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The Year's Best Science Fiction:…

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection (2006)

by Gardner Dozois (Editor)

Other authors: Neal Asher (Contributor), Paolo Bacigalupi (Contributor), Stephen Baxter (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor), Chris Beckett (Contributor)26 more, David Gerrold (Contributor), Dominic Green (Contributor), Daryl Gregory (Contributor), Joe Haldeman (Contributor), Gwyneth Jones (Contributor), James Patrick Kelly (Contributor), Jay Lake (Contributor), Ken MacLeod (Contributor), Ian McDonald (Contributor), Vonda N. McIntyre (Contributor), David Moles (Contributor), Derryl Murphy (Contributor), Ruth Nestvold (Contributor), Steven Popkes (Contributor), Hannu Rajaniemi (Contributor), Robert Reed (Contributor), Alastair Reynolds (Contributor), Chris Roberson (Contributor), Mary Rosenblum (Contributor), William Sanders (Contributor), Bruce Sterling (Contributor), Michael Swanwick (Contributor), Harry Turtledove (Contributor), Peter Watts (Contributor), Liz Williams (Contributor), Gene Wolfe (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dozois Year's Best Science Fiction (23), Mammoth Book of Best New Science Fiction (19)

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428424,653 (3.71)3



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Showing 4 of 4
Another download from the library. Christopher Hurt is the narrator & he's pretty good. Not exciting, but not boring, either. He doesn't try for a lot of odd voices, but does vary enough to keep characters separated & the narrative flowing.

I'll skip to the overall review: I now remember why I cancelled my subscription to Asimov's magazine years ago - Dozois took over as editor. I grew up reading the pulps and prefer fairly short stories, but most of these run long on words, short on insight & innovation, just like Dozois. Any impact most stories could have had was cushioned by far too much padding. There were a few gems, though. It's probably worth skimming down the listing below to find them.

The book starts with an amazingly long & boring introduction, acknowledgments, & summation of the publishing industry in 2005 by the pedantic Dozois. I skipped through a lot of it since the last since it was over 2 hours long, but it was interesting in places. He seems to be writing a text book, something for which I believe he is well suited. He does know the industry & it's players. He takes himself & his work far too seriously to entertain, though.

Each story is preceded by an introduction to the author, in extreme detail including a listing of their books - an almost complete listing, even for those who have dozens to their credit.

--------- The Stories ------------

The Little Goddess by Ian MacDonald was interesting, but several times longer than it should have been. (2 hours) Kind of a neat twist on what we regard as mental illness with a tie between the future & old worlds. Worth 4 stars if it had been shorter, but only a 3 since it was far too verbose.

The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi. I got 40 minutes or so in (about halfway) & we're still setting up the world through trivial actions. I was so bored that I skipped the rest.

Beyond the Aquila Rift by Alistair Reynolds: Wow! Very good & eerie. While it mixes some familiar tropes, it is unique. At 1.25 hours, it was well worth the time.

Second Person, Present Tense by Daryl Gregory was very cool. Earlier this year, I read The Forgetting Pill, which discusses removing painful memories. Couple that with teenage angst & drug abuse. It was about 50 minutes long & made its point well.

The Canadian Who Came Almost All the Way Back From the Stars by Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold was pretty interesting. Again, pretty long (over 50min) but neat, fairly unique ideas.

Triceratops Summer by Michael Swanwick wasn't anything new or special. It's biggest saving grace was that it was one of the shorter stories at 30 minutes. Not bad, but it seemed an amalgamation of stories I've read before.

Camouflage by Robert Reed was fairly good. I've read other stories in this universe, the world ship, with its convoluted politics & myriad life forms. It's OK, but almost 2.5 hours - far too long, IMO.

A Case of Consilience by Ken MacLeod was 30 minutes long & I can't recall a thing about it after a week, even when listening to snippets.

The Blemmye's Strategem by Bruce Sterling was OK, although the alien love interest made no sense at all to me. The time & overall world were kind of interesting, though. It was 1h20m, pretty long for what it contained.

