and the Dozois is a $22 tpb/ $40 hardcover.

Each one pretty much does what it says on the tin; but they're at different price-points. There's enough good stuff published that there's enough "best" short fiction to fill all of them, with surprisingly little overlap.

The Strahan was first to market in 2011, coming out in February; the mass-market paperback was out in May; the Horton was June; the Dozois is traditionally out in July.

Dec 2, 2011, 8:35pm Top

There might be another one too: The Science Fiction Yearbook eds. John F. Carr, Jim Baen, and Jerry Pournelle (1985). First in a series of ... one. But the cover does proclaim it to include "the year's top stories".

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 1:19am Top

#5, Thanks, I've got that one, but I think I have it with Pournelle listed as lead editor. Oddly, the touchstone for that brings up something called the International Science Fiction Yearbook, which I don't think I've seen. Not sure if it's an anthology or criticism. Anybody?

Edited: Dec 2, 2011, 9:55pm Top

Thanks for that great post AsYouKnow_Bob!

Also quite interesting and useful is the 'Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories' series that ran for 25 volumes, each for a year beginning with 1939 and finishing with 1963.

Published through DAW it makes for an entertaining set, all be it a retrospective one. These have become quite collectible now.


Dec 2, 2011, 9:59pm Top

Used bookstores have been a goldmine for the Dozois books. If you check out my catalog, you can see I've managed to collect all but 5 of 28. They're a great thing to have on hand and have introduced me to several authors. Dozois' choices definitely reflect his own tastes, but the good thing about that is I usually like his tastes.

Dec 2, 2011, 10:34pm Top

The International Science Fiction Yearbook was a review of happenings in SF and related areas for the year. Not a story anthology.

Dec 2, 2011, 10:40pm Top

To add to the list, Harrison and sometimes Aldiss did some too in the 60's. I have Best SF: 1967, Best SF: 1968 and Best SF: 1969 and, under a new title, The Years Best SF No. 4 and The Years Best SF No. 5.

Edited: Dec 2, 2011, 10:59pm Top

In French, woefully out of print, and MMP so conservation and condition can be an issue when hunting for them, there was the "Univers" series published by Flammarion's MMP imprint "J'ai lu", supervised by Jacques Sadoul :
http://www.librarything.com/series/Univers+-+J%27ai+lu (Warning for those for whom it may be a problem : they were not particularly shy about nude women on the covers)
From 1975 to 1979 there were much more than one a year, I assume they were "catching up" with a number of contemporary authors not yet too well-known or translated locally, rather than keeping to a strict equivalent timetable. From 1980 to 1989 they were annual.

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 1:20am Top

#10 Right! (/slaps forehead).

Thanks, I'll add in the Aldiss/Harrison set. (Hmm: somebody's added a "Vol. 10" to LT's "series" page for the Aldiss/Harrison series, but it's held by only two people, and the editors are unidentified; I'm pretty sure that's wrong.)

#9 - Thanks for clarifying that one.

#11 Thanks for that. A valuable addition, but unfortunately, I myself don't have enough French for that... (I once fought my way through Neuromancien, but can't say I read it for pleasure.)

And actually, I'm not clear if your "Univers" series is an original anthology, a reprint anthology, or an explicit attempt to select "The Best" of a given year. They're sequentially numbered; but are they perhaps more like America's Universe or New Dimensions series?

Dec 2, 2011, 11:48pm Top

Great topic, #1 Bob....I always look for "best of" collections while in used book stores. Evidently so does someone else in my area as the pickings are slim.

Dec 2, 2011, 11:53pm Top

When I reached a stage of my life when I couldn't keep up with the field, I found that the various "best of the year" collections to be a handy way to let somebody else point you to what's worth reading.

So I figured it might to useful to people to do a 'global round-up' of them....

Edited: Dec 7, 2011, 8:18pm Top

Here's where I become obsessive, and add them up to answer my own question at #2:
What year saw the greatest choice of available "Best of the Year" anthologies?

For just SF, the answer looks to be the years 1972-73, and 2005-2007, with five different series available.

