How could it be otherwise? For every Frodo, there is a Gandalf For every Dorothy, a Glinda What would Harry Potter be without Albus Dumbledore Figures of wisdom and power, possessing arcane, often forbidden knowledge, wizards and sorcerers are shaped - or misshaped - by the potent magic they seek to wield. A walk around the block, a quick drive, before shutting down your PC? This first volume of Favorite Science Fiction Stories features "the best of the best" from the Golden Age of science fiction.
Weinbaum, Philip K. A group of mountain climbers, caught in the dark, fight to survive their descent; in the British countryside, hundreds of magpies ascend into the sky, higher and higher, until they seem to vanish into the heavens; a professor and his student track a zombie horde in order to research zombie behavior; an all-girl riding school has sinister secrets; a town rails in vain against a curse inflicted upon it by its founders; and much more.
From early work like "Rescue Party" and "The Lion of Comarre", through classic stories including "The Star", "Earthlight", "The Nine Billion Names of God", and "The Sentinel" kernel of the later novel and movie A Space Odyssey , all the way to later work like "A Meeting with Medusa" and "The Hammer of God", this comprehensive short story collection encapsulates one of the great science fiction careers of all time. We have always fought. War is the furnace that forges new technologies and pushes humanity ever onward. We are the children of a battle that began with fists and sticks, and ended on the brink of atomic Armageddon.
Beyond here lies another war, infinite in scope and scale. But who will fight the wars of tomorrow? The latest in a series that has been called "a must for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and short stories in general". Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine. Fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has sifted through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the most engaging science fiction and fantasy to thrill and delight readers.
Benedict, Tobias Buckell, C. Cooney, Indrapramit Das, Samuel R. There were some excellent stories. Story quality uneven and most seemed to end just as the rising action was starting were these opening chapters from unpublished novels? Seems like very poor short stories to me. Very very Disapointed. Not worth the credit. I listened painfully through several muddled, confusing, and in one case - downright awful stories.
Slow and often drifting in the beginning few stories. The epilogue seemed like a rant rather than a summation of the year in Sci-Fi. These are just twisted lesbian stories for the most part. Belong in a different category, not sci-fi. I felt that in general the stories were a bit forgettable. Obviously it's just my opinion and it's not fair to all of them. Your audiobook is waiting….
By: Jonathan Strahan - editor. Length: 26 hrs and 46 mins. People who bought this also bought Heinlein, Arthur C. Bruno, Felix R. The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke By: Arthur C. Publisher's Summary The latest in a series that has been called "a must for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and short stories in general" Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine. Unfortunate, but there it is. And while the whole story is comedic, it still manages moments of insight: "Because that's what people do, whenever some powerful new thing comes along.
If we'd all been born in darkness and someone invented the Sun, the first we'd know about it was when someone used it to burn his way into the First Consolidated Bank. A near-future bombshell, it tells the story of a cyborg whose battle software goes haywire. Since the software works off human instincts before they can even reach conscious thought, where is the guilt or blame in actions taken with "preconscious intent"? The story explores how our emotions play into our definition of morality, and how in some ways our humanity dictates our definition of morality.
I still can't get the ending out of my mind. It's thinking it makes some kind of difference if you look into someone's eyes when you kill them. But these teenage girls decide to do a little magic to see if they can contact their mothers. It's hilarious and creepy and bittersweet and incisive all at once: "This is one problem with having another set of parents. A dotted outline of parents. For every time your parents forget to pick you up from soccer practice, there is the other set that would have picked you up.
It's just pure, straightforward fun, a heist with a twist that takes place in an imaginative alternate New Orleans where manual labour is done by the zombies. It's both comedic and suspenseful, with a delightfully tongue-in-cheek irony that was almost Oscar Wildean Wildesque? Weaving together themes of culture clash and loneliness, marriage and language, it is as soothing and thoughtful and airy loneliness and space and marriage, culture clash, building language, as soothing and remote as a zepplin ride in the sky.