Amba by William Sanders was 1.25h long & pretty good. Another global warming thing, but interesting.

Search Engine by Mary Rosenblum was about 50 minutes long & quite good. The premise isn't new, but has a lot of impact today. She really handled the realities of a chipped & scanned world very well.

Piccadilly Circus by Chris Beckett is a fairly horrifying, inventive future, but was long (45m) & one of the 'surprises' really wasn't. Actually, none of it was after the initial setup. After the first few minutes, I just endured until the author finally got around to the obvious conclusion.

In the Quake Zone by David Gerrold was interesting in a lot of ways, but it was one of the longest stories (4h). I recently read several articles about Kurzweil's predictions & his defense of his record. While arguing about horoscopes seems pointless, his ideas on the acceleration of intellectual technology & the social changes it causes were a major theme of this story. Unfortunately, this story had too many themes. It should have been several different short stories in the same universe, each with its own theme. As it was, they watered each other down.

I'd give this 4 stars just for the world he's imagined. It's the best SF time issue story I've read in a long time & I've read a lot of them over a lot of years. It would really be cool if he edited a book of short stories where other authors wrote stories in this universe. I'm not saying it would be "Wild Cards", but it could come close.

La Malcontenta by Liz Williams was one of the shorter stories (20min) but seemed pretty pointless. Part was the setting. It was retro, but didn't really bring it home.

The Children of Time by Stephen Baxter gives us a glimpses into a dying earth through the eyes of 11 year olds in various future epochs. It was interesting. 3 stars.

Little Faces by Vonda M. McIntyre bored me to tears for 1.5 hours. It failed to work for any of the themes it tried to develop, at least so far as I could tell, but I zoned out fairly frequently. I'd think a theme was developing & then it would get undercut or dropped. Overall, I couldn't have cared less.

Comber by Gene Wolfe was one of the few short stories (20m), but the idea didn't really make any sense. If they were flowing along with so little contact between them, how would they know a foreign place the same as we do? Not a huge deal, but as a vehicle for the point of the story, it felt pasted on. The point wasn't particularly new, interesting, or surprising either.

Audubon in Atlantis by Harry Turtledove has a neat environmental premise & main character, but it's over 2 hours long. The first third of it added nothing to the story besides some background that should have been part of the main story. Who cares that he got seasick? It added nothing, had nothing to do with the main theme, but a lot of words & time were spent on it. Ditto with the other guys sex life, the taxes, & the few days in the city. If the story had started in the small town bar, 75m in & filled in a bit of the background, I would have liked it a lot better.
This story is exactly what I hate about Dozoi's editing. A decent editor would have removed the unnecessary padding, but he seems to thrive on it.

Deus Ex Homine by Hannu Rajaniemi (35m) didn't really make it for me, but was an interesting premise.

The Great Caruso by Steven Popkes (42m) was well worth listening to. Popkes manages to question a lot of assumptions about what constitutes a disease, where science is going, end of life, quality of & purpose of life & did so briefly, but thoroughly. It should be kept around & listened to every couple of decades because it will evoke something different in each of us depending on our age & circumstances.

Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck by Neal Asher (55m) was OK, but didn't really make any good point & I think it was trying, but the only one was too obvious from early on.

Zima Blue by Alastair Reynolds (50m) was interesting in several ways. Depressing? Not sure. I would have liked it better if I was into modern art, but I find it & the art described in the story plain silly. While that detracted from the impact of the story for me, it was still raised some really interesting questions about man & what makes us men.

Planet of the Amazon Women by David Moles (1h5m) was a waste of time. Lots of high-toned math & philosophizing to an obvious end - not even proper mental masturbation.

The Clockwork Atom Bomb by Dominic Green (45m) was pretty good. It is a scary thought & not just what the author wrote about. It is the nightmare we've been living with. If you haven't been, you will after reading this.

Gold Mountain by Chris Roberson (45m) was OK, but the girl was too dense - maybe just young. The end seemed redundant.

The Fulcrum by Gwyneth Jones (1.25h) bleh. There were good points, but too much never made any sense.