{Adding in all the "Best Fantasy of the Year" anthologies just gives me a headache. (Anybody else want to try it?) }

Years | Number of different series | editors/publishers

1949-56 - ONE: (Bleiler&Dikty), then Dikty
1956,1957 - TWO: Dikty + Merril
1958-64 - ONE: Merril
1965,1966 - TWO: Merril + Ace (Wollheim&Carr)
1967,1968 - THREE: Merril, Ace, Harrison
1969-71 - TWO: Ace, Harrison

1972,1973 - FIVE!: Ace, Wollheim (now at DAW), Carr (now at Ballantine), Harrison, Dutton
1974,1975 - FOUR: Wollheim, Carr, Harrison, Dutton
1976 - THREE: Wollheim, Carr, Dutton
1977 - FOUR: Wollheim, Carr, Dutton, Ashley
1978 - THREE: Wollheim, Carr, Dutton
1979, 1980 - FOUR: Wollheim, Carr, Dutton (and Carr's "Best Novellas")

1981 - FOUR : Wollheim, Carr, Dutton, Nolane/"Terra SF"
1982 - TWO : Wollheim, Carr
1983 - THREE : Wollheim, Carr, Nolane/"Terra SF II"
1984 - THREE : Wollheim, Carr, Dozois
1985 - FOUR : Wollheim, Carr, Dozois, Pournelle
1986,1987 - THREE: Wollheim, Carr, Dozois
1988-1990 - THREE: Wollheim, Dozois, Orbit

1991-1995 - ONE: Dozois
1996 - TWO: Dozois, Hartwell
1997-8 - THREE: Dozois, Hartwell, Australian
1999-2000 - TWO: Dozois, Hartwell

2001-2003 - THREE: Dozois, Hartwell, Silverberg
2004: FOUR - Dozois, Hartwell, Silverberg, (and Strahan's "Best Novellas")
2005: SEVEN - Dozois, Hartwell, 'Silverberg' (well, Haber), Strahan, (Strahan's "Best Novellas"), Congreve, Teens
2006,2007 - SIX : Dozois, Hartwell, Strahan, (Strahan "Best Novellas"), Horton, Congreve
2008-9 - FIVE: Dozois, Hartwell, Strahan, Horton, Congreve
2010-1 - FOUR: Dozois, Hartwell, Strahan, Horton

2012 - {as of today, only the Hartwell is announced (for May 17th, 2012)}

I don't think I realized that "2005" is the year with the greatest number of "Best of the Year" anthologies.

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 4:19am Top

There was a David Garnett series too - The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook 1 to 3.

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 6:59am Top

Yep, got it, thanks (listed above as "Orbit").

(I see that the British reprints of (say) the Dozois are nightmares - skipped years, etc.)

Dec 3, 2011, 10:47am Top

Yes, a British publisher picked up the fourth Dozois collection and ran it as "The best new science fiction". They then ran their series consecutively numbered. I wasn't aware that they'd skipped years, but then again I'm not a completist.

The International Science Fiction Yearbook was, as said, more of a directory. It was intended to run annually, but I think the publisher (a small house) went bust first. I picked up my copy in a remainder store a couple of years later, and mainly bought it because of the fine Jim Barker cartoons in the 'fan' section. After all, I had 50p burning a hole in my pocket at the time...

Dec 3, 2011, 11:01am Top


Robinson missed out the 12th for some reason.

Things are worse in Romania. Parts of The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection were reprinted as The Year's Best Science Fiction 1 and 2. According to the disambiguation comments The Year's Best Science Fiction 3 and 4 contain Parts of The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Second Annual Collection and The Year's Best Science Fiction 5 parts of the 24th.

Dec 3, 2011, 12:20pm Top

I don't think the The International Science Fiction Yearbook is the same as the _The Science Fiction Yearbook_ from Pournelle, Baen, and Carr. It has 13 stories from 1984 and three essays. (You can see the contents and cover here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?46563.)

Now that I think about it, there's another anthology from 1964. It was Robert Silverberg Presents the Great SF (1964). Edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Silverberg, I believe it was a short-lived attempt be NESFA to continue the Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF series after his death. But I have only seen that one volume, and that's the only title listed in the NESFA catalog

Dec 3, 2011, 12:26pm Top

#20: Yeah, despite the touchstone trouble, they're two books. See #9 above.