Even so--and most unusually for me-- there were no stories in the collection that I actively disliked. Every story in the collection is unique, and the sheer variety of the collection kept me engaged. Although perhaps rather too many of the writers were familiar to me, I found several new authors for whom I'll definitely be on the lookout. Thank you! The rest is over at BookLikes. I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Usually, collections of short stories are hard for me to rate, as they always contain the good, the bad and the ugly, so to speak.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 9
This time, I can say this was a different experience. There's no story in here I didn't like at all: at worst, I was slightly indifferent, and only to a few of them. Not the easiest story to get into at first, due to its writing style, yet this style then contributed to keeping me me enthralled all the way. However, his own child isn't dead yet Fairly enjoyable. The story of Santa toys, from their manufacturing to how they get rediscovered much later, their harshness-denouncing journey made creepier due to these being "jolly" toys.
Both very nostalgic and full of hope for the future. I would've liked it to be a little clearer on this latter part, though. The apparently ineffective spell gives them what they want However, the plot wasn't really defined. Not a bad story. Conclusion: A recommended read. A few of the stories lacked a properly defined plot and punchline, but this is something that was much more pronounced in other anthologies than this one. When I write "punchline", I don't mean "the most original one in the world" Leaving things too open-ended in short stories always seems weird to me.
View all 3 comments. Apr 22, Margaret rated it really liked it Shelves: short-stories , science-fiction. Jakub and Mara, father and daughter, struggle with the grief of loosing their wife and mother, while Mara herself is dying of cancer. But Jakub has an idea and creates a robot that looks exactly like Mara, infusing Mara's memory and personality into the robot.
That way, when Mara dies, he'll still have family. Jan 27, G33z3r rated it it was amazing Shelves: ebook , sffshorts-challenge , favorite. Really amazing story of "sideways immortality" through technology. Thoughtful and sad. View 1 comment. Mar 17, Andreas rated it really liked it Shelves: , reviewed , science-fiction. SF golem for "sideways immortality". I outsourced short story reviews to my bookblog because GR doesn't handle shorter works well enough.
Merged review: If you are curious reading a complete review of all contained stories in this anthology, go to my Blog , or simply follow the links below. But he doesn't exactly reach this target: Many of the SF stories are near future, many of the authors seem to have a kind of subscription for a SF golem for "sideways immortality". But he doesn't exactly reach this target: Many of the SF stories are near future, many of the authors seem to have a kind of subscription for appearance in his annual anthology.
He could have chosen different authors from all over the world stretching the known comfort zone a bit. On a personal note, I didn't like the inclusion of horror stories at all - I don't like them or even hate them. It would be fair at least to mark the story's genre such that I could simply skip them. Having said that, there is something in it for everyone, and there are a couple of very good stories. But completely misplaced in a "Best of SF and Fantasy". This one I couldn't connect and I simply skipped pages. Not worth reading for people like me.
She gathered a list of last things to do, most importantly remembering her friend for the generations to come. These are some of the best stories in both genres. For me, anthologies are the BEST. They give me not only the chance to enjoy works by familiar and well loved authors, but also to meet new authors whom I may come to love. From magical realism to the just plain weird, this collection of stories is quite good. The reason for the three stars? Many of these authors seem to show up every year.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8 book review
Also, why is there so much Horror?? This is supposed to be about SciFi and Fantasy — the horror stories seem much more fitting for a horror anthology. Overall, the stories are good — but the overabundance of horror turned me off. I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Mar 18, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: sci-fi , fantasy.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve
In the first place, because it collects a lot of wonderfully diverse material. The same is true of the approaches taken across the anthology toward those topics. There are some excellent character pieces, an author diving in to explore their protagonist, what makes them tick, what drives them. The tone across these is wildly different K. To be fair, some of the stories worked a little better for me than others; some of the pieces seemed to tie fantasy up with magical realism, and it was at once eminently readable and entirely baffling.