Mayfly by Peter Watts & Derryl Murphy (35m) was pretty good. It had a lot of interesting points & a good ending.

Two Dreams on Trains by Elizabeth Bear (19m) was a look at a bad future, art, & priorities. I liked it. 4 stars

Angel of Light by Joe Haldeman (20m) another look into a weird future & how strange people are. 3.5 stars.

Burn by James Patrick Kelly (2h5m) I hadn't planned on listening to this but am glad I did. It's a futuristic take on "Walden" by Thoreau with a few interesting themes running through it, so long as you're somewhat familiar with "Walden", it's good. If you're not, I don't think it would work as well.

Honorable Mentions; 2005 by Gardner Dozois (38m) - a boring listing of stories & authors. I skipped it. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
A very strong collection in this series.

"The Little Goddess" - Ian McDonald 4/5
A girl who grew up as a living goddess in South Asia becomes involved in AI smuggling.
"The Calorie Man" - Paolo Bacigalupi 4/5
Espionage in a future America where most energy comes from genetically engineered plants and animals.
"Beyond the Aquila Rift" - Alastair Reynolds 4/5
A hyperspace jump goes wrong and leaves a ship captain stranded on a distant station.
"Second Person, Present Tense" - Daryl Gregory 4/5
A drug raises questions about the nature of consciousness and identity.
"The Canadian Who Came Almost All the Way Back from the Stars" - Jay Lake 4/5
FTL travel has some unexpected consequences.
"Triceratops Summer" - Michael Swanwick 4/5
A time loop causes dinosaurs to roam through a small town for several months.
"Camouflage" - Robert Reed 4/5
A former captain of the Ship takes on the job of protecting a woman whose husbands are being murdered and discovers many levels of deception.
"A Case of Consilience" - Ken MacLeod 4/5
A missionary attempts to preach to a fungal life form.
"The Blemmye's Strategem" - Bruce Sterling 2/5
In the Middle Ages, an alien manipulates history for it's own purposes. Didn't work for me.
"Amba" - William Sanders 3/5
An American expatriate in a climate-changed Russia learns some disturbing news about the future. Interesting but not great.
"Search Engine" - Mary Rosenblum 3/5
A future PI uses internet search technology that can reveal almost any detail about people's lives and get involved in more than he bargained for.
"Picadilly Circus" - Chris Beckett 3/5
A few actual humans cling to physical existence in a future where most people live in a virtual world superimposed over reality
"In the Quake Zone" - David Gerrold 5/5
Los Angeles is struck by timequakes which move portions of the city several years back or forward in time. An investigator who uses the time shifts to hunt down criminals is assigned to hunt down an apparent killer of young, gay men in the 1960's and becomes personally involved in the case. A very strong story.
"La Malcontenta" - Liz Williams 2/5
Festival-time in a society where the needs for males has been removed.
"The Children of Time" - Stephen Baxter 4/5
The human race persists across the next billion years. A good deep time story.
"Little Faces" - Vonda N. McIntyre 4/5
Political maneuvering in a far future society where males have been engineered into beings that live inside female bodies.
"Comber" - Gene Wolfe 2/5
Towns float on fragments of drifting land. Had no ending.
"Audubon in Atlantis" - Harry Turtledove 3/5
John Audubon hunts for a rare bird in an alternate history where the large island of Atlantis sits in the North Atlantic. Interesting concept, but not much happens.
"Deus Ex Hominae" - Hannu Rajaniemi 4/5
A posthuman attempts to adjust to being a normal human again.
"The Great Caruso" - Steven Popkes 3/5
A nanotechnology accident gives an old woman a beautiful singing voice and terminal cancer.
"Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck" - Neal Asher 4/5
A hunting trip on an alien world goes awry. Good action-adventure story.
"Zima Blue" - Alastair Reynolds 4/5
An artist known for grand artworks incorporating a special shade of blue reveals his reason for using the color at his final event.
"Planet of the Amazon Women" - David Moles 2/5
An agent is sent to a planet where a space-time anomaly has eliminated the need for men.
"The Clockwork Atom Bomb" - Dominic Green 4/5
A UN inspector deals with black hole weapons in near future Africa. A fun story.
"Gold Mountain" - Chris Roberson 4/5
Workers are recruited from America to build a Chinese space elevator. Good alternate history.
"The Fulcrum" - Gwyneth Jones 3/5
"Mayfly" - Peter Watts and Daryl Murphy 4/5
A child's brain is run on a computer and develops at a much higher rate than her body. Good hard SF.
"Two Dreams on Trains" - Elizabeth Bear 3/5
A woman in a class-stratified future dreams of improving the life of her son.
"Angel of Light" - Joe Haldeman 3/5
A follower of "Crislam" finds an ancient SF magazine.
"Burn" - James Patrick Kelly 3/5
Settlers on a planet try to build a culture based on Thoreau's principles, but end up battling the original settlers who fight by setting forest fires. Interesting, but I didn't really buy into the premise. ( )
  sdobie | Jun 26, 2008 |
The latest in a series of excellent collections of science fiction stories.
  Fledgist | Jun 6, 2007 |