And yes, the Silverberg is a retrospective "best of the year", published in 2001.

It was intended to close the gap (and thus complete the Asimov retrospective series) by bringing it up to the 1965 start of the Wollheim/Carr series from Ace.

Dec 3, 2011, 1:02pm Top

SF Choice 77 covers 1975. Ask Mike Ashley why it has the title it does.

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 3:06pm Top

Wow, I've never even HEARD of that one.

(Although I guess that - strictly speaking - it gets filed with the very small shelf of "Best-of-the-PREVIOUS-year" anthologies....)

Dec 3, 2011, 4:16pm Top

I have it and also forgot it. Doing a "year's best" and title type "anthology" at ISFDB


yields some more items, like the Terra SF volumes of European year's best.

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 4:49pm Top

Terra SF and Terra SF II? - yeah, they'd count. Added above, thanks.

I have the two of them, DAWs dated 1981 and 1983. Were there any more that DAW never picked up?

Edited to add: I just checked Wollheim's previous The Best from the Rest of the World, and it makes no pretense of being a "single-year" anthology.

Dec 3, 2011, 4:48pm Top

Anybody have an opinion as to whether Noisy's SF Choice 77 counts (and gets listed) as a "Best of 1975", or as a "1977 anthology"?

Edited: Dec 3, 2011, 5:28pm Top

...and running ChrisRiesbeck's search at ISFDB turns up some more:

- a Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy series (5? more);
- PNH's The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens : First Annual Collection...

Edited to add:
Oh, good grief: there are TWO series of "Year's Best Aussie SF & F" , with the identical title:

- two volumes edited by Strahan, and then
- five more edited by Congreve. (Including a second #1, a second #2...)
So, SEVEN of these.

Congreve looks to run 2005-2009; Strahan 1997-98.

Dec 3, 2011, 6:19pm Top

It would be nice if there were a comprehensive SF short story resource (web site) where you could search by author, year, etc. Is there such a beastie?

If noticed I'm finding the same stories in multiple publications. I'd also like to have a list of all shorties done by my fav authors.

Dec 3, 2011, 6:31pm Top


Dec 3, 2011, 7:20pm Top

Thanks Ian. Very cool.

Edited: Dec 4, 2011, 5:47am Top


Edited: Dec 7, 2011, 8:22pm Top

Noisy at #22: SF Choice 77 covers 1975. Ask Mike Ashley why it has the title it does.

OK, I've laid hands on a copy (yay, internet shopping) and I've read the introductory copy... and it doesn't really explain why it it's called "77".

And while I think I crossed paths with Ashley at the last Noreascon, I doubt I'll soon have a chance to ask him about it.

Do you happen to know the story behind the delay?

(I guess I'll file it above as "1977" because that's the year it was available for purchse, but I don't feel strongly either way - so I can be persuaded to list it as a "Best of 1975", if anyone cares to argue the point.)

Dec 10, 2011, 5:01am Top

>32 AsYouKnow_Bob:

No idea - just read the introduction as you did and came to the same conclusion - the 77 just refers to the date it hit the shops.

Dec 12, 2011, 1:25pm Top

As you know Bob things in publishing are never as simple as we would like particularly when different publihers from different countries get involved.
The story on The Bleiler and Dikty series according to the ISFDB is as follows:
There are six books in the best science fiction stories 1949 to 1954. The dates are the year of publication, and they contain stories from the previous year. All but the first were reprinted by a British publisher, the second being titled "The Best Science fiction stories" and the third to sixth being "The best science fiction stories, second (third, fourth and fifth) Series". They also produced year's best science fiction novels 1953, 1953 and 1954 which were novella anthologies again of the previous Year. The continuations by Dikty are three volumes called Best science fiction stories and Novels, presumably intended as merging the two series.

Dec 17, 2011, 4:58pm Top

There was also my BEST NEW FANTASY (2006), which was a year's best of the previous year's best new-and-up-and-coming fantasy authors' contributions. A second volume was planned and contracts issued, but it didn't go anywhere, for various reasons.