In any event, the collection presents a great many stories across a wide breadth of areas within the genre. And all of them are well written, and many of them are enjoyable a few seem to have been written purposely to not be enjoyable, per se, and they succeed admirably. Sep 24, Shira Glassman rated it really liked it Shelves: sff-speculative , jewish , artificial-intelligence. This is a really deep story that I had to get my spouse's help to decode because it's Book Club material, the kind of thinky stuff that keeps peeling off in layers the more you talk about it.
The one deep structure I got out of it was in one of the scenes after the human girl has passed away, I was suddenly reminded of the way that I feel changed, as a person, by the deaths in my immediate family. Maybe the new Shira typing this review is the clone because the old Shira ceased to be when people I loved left us. So are there really two Maras, or --? Because Mara's mother is dead, so it's possible to read it on that level. My spouse's interpretation has far more logic to it, though.
Mara was never allowed to light the Shabbat candles despite being the woman of the house in her mother's absence, because she wasn't old enough. She never gets to do that, because the clone gets to do it for "her" first time instead once the human Mara is dead. This scene moved me deeply but I assumed it was because Shabbat is a big deal to me. My spouse suggested that the point of the story is that the father, selfishly, did not allow the human Mara to complete her story--not letting her go, and not even letting her light the candles before she died.
That he, narcissistically, wanted her story to go a certain way, controlling both girls' lives unjustly. It's high quality but the missing star is because this is one of those stories where you really feel that to be a Jew is to suffer not only your own antisemitic microaggressions but also the pain of what your ancestors went through--in this case, the father was raised by his dysfunctionally-married Shoah-survivor grandparents, so his being fucked-up can be traced back directly to persecution.
This is certainly something we deal with and the author dealt with it with skill; I just often prefer another direction. So it's more of a taste star than a quality star. If I was basing this on quality alone, sure, five stars. Part confusion, part bafflement, mostly just all right. Featuring: A Caitlin Kiernan story not about psychosis only joking. A Kelly Link story I actually understood the meaning of. View all 4 comments. A decent anthology of the year, though I don't agree with all it's choices. Also, I noticed an awful lot of stories feature girls, tween or younger. Is this a trend?
In the near future, Mara, a young girl yet another! Her father, Jakub, constructs an artificial body and plans to use a friend's brain scanner to upload Mara in A decent anthology of the year, though I don't agree with all it's choices. Her father, Jakub, constructs an artificial body and plans to use a friend's brain scanner to upload Mara into a new body. What's different here is that usually it's a transfer, not a copy.
So you end up with two Mara. Jakub decides to rename the copy Ruth to avoid confusion. The ballet references stem from Mara's late mother's career as a ballet dancer. It's interesting that Mara would watch videos of her mother performing Coppelia, a ballet about a doll brought to life. Jakub initially presents the idea of the duplicate as his present to Mara.
Mara looks at the copy and is horrified. Eventually, Mara agrees, but she thinks of it as her gift to her father instead of the other way around. So we have two tweenaged Mara. The original resents her copy. After all, even if it is a perfect copy, Mara's still the one who's dying. Is having a copy any consolation?
Jakub is forced to deal with both his daughters, trying to console and care for his dying invalid daughter while still parenting for the replacement. Now that she's got a healthy new body, what does she feel for her original? After Mara eventually dies, Ruth gets renamed Mara, completing the replacement. An awesome story that explores the concept of self from an interesting new perspective. Great story from Upgraded. I really liked the story. An after action report when a cyborged soldier kills a group of civilians turns into a discourse on morality, ethics, and right and wrong.
The story centers on a cyborg soldier who's reactions have been enhanced with circuits that predict what her human brain would have decided if it had time to think about it. Just what kind of morality results when you remove empathy, compassion, and guilt? It was interesting reading her take on science fiction.
Advanced bio-mechanical devices are available to improve the lives of the injured as well as to enhance pretty much anyone. Some entrepreneurs have given a poor South African girl, Pearl, prosthetic legs to replace limbs she lost in an accident. They are taking her to a big showcase race in Pakistan. But soon quite apparent her benefactors are far more interested in demonstrating and selling their fancy biotech than in Pearl's welfare. She is very lucky. She knows this because everyone keeps telling her.