This is always the best value for money of the various best-sf-of-the-year collections, if also the most intimidating (I don't seem to have finished last year's). Plenty of stories that I had already read and enjoyed, and several that were new to me - note especially "The Canadian Who Came Almost All the Way Back from the Stars" by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold, "The Blemmye's Stratagem" by Bruce Sterling, "Audubon in Atlantis" by Harry Turtledove, "Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck" by Neal Asher, "Planet of the Amazon Women" by David Moles and "Gold Mountain" by Chris Roberson. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 16, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dozois, GardnerEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asher, NealContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacigalupi, PaoloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beckett, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gerrold, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, DominicContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gregory, DarylContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kelly, James PatrickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lake, JayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacLeod, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McIntyre, Vonda N.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moles, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murphy, DerrylContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nestvold, RuthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Popkes, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rajaniemi, HannuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reed, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, AlastairContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberson, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosenblum, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sanders, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sterling, BruceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swanwick, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turtledove, HarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, LizContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, GeneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tse, EdwinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is a different series from Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (also by Dozois)
Reprinted as The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 19 in the UK.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312353340, Paperback)

In the heart of the new millennium, worlds beyond our imagination have opened up, blurring the line between life and art. Embracing the challenges and possibilities of cyberspace, genetics, the universe, and beyond, the world of science fiction has become a porthole into the realities of tomorrow. In The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty-third Annual Collection, our very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world with such compelling stories as:
"Beyond the Aquila Rift": Critically acclaimed author Alastair Reynolds takes readers to the edge of the universe, where no voyager has dared to travel before---or so we think.
"Comber": Our world is an ever-changing one, and award-winning author Gene Wolfe explores the darker side of our planet's fluidity in his own beautiful and inimitable style.
"Audubon in Atlantis": In a world not quite like our own, bestselling author Harry Turtledove shows us that there are reasons some species have become extinct.
The twenty-nine stories in this collection imaginatively take us far across the universe, into the very core of our beings, to the realm of the gods, and the moment just after now. Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents, including:Neal Asher, Paolo Bacigalupi, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Chris Beckett, Dominic Green, Daryl Gregory, Joe Haldeman, Gwyneth Jones, James Patrick Kelley, Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold, Ken MacLeod, Ian McDonald, Vonda N. McIntyre, David Moles, Derryl Murphy, Steven Popkes, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, Robert Reed, Chris Roberson, Mary Rosenblum, William Sanders, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, Harry Turtledove, Peter Watts, Liz Williams, and Gene Wolfe.
Supplementing the stories are the editor's insightful summation of the year's events and a lengthy list of honorable mentions, making this book both a valuable resource and the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The latest edition of the critically acclaimed annual anthology collects a broad spectrum of outstanding science fiction tales written during the previous year, including contributions by Bruce Sterling, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Ian McDonald, and other talented masters of the genre, along with a recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction.… (more)

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