Dec 17, 2011, 5:01pm Top

#34 - Ok , thanks for straightening that out, I've updated the lists.

#35 - Yeah, the topic of "The Year's Best FANTASY" anthologies is probably worth its own thread.

Jun 1, 2012, 1:38am Top

As you said, the Award anthologies aren't quite the same as standard best of the year anthologies, but they do of course, represent a very best of the year selection. The Nebula anthologies did change their numbering system with Nebula Awards 2000, which would have been number 34, but they haven't missed any years. The equivalent Hugo award anthologies were never published annually, but they did cover all the winners from the beginning (1955) until the end of the series covering 92, 93 and 94. Mary Robinette Kowal edited The Hugo Award Showcase covering stories from 2008, but I don't think there have been any subsequent volumes. The SFWA Hall of Fame volumes were an effort to choose the best form before their awards started in 1965.

I just purchased volumes 4 and 6 of Gardner Dozois series, and that leaves just the first three, and numbers 5 and 7 that I don't have. The size of his annuals, makes them especially useful for SF reader's who don't keep up with the magazines, and the annual summations are a treasure which make the books the center of the SF world, at least to me. The famous Best American Short Stories series, begun in 1915, and still going today, had similar summations of the year in American short fiction which became an invaluable record as the decades went by. Gardner Dozois is doing the same thing for science fiction-coming up soon on 30 years.

Jun 1, 2012, 10:40am Top

You're doing better than me. I'm missing 1, 2, 5, 17 and 20. I think I've seen some of the later ones, but always at too steep a price or in very poor condition. I don't think I've ever seen 1 or 2 and probably not 5.

Jun 1, 2012, 3:53pm Top

I'm missing 1, 2 4 and 15. I'm not sure how i missed 15. I agree that they create an invaluable record with the summations. I didn't realize the significance they would have when they started. I think 5 was the first I ever got and then 8 and 10. Once I realized what they really were I started to actively look for them and bought many new. Up until a few years ago one of our local libraries had an almost complete collection. Then some idjit dumped about the first 15 presumably because they weren't being checked out any more. Yeah they took up a lot of shelf space but I couldn't believe it. I can't recall now if they had 1 and 2. But they did have nearly every volume after. Someone got a bonanza at that year's remainder sale. The last few years I've increasingly been finding great science fiction, new and old, at our friends of the library sales. I've seen Dozois volumes there off and on.

Jun 1, 2012, 3:56pm Top

I do have a complete collection of the DAW year's best from '65 thru '90.

Jun 1, 2012, 3:57pm Top

If either of you wind up in the Twin Cities area, you should check out Uncle Hugo's in Minneapolis. That's where I've gotten a lot of mine, and there are still a lot left of different ones left.

Well, you should just check out Uncle Hugo's, period. It's quite frustrating due to far more books than bookshelves, but there's some stuff there that's hard to find.

Jun 1, 2012, 8:17pm Top

Thanks for bumping this thread - the Strahan and Hartwell volumes are already out for this year, with the Horton and Dozois still to come.

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 10:16pm Top

>41 brightcopy: A very definite seconding of this recommendation. Uncle Hugo's is a fantastic bookstore. And don't rely on their online search feature for used paperbacks and trades. A lot of stuff just isn't in their inventory system. Go there in person, circumnavigate the Silverberg pile, and check out the used shelves. Or you can just send an e-mail to the store and ask if they have particular used book and you can get it mailed to you or pick it up in person.

Jun 1, 2012, 10:42pm Top

And always use the buddy system.

Apr 21, 2013, 2:25am Top

This is a lovely summation of the "best of" category of short speculative fiction. I only wish there was a website that specialized as a resource for short speculative fiction like listing anthologies and magazine publications. That would be wonderful. *Le Sigh*

Edited: Apr 21, 2013, 2:35am Top

>45 jade_kadir:

Like http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi you mean? (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?405416 for an example of a magazine listing). Or do you mean a site with actual summaries?