It's an interesting discourse on the exploitation of the poor and sick or injured in conducting medical experimentation. The only character with any depth is Pearl. Her "medical team", managed by entrepreneur Tomislav and inventor Dr. Arturo, are pretty much the classic smooth-talking, self-serving exploiters. Pearl, on the other hand, is the tragic, manipulated little girl at the heart of the story. Her personality, on the other hand, isn't very deep either.
She's clearly in the thrall of her mentors, without many outside thoughts of her own. It's also interesting to compare Pearl to a real-world South African who also races with artificial legs Pistorius. Also, another real South African physician, Christiaan Barnard, perform the world's first heart transplant , once explained how he found his first patient for the experimental operation thusly: " For a dying man it is not a difficult decision because he knows he is at the end.
If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water, convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side. Going to have to find a new name for this anthology I first read this one in Lightspeed last year. Liked it then, liked it now. There's a linear story being told, about a girl runs away from home by stowing away her smuggler-uncle's spaceship, but each chapter in the story is introduced by a "rule" about to be illustrated many of them quite situation-specific.
The structure as a sense of amusement and makes the overall story light not that the story is especially deep, but it does have an awful lot of people getting killed, often by evisceration. When Centurions were dispatched to discipline the Charkazaks, they fought back with such viciousness that the only way to keep them from overrunning the galaxy was the obliteration of their planet and all the Charkazaks on it. It put me in mind of the old Vietnam War era remark, "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it. We're used to seeing 2nd-person in these advice column type lists.
The explanation of each rule goes on a little longer than your typical, "five ways to save money," column, but it's a familiar use of the PoV. Sipani is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, full of Rogues which was the title of the anthology where this story first appeared. Over the course of a few hours, the curious Package passes from hand to hand as villains, knowing and unknowing, steal it from each other in a relay race through the these quarters.
Along the way, we meet almost every type of dishonest fantasy archetype, from the lowest street urchin to the noble drunkard to the ruthless crime boss. Each in his or her turn gets a brief personality sketch, definitely provided in thought and action. Lighthearted in structure more than execution, it's just a fun story to read. Nothin' wrong with that. Also reminds me again how much I'm going to miss Subterranean.
I'm also really getting to like KJ Parker, and luckily have quite a nice backlog of his books to look forward to reading! I rather enjoy its cynical take on the world, " If we all been born in darkness and someone invented the Sun, the first we'd know about it was when someone used it to burn his way into the First Consolidated Bank. A more conventional version of that quote would be, "If we all been born in darkness and someone invented the Sun, the first we'd know about it was when someone used it to sell porn.
First off, it's very short and to the point. Has said, it's for quick scenes describing the lifecycle of the Christmas gadget, one of those pieces of holiday knickknacks that spend most of the year in a storage box and get hauled out for couple weeks in December. In this case it's a talking Santa Claus that connects to the Internet and uses facial recognition to wish you a Merry Christmas by name!
Which is cute in its own right. I like the opening section, describing two employees working to paint Santa. One finds the repeating "Ho Ho Ho Both are racing to meet their quotas under threat of losing their jobs. Even though it's only one page, I found I liked the character. Then we switch to a shipping dock where another employee is racing against automation to protect his own job in loading the talking Santas onto a cargo ship. A casual and thoughtless purchase of an object our previous characters had worked so hard to create.
And yet the buyer it is also trying hard to conserve money and get home in time for the holidays. The final vignette jumps to the future in a landfill, where scavengers look for useful metals following the apparent collapse of civilization. As a anti-waste story, I found it very effective in a compact style. A young girl again with the young girls! I like the cataloging of everyday events, from watching a sunrise to smelling wildflowers to smelling the lighter fluid on a barbecue grill.
At first we don't actually know why Corry is saying goodbye, which works well to add interest to the character and her situation. They meet, pal around, and eventually go their separate ways when it comes time to decide if the Earth or Moon is really their home. Then, strangely, they never seem to communicate again, even though their past friendship continues to affect their lives. Basically a character story, though set in a future lunar sci-fi environment it seems reasonably well-developed behind the scenes.
