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The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018)

by Neil Clarke (Editor)

Other authors: Madeline Ashby (Contributor), Gregory Benford (Contributor), Tobias S. Buckell (Contributor), Maggie Clark (Contributor), Indrapramit Das (Contributor)22 more, Aliette de Bodard (Contributor), Greg Egan (Contributor), Kathleen Ann Goonan (Contributor), Rachael K. Jones (Contributor), Nancy Kress (Contributor), Matthew Kressel (Contributor), Rich Larson (Contributor), Yoon Ha Lee (Contributor), Karin Lowachee (Contributor), Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Contributor), Linda Nagata (Contributor), Finbarr O’Reilly (Contributor), Suzanne Palmer (Contributor), Sarah Pinsker (Contributor), Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Contributor), Robert Reed (Contributor), Alastair Reynolds (Contributor), Kelly Robson (Contributor), Gord Sellar (Contributor), Vandana Singh (Contributor), Peter Watts (Contributor), A. C. Wise (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Best Science Fiction of the Year (3)

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602442,029 (2.75)None
As Earth dies, an architect is commissioned to remote build a monument on Mars from the remains of a failed colony; a man who has transferred his consciousness into a humanoid robot discovers he's missing thirty percent of his memories, and tries to discover why; bored with life in the underground colony of an alien world, a few risk life inside one of the "whales" floating in the planet's atmosphere; an apprentice librarian searching through centuries of SETI messages from alien civilizations makes an ominous discovery; a ship in crisis pulls a veteran multibot out from storage with an unusual assignment: pest control; the dead are given a second shot at life, in exchange for a five-year term in a zombie military program. For decades, science fiction has compelled us to imagine futures both inspiring and cautionary. Whether it's a warning message from a survey ship, a harrowing journey to a new world, or the adventures of well-meaning AI, science fiction inspires the imagination and delivers a lens through which we can view ourselves and the world around us. With The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three, award-winning editor Neil Clarke provides a year-in-review and twenty-seven of the best stories published by both new and established authors in 2017. Table of Contents Introduction: The State of Short SF Field in 2017 A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Holdfast by Alastair Reynolds Every Hour of Light and Dark by Nancy Kress The Last Novelist, or a Dead Lizard in the Yard by Matthew Kressel Shikasta by Vandana Singh Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker Focus by Gord Sellar The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata Shadows of Eternity by Gregory Benford The Worldless by Indrapramit Das Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship by Rachel Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali Belly Up by Maggie Clark Uncanny Valley by Greg Egan We Who Live in the Heart by Kelly Robson A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World by A.C. Wise Meridian by Karin Lowachee The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse by Kathleen Ann Goonan Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee In Everlasting Wisdom by Aliette de Bodard The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon by Finbarr O'Reilly The Speed of Belief by Robert Reed Death on Mars by Madeline Ashby An Evening with Severyn Grimes by Rich Larson ZeroS by Peter Watts The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell Permissions Recommended Reading… (more)
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The good stories in here are great; however, the majority range from meh to DNF. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Aug 29, 2023 |
Thanks to Edelweiss for a review copy of this short SF collection!

Like so many "best of" collections, it's often a grab-bag. Like some, and not so much with others.

Fortunately, there are a number of these I live very much and they all happen to hit the hard SF spectrum for me. Maybe this is just a personal preference and perhaps they were objectively a lot more original and creative than the others. Again, this could entirely be my preference-of-the-moment and not a reflection on the quality of the rest.

Which ones stood out, though?

A Series of Steaks - Vina Jie-Min Prasad - Flesh printing and con-jobs. I was rather amused and thrilled by the scope of this one.

Holdfast - an Alastair Reynolds hard take on Enemy Mine... was brilliant in every way and deliciously hard-core on every level. An easy favorite.

Every Hour of Light and Dark - Nancy Kress - It was an okay treatise on forgeries and time travel. Not my favorite story, alas.

The Last Novelist (or a dead lizard in the yard) - Matthew Kressel - Seemed to have a pretty interesting premise and light tone, but I didn't really get into it too much.

Shikasta - Vandana Singh - Pretty cool biology stuff and exploration tech, but its strength was in the diversity of its intellectual digressions even as they explored a new world and biology... not to mention the interesting AI vs human intelligence.

Wind Will Rove - Sarah Pinsker - This one was probably the most compelling non-hard-SF story of the bunch following a colony that had lost all of the cultures it had brought from Earth, desperately attempting to recreate what they had from memory as they moved forward.

Focus - Gord Sellar - Fairly interesting phone SF... but only mildly.

The Martian Obelisk - Linda Nagata - Building a Mars monument. Cool characters. Colonization. Tragedy :)

Shadows of Eternity - Gregory Benford - Lots of tech, exploration. Decent, pretty creative, wormholes, ancient civs, but mostly all about discovery.

The Wordless - Indrapramit Das - A lot more hard-SF and also quite interesting, dark ending.

Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship - Jones and Muhamad-Ali - Good epistolary short full of conversation and interesting world-building and relationships. I think I liked these characters among the best in this collection.

Belly Up - Maggie Clark - I think I wanted to like this one more than I did based solely on the good pacing, but that wasn't enough in the end. I didn't really connect.

Uncanny Valley - Greg Egan - This one really stood out for me. Residual Human consciousness mixed into an old love story, degraded rights, a murder mystery, and great old Hollywood charm.

We Who Live in the Heart - Kelly Robson - This one was probably my favorite of all the stories. It had a fantastic mix of blow-you-away imagination and worldbuilding, brilliant setup, fantastic characters, great theme, and an even greater twist. I'm going to be looking out for more of her work for sure.

A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World - A. C. Wise - A rather introspective piece on saving parts of the future and remembering the past with a solid science bent and decent characterization.

Meridian - Karin Loachee - This one snuck up on me but it was a nice twist of stowaways and brotherhood. Great worldbuilding.

The Tale of Alcubierre Horse - Kathleen Ann Goonan - Probably my second favorite story in the book, it's like a twist of Pohl's Starburst and a kidnapping and a wild psychology lesson with heart... ending with colonization. I really enjoyed the full storytelling experience with this one.

Extracurricular Activities - Yoon Ha Lee - Young Jedao. Need I say more?

In Everlasting Wisdom - Aliette de Bodard - Lots of station and setting, pretty interesting cultural worldbuilding, but it didn't quite strike any chords in me.

The Last Boat-builder in Ballyvoloon - Finbarr O'Reilly - A twist on stories from a bar with a future history and great atmosphere.

The Speed of Belief - Robert Reed - Machine souls and exploration, more focused on immortality versus waterbags, diplomacy, species-killers, and alternate intelligences.

Death on Mars - Madeline Ashby - Very interesting intersection between a Mars trip and inoperable cancer. This one might stick with me for a while.

An Evening with Severyn Grimes - Rich Larson - An almost Noir feel with high tech hijinx. Lots of great descriptions.

Zeros - Peter Watts - For outright great science, fantastic zombie characters turned cyborgs, existential horror with programming, and the ennui of war, I had to debate with myself whether this one was topping the whole list of short stories. It's truely great and I'm totally a fanboy of this author.

The Secret Life of Bots - Suzanne Palmer - I wanted to like this more than I did. Still, pretty fun to see the underbelly of the workforce. Shame there is so much stratification, but I guess it drives a story.

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance - Tobias S. Buckell - Far future SF that I fairly rocked to. I liked feel of the end. :)


( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, NeilEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ashby, MadelineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benford, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckell, Tobias S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, MaggieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Das, IndrapramitContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Bodard, AlietteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, GregContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goonan, Kathleen AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Rachael K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kress, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kressel, MatthewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Larson, RichContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Yoon HaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lowachee, KarinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muhammad-Ali, KhaalidahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nagata, LindaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O’Reilly, FinbarrContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palmer, SuzanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pinsker, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prasad, Vina Jie-MinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reed, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, AlastairContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robson, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sellar, GordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Singh, VandanaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wise, A. C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGrath, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As Earth dies, an architect is commissioned to remote build a monument on Mars from the remains of a failed colony; a man who has transferred his consciousness into a humanoid robot discovers he's missing thirty percent of his memories, and tries to discover why; bored with life in the underground colony of an alien world, a few risk life inside one of the "whales" floating in the planet's atmosphere; an apprentice librarian searching through centuries of SETI messages from alien civilizations makes an ominous discovery; a ship in crisis pulls a veteran multibot out from storage with an unusual assignment: pest control; the dead are given a second shot at life, in exchange for a five-year term in a zombie military program. For decades, science fiction has compelled us to imagine futures both inspiring and cautionary. Whether it's a warning message from a survey ship, a harrowing journey to a new world, or the adventures of well-meaning AI, science fiction inspires the imagination and delivers a lens through which we can view ourselves and the world around us. With The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three, award-winning editor Neil Clarke provides a year-in-review and twenty-seven of the best stories published by both new and established authors in 2017. Table of Contents Introduction: The State of Short SF Field in 2017 A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Holdfast by Alastair Reynolds Every Hour of Light and Dark by Nancy Kress The Last Novelist, or a Dead Lizard in the Yard by Matthew Kressel Shikasta by Vandana Singh Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker Focus by Gord Sellar The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata Shadows of Eternity by Gregory Benford The Worldless by Indrapramit Das Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship by Rachel Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali Belly Up by Maggie Clark Uncanny Valley by Greg Egan We Who Live in the Heart by Kelly Robson A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World by A.C. Wise Meridian by Karin Lowachee The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse by Kathleen Ann Goonan Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee In Everlasting Wisdom by Aliette de Bodard The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon by Finbarr O'Reilly The Speed of Belief by Robert Reed Death on Mars by Madeline Ashby An Evening with Severyn Grimes by Rich Larson ZeroS by Peter Watts The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell Permissions Recommended Reading

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