Edited: Apr 21, 2013, 3:06am Top

#45 Thanks for the kind words.

...aaaannd it's "Best-of-the-Year" season again.
The Strahan is already published, Dozois' contents are known (it's still set for July) , and the Hartwell has been put off until the fall.

Edited: May 14, 2013, 8:22am Top

i have a site, Prescience, where i've input many of my own favorite short stories and novellas. i even have "Greener Than You Think" at 350 pages -- i'm OCD and i love to type (i use the Dvorak keyboard layout).

if you're interested in stories from the '30s to the '70s, go to presciencesf.blogspot.com -- it's not laid out very well, but that's blogspot's fault, not mine.

Clifford Simak once told me "thank god for you" when i sent him my analysis of "The Big Front Yard" and the letters -- to him and from him -- are on my site hollis517.blogspot.com, but that's not a site for SF people. it's mostly non-fiction, and some of my favorite poetry. it was a paltry first attempt at a blogspot blog spot, but i'm fond of it.

Prescience is mostly concerned with speculative fiction -- i'm not really into violence, cowboys/indians in space, or lurid sex -- which i take to mean the what if? and why? themes. there are plenty of classics on there, such as "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" and "Vintage Season" (both Kuttner & Moore, two of my favorites when they wrote together) -- both of which were adapted for the big screen by David Twohey; i give him kudos for trying and an evil eye for altering them for the worse.

i highly recommend Mr. Simak's "The Big Front Yard" -- it's a story about the importance of ideas, and the handful of aliens are NOT evil, they're just traders and communicators. out of the classic Simak novel "City" i have pulled my favorite -- "Desertion" -- again, no evil aliens. Mr. Simak was one of the greats, and considered the finest in the genre of pastoral SF.

just a recommendation. oh, and y'all forgot about Ben Bova's "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame" (c. 1973) -- there were 3 of them, Vols. II, IIA, and IIB. that's where i got my start. they're all spectacular, but i especially loved IIA, i think it was.

Edited: May 31, 2013, 8:13am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 14, 2013, 11:05am Top

these are the kind of stories that belong in a cable or internet show hosted by someone like Alan Alda -- it could be called "Alan Alda's Big Front Yard" -- it's about time we included true speculative fiction within the genres of fantasy (The Outer Limits), morality tale (The Twilight Zone), and cowboys vs. indians (Star Wars, Star Trek). although some of the greats wrote for Star Trek, e.g., James Blish and Fredric Brown.

May 14, 2013, 12:05pm Top

Simak is one of my two or three timeless "classic" SF authors. Big Front Yard and All Flesh is Grass are in my personal Hall of Fame. As for Hall of Fame 2A, I just this Saturday found a nice use SFBC copy. I was happy. #1 and 2A are great and I have kept my eyes out for 2A for a while. There is a vol 4 also.

May 14, 2013, 4:38pm Top

I am currently reading The Year's best Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois {2007 stories I believe} and like the story choices. The author Dozois has a preface where he is all over the place explaining the story choices and they come from electronic media, magazine and regular publishing.

So far I find the stories well structured and technically interesting. They are a great read when I have a break and need to wind down.

May 14, 2013, 4:40pm Top

I just wish Dozois would put his story notes AFTER the story rather than before it, as he's always putting in cutesy spoilers. As it stands, I almost always skip them. Only rarely will I go back to them.

Feb 4, 2015, 10:19pm Top

David G. Hartwell's Year's Best SF 18 (published December 2013) seems to have been the end of the line for that series.

(The Dozois, Horton, and Strahan anthologies all seem to be on schedule for mid-2015 release.)

Feb 7, 2015, 12:48pm Top

>54 AsYouKnow_Bob: That is disappointing news. I just picked up #18 several months ago and haven't gotten to it yet. I also picked up several of the earlier editions this past year that I had missed in prior years. I've found myself enjoying Hartwell's story selection more than the others.

Edited: May 21, 2015, 6:12pm Top

2015 update:

The Hartwell series does in fact seem to be demised.

The 2015 volume of the Strahan series (Vol. 9) is out.