I found it likable enough.
Interesting choice of title, might make one think it's a fantasy story. I was promised dragons! Basically a futuristic extension of current pharmaceutical efforts, except unlike drugs, actual brain implants are not subject to going off your meds. It's a little reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange , among other works. The narration is in 1st person of the serial killer, and is occasionally confusing because the narrator has two conflicting identities, the killer and the implant-corrected personality seem to both exist inside his brain.
Question: would it be more ethical to not offer the option, making incarceration the only possible result? The moral component of the option is similar to an offer of parole on condition of chemical castration of rapists or sometimes child molesters. Several countries and a handful of US states have such options in their laws. In the future, drones can be used for a variety of tasks besides annoying neighbors, and there are whole libraries of pre-programmed activities they can undertake, including reacting to anticipated changes in their surroundings.
Natalie is an expert in improvising such activities, usually for emergency services. She gets coerced into aiding some criminals in one of those elaborate, masterminded super heists like we see in the movies. Possibly the plot for "Oceans 15" or "Mission Impossible 5". In the context of this future technology, Egan gets to postulate on use of drones not just for rapid delivery and surveillance, but also for potential crimes such as theft.
Discounting that arch-criminal "Lewis" and his co-conspirators seem to have remarkable prescience in setting up their complex caper, the story unfolds predictably.
It provides a scaffold for Egan to imagine various uses for drones, and introduce some paranoia about a future of drone surveillance, theft and assault. Not exactly a heavyweight story, but there is some actual science interleaved with the action and overall it's likable enough. Not sure I buy Nadine's remorse at the death of the engineers and bodyguards. What did she think would happen when she set the forest around them on fire?
This second entry is also a tragedy about an abused young girl. I'm beginning to sense a theme here This anthology is going to be a depressing read. Alanie had never seen a Kraken, but she heard them singing; or at least thinks she did. After Alanie's father's fishing ship is sunk, his young daughter thinks the Kraken sing advice to her. Her mother takes up with another man who can afford to care for them, though her new step dad has eyes for the young daughter, and mom is too timid to intervene.
Alanie makes for a sympathetic protagonist, then I think it's probably hard to make an abused child unsympathetic. For some reason the opening scene, Alanie selling oysters and not making enough money, put me in mind of Andersen's Little Match Girl. Another really depressing story. The story plays out easily enough. Mar 25, Daniel rated it it was amazing.
It tends to favor the longer length of novella over shorter works, a factor that I'd a priori consider a major strike against. I'm not a huge fan of novellas, but there are certainly cases where they work exceptionally well for my taste. Most of the ones in this anthology do just that. As I write the paragraphs that follow I realize that a lot of the stories also tend towards the darker side, particularly the fantasy. The six stories that volume 9 begins with are all superb, representative of the quality and variety to come.
I had already enjoyed both Ken Liu's story and an earlier print original? Kelly Link's beautiful story is part urban fantasy and part fairy tale on family and friends set at Christmas. Similarly, Bacigalupi's story is a fantasy hailing from the same original themed collection, but this one unlike Link's is full of a darkness, a broken world, that I'd expect from him. Used to the SF stories I've normally seen from him though, this was a nice change done just as well.
I really need to read Monstrous Affections it seems. I'd already also read the latter story by Alice Sola Kim in Tin House that was reprint in Monstrous Affections too, and it is equally superb, though grounded in realism. I have MITs Technology Review fiction issue on my shelf to read, and experiencing Beukes' story from it in Strahan's anthology makes me more eager to get to it. The hard sci fi from her in this story is superb, featuring competitive sports and artificial enhancements taken to the next level. The tech is interesting here, but the humanity and depth of her protagonist is even more astounding.