This year's Horton is due out in 2 weeks (June 3rd, 2015;

there's a new companion series, The Year's Best SF & F NOVELLAS (2015);

And the Dozois (the 32nd(!) annual) is on track for July release.

(So, back up to four "Year's Best" roundup collections this year.)

May 23, 2015, 3:28pm Top

Hey, waddyaknow...
I have the new Strahan The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine in hand (published May 12th) - -

and not a single one of this year's Hugo nominees was included.....

May 24, 2015, 7:12am Top

Clearly a monumental omission.

May 24, 2015, 6:10pm Top

It's a plot, I tell you!

May 25, 2015, 7:10am Top

Probably about 35 plots, or thereabouts, judging by the size of the anthology...

May 27, 2015, 2:04pm Top

>60 dukedom_enough: No, that's exactly the problem with all this modernist pseudo-SF stuff. It's all characterization and allusion and no plot. Probably not one decent sword fig... I mean laser battle in the lot.

Edited: Jun 3, 2015, 9:03pm Top

Hey, wow, Baen is out with a NEW "Best of the Year" anthology, The Year's Best Military SF and Space Opera, published June 2nd.

Edited to note: (Unfortunately, it contains a story by Brad "The Fool Who Broke the Hugo Awards" Torgersen, so I - the guy who collects 'best-of-the-year' anthologies - won't be buying it.)

Edited: Jun 3, 2015, 9:18pm Top

>62 AsYouKnow_Bob:

Well yes - but count how many puppy (nominated that is) stories it contains :)

Edited: Jun 3, 2015, 10:00pm Top


Curiously, it AGAIN looks to be NONE. (Next week the Horton is out, I wonder how many THAT will reprint?)

There's the Torgersen story, and I will never give one cent to the author*; a Michael Z. Williamson story - who I will never read because sorry, I saw his "Wisdom from My Internet"; and some non-crybaby authors, including some I'm favorably disposed toward (two stories by Nagata, a Holly Black, etc.).

So I probably will end up with it on my shelf when I run across a used copy - but Baen gets no money from me for ANY of The Assholes Who Broke The Hugos.

* I've been a subscriber to Analog for literally longer than Torgersen has been alive; I'm giving serious consideration to canceling my subscription if they keep running Torgersen stories.

Edited: Jun 3, 2015, 10:37pm Top

In poking around the internet looking for the Table of Contents of the Baen, I learned that the "Best American" anthology series is finally adding a "Science Fiction and Fantasy" volume this October:

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, edited by Joe Hill.

So, 2015 is shaping up to bring us SIX "Best of the Year" anthologies:

Best Novellas
Best American

(...and several "Best Fantasy/Best Weird/Best Horror" etc that I don't track in this thread)

Edited: Jun 3, 2015, 10:25pm Top

>65 AsYouKnow_Bob:
Horton is also out this week by the way. The number of Hugo nominated stories in all the already published Best anthologies remains unchanged.

Hah - did not know about the Best American. Great. Let's see how Hill will compare to the rest of the year's best volumes.

Edited: Jun 4, 2015, 10:59am Top

>65 AsYouKnow_Bob:/66 - John Joseph Adams is the real editor of 'The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy' collection. Joe Hill is just the front. It's good to see SF&F join this series 2 years after Infographics, 9 after Comics & 13 after Nonrequired Reading. (Also as Best American doesn't mean Best American, it's just the anthology name, should we expect an American puppy backlash - too many foreigners in our anthologies, etc.)

The Novella Best of is an interesting one as there are a number of small presses who publish novellas separately. Will this give them more visibility or will they be reluctant to see their books re-published here?

Jun 4, 2015, 11:35am Top

>67 Jargoneer:

Best American never meant American only authors in any of the other categories so why would it mean it now? :)

Edited: Jun 7, 2015, 12:14pm Top

Well, I have The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2015 edition (edited by Rich Horton) in hand* (....it's noteworthy that this was a Sunday USPS delivery...) - and waddya know, this collection of the "Best of the Year" sf stories does not contain any of this year's Hugo-nominated stories, either.

Perhaps I've unfairly maligned those fools Correia and Torgersen - it's starting to look like the Hugo nominations really HAVE fallen under the spell of a-handful-of-committed-radical-ideologues -who-are-completely-out-of-touch-with-mainstream-tastes.

It's like a small cabal is controlling the Hugo nomination process....

* which is a neat trick, because the Official Publication Date is still Tuesday, June 9th - - why, it's like I've received a message from the future!!!!

Edited: Jun 7, 2015, 12:31pm Top

In other news, the "Best Novellas 2015 " book - also from Prime - has been put off a couple more weeks; I believe I had seen it set for June 16th?, but Amazon is now saying July 7th.

Here's the TOC, from Prime's webpage:

“In Her Eyes” by Seth Chambers (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2014)
"The Churn: An Expanse Novella" by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
“Where the Trains Turn” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (translated by Liisa Rantalaiho) (Tor.com)
"Yesterday’s Kin" by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
“Claudius Rex” by John P. Murphy (Alembical 3: A Distillation of Three Novellas, eds. Schoen & Dorrance)
“The Things We Do For Love” by K. J. Parker (Subterranean Press Magazine, Summer 2014)
“The Mothers of Voorhisville” by Mary Rickert, (Tor.com, 30 Apr 2014)
“The Lightning Tree” by Patrick Rothfuss (Rogues, eds. Martin & Dozois) Dream Houses by Genevieve Valentine (Dream Houses WSFA/ Wyrm Publishing) -

Curiously, this "Best of" doesn't contain any of this year's Hugo nominees; not even anything by that modern master John C. Wright.

I sense a conspiracy.

Jun 7, 2015, 1:35pm Top

A most prescient conspiracy, considering that all these TOC's will have been finalized before the Hugo shortlists were announced.

Edited: Jun 20, 2015, 11:32pm Top

hmmm...well, THIS certainly does not bode well:

Amazon is now saying that The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015 - having already been delayed from June into July - is now set for January 12, 2016.

I can't imagine the circumstances that would dictate such a change....

It's somewhat reassuring that the Prime Books website now says "Publication Date: August 11, 2015".

Jul 12, 2015, 12:43am Top

The The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015 is out: I saw it in the wild July 9th, bought it, and than canceled my standing Amazon order for it - which is still promising an "August 6th" publication date.

Jul 12, 2015, 12:49am Top

Also seen: a small-press trade paperback called Year's Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013 - which Amazon reports having had a publication date of Feb. 4th, 2015.

(Not sure just where to count that one, as it's about a year late to be a real annual = and might turn out to be a one-off....)

Jul 25, 2015, 4:14pm Top

This year's Dozois is out, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection. (Publication date July 7th, 2015.)

Curiously, none of this year's Hugo-nominated short fiction is included in this volume, either....

Jul 25, 2015, 4:34pm Top

>75 AsYouKnow_Bob:

It's a conspiracy I tell you ... a conspiracy to publish good stories.

Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 12:22pm Top

>75 AsYouKnow_Bob: I've been reading bits of it over the past week. Not really knocking me out. Mostly good stuff but I'm still waiting for a "wow" story.

eta: I haven't been reading this "in order" and bouncing around a bit, but I'm finding myself impressed with this year's collection. I mostly ignored short SF from 2014 so this stuff is all new to me.

Edited: Oct 15, 2015, 7:23pm Top

New this year (published Oct. 6th) is the Joe Hill/John Joseph Adams The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015.

So: I make it as arguably SEVEN "Best SF of the Year" anthologies this year:

Best YA (IF one counts it as "2015")
Best MilSF (too specialized?)

Are we done?

Jan 26, 2016, 9:24pm Top

New for 2016:

Neil Clarke will be editing a new "Best SF of the Year" series ("Vol. I" is announced for June...) for NightShade Books:


May 15, 2016, 2:54am Top

Well, here we are, another year, another season of "Year's Best SF" anthologies.