Among those opening six, Usman T. Malik is yet another that blew me away with its effective treatment of terrorism and violence from a large scale focused down to the personal human level. This one just won a Stoker Award, and understandably, it is perhaps more horror than SF - and I recognize Malik mostly from appearances in Nightmare Magazine. Malik has another really powerful story in the themed collection Truth or Dare, that I'm reviewing next up. If you haven't checked out his fiction yet, try either of these recent reprints.
A latter story by Nix previously read in Fearful Symmetries also is truly horror in genre, though also a great story. I remember it vaguely from reading prior, but I think I enjoyed it this second time round even more. The vague disbelief that I was so thoroughly enjoying these relatively long stories without growing restless or annoyed that I couldn't finish in a bus ride finally broke with the seventh story, Abercrombie's adventure from the Rogues collection.
I have no idea if this is the case, but it felt as though I was supposed to already know these characters from somewhere, and I found it difficult to get into. Ultimately the story just kept going and I was long past caring. Swanwick's story later from the same collection had the same effect.
Egan's also felt as though it was just a part of something larger, not a tale of its own.
Valentine and Griffith have a pair of stories that have a sort of ephemeral fantasies that have a beauty in the language but a strong tinge of darkness in their plots and ambience. I read this one right before going to sleep one night and it made a fantastic bed time story. Lastly, there were a few cases that surprised me, both negatively and positively. Abercrombie was kind of one too given that I loved the only other thing of his I've read: Half a King. First, the story by Wilson is on an important and relevant theme of racial issues, explored partially through a fantastic lens.
I expected to adore it and be moved. Instead I found the structure and length to be an impediment. Second, Ellen Klages is represented with two stories here, I found this surprising, inexplicable. One would have sufficed and given room for something else. I didn't find either bad, but neither impressed me to understand why both were here. Third, I really enjoyed Schroeder's SF adventure. I haven't liked a lot of his stuff in the past in Analog, but this is probably because they were mostly serials. Here it felt just right, and his strength in telling a good story with hard SF elements and a bit of optimism fit perfectly amid the other types of stories in the collection.
They vary from the simple entertainment to the literary, from the fantastic to the realistic. Although I'd read a decent number of those included in this before, almost all that I had if not all were ones that initially had really impressed me. The only ones not already mentioned above are "Someday" from Asimov's and Theodora Goss' story, which is a fantastic achievement in making a compelling story out of something that reads like a nonfiction, a history. I appreciated reading all these stories a second time, affirming to me that anthologies are useful even if you've read the fields somewhat well.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this from Solaris via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Jan 21, John rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction , short-form , fantasy , fiction , published. It's hard to go wrong with a Best of the Year anthology. No reader will like every story equally, but there are rarely any clunkers.
Every story here is excellent in some way. Beautiful, elegant, evocative, perfect prose, like everything Kelly Link writes. YA space opera. Adventure, danger, wonder, daring, with some nice twists along the way. Light on its feet, clever, twisty, fast-moving. A delight. Garth Nix, "Shay Corsham Worsted. High tension from start to finish. Dread inexorably builds to a powerful climax. Michael Swanwick, "Tawny Petticoats. Set in a fantasy New Orleans with zombies and pirates. Fine diction, lots of fun. Eleanor Arnason, "The Scrivener. Deceptively simple style, charming voice, a few twists, an amusing and fiercely honest finish.
Jul 15, Wealhtheow rated it liked it Shelves: sci-fi. Mara is eleven, the child of talented immigrants, and quickly dying of cancer. Her father, a gifted engineer, has gotten access to a military prototype android. He begs her to let him copy her brainwaves onto it, to give her a version of herself that will be healthy and immortal.
Mara is horrified at the idea of being replaced, but eventually gives in, wanting to give her father one last gift. The android version of Mara is identical in every thought and memory, but she avoids the "black hole" o Mara is eleven, the child of talented immigrants, and quickly dying of cancer. The android version of Mara is identical in every thought and memory, but she avoids the "black hole" of death that Mara is being sucked into.
Beautifully told, and I liked the tension between human! Mara and android! There are other cool sf concepts in here, like "attic space," a virtual reality where Mara learns and talks to friends.