Here are the seven "2016s" that I know about, with their release dates (...according to Amazon):

May 17th: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten (NightShade, Strahan)
June 7th: The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016 Edition (Prime, Horton)
. . . . . . . . The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One (NightShade, Clarke)
. . . . . . . . The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF 2015: Volume 2 (Baen, Afsharirad )
July 5th: . . The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection (St.Martin's, Dozois)
Aug. 2nd: . The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2016 (Prime, Guran)
Oct. 4th: . . The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 (Fowler/Adams, Mariner's "Best American" series )

No follow-up to last year's "Year's Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013" has been seen....

Oct 2, 2016, 12:01am Top

Over at the File 770 blog, guest-poster Carl Slaughter describes the current crop of "Year's Bests" - including one entirely new to me: The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 8 (Volume 8).

"Volume 8" is available as an actual book (a trade paperback)- but the previous volumes in this series seem to have been released ONLY as audiobooks (on CD and as audio files) - and because I'm a book person, this series never really came to my attention....

Oct 3, 2016, 1:30pm Top

Have we done the "Best of the Best-ofs" joke yet?

Oct 4, 2016, 10:45am Top

Think of the writers. Produce one very good story (or at least one that appeals widely) and theoretically you could sell it 8 times (including the original magazine/book publication).
Personally I'm of the opinion that this is a good thing, it shows that at some level there is still a thriving market for short fiction. There are some very good writers (Robert Reed & Adam-Troy Castro come to mind) for whom the short story is their true medium.

Oct 5, 2016, 8:25pm Top

>82 dukedom_enough: Have we done the "Best of the Best-ofs" joke yet?

I take your point . . . but it turns out, that's actually a Thing:

The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction

The Best of the Best, Volume 2: 20 Years of the Best Short Science Fiction Novels

Oct 6, 2016, 10:20am Top

>84 AsYouKnow_Bob: - Perhaps what we really need is a Best-of-the-Best-of-the-Best and for that to continue until the Best-of-the-Best-of-the-Best-of-the Best-..... is a single story.

Oct 6, 2016, 10:58am Top

"Tell me, Professor - is there a single story that can be defined as THE BEST?"

"There is NOW!"

Oct 6, 2016, 1:40pm Top

"Overhead, without any fuss, the stories were going out."

Oct 9, 2016, 6:34pm Top

>87 dukedom_enough: I was there with you.

Oct 12, 2016, 11:23pm Top

I have recently come across portals of tomorrow the cover promises "an exciting collection of the most outstanding fantasy and science fiction stories of the year..." The year being 1953. I don't see that it continued as a series or that it has been mentioned here yet.

Edited: Oct 14, 2016, 8:10pm Top

Nice find! Thanks.

Wiki describes it as
"Portals of Tomorrow is an anthology of science fiction stories edited by August Derleth, intended as the first in a series of "year's best" volumes. It was first published by Rinehart & Company in 1954. "

Oct 23, 2016, 6:29pm Top

Hey, >89 Diabolical_DrZ: - - thanks for the tip: I just bought a copy of the SFBC edition...

Edited: Oct 13, 2017, 9:29pm Top

Here's what Amazon is telling me about the upcoming 2017 "Year's Best" anthologies:

April 4, 2017 - The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Two (Nightshade, Clarke)
April 18, 2017 - The Best SF & Fantasy of the Year: Vol. Eleven (Nightside, Strahan)
June 6, 2017 - The Year's Best SF & Fantasy 2017 Edition (Horton) *
June 6, 2017 - Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Volume 3 (Baen, Afsharirad)
July 11, 2017 - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection (Dozois)
Oct. 3, 2017 - The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 (JJ Adams & Charles Yu)

(The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas (Prime, Guran) is dead.)

Edited to add:

* June 11th update: Amazon reports that the publication date for the Horton is now given as "January 9, 2018"

Edited AGAIN to add:

** July 10th update: Amazon NOW reports that the publication date for the Horton is now "September 12, 2017" . Sigh.

*** Updated update: as of 7/31, pub date is now 9/19....
**** As of Sept 20: The Horton was supposed to ship yesterday; I checked, and publication has been put off AGAIN - - now to back to January 9, 2018....
*****Horton finally shipped 10/12/17 , in hand 10/13 - and Amazon STILL says that publication date is Jan. 9, 2018

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