Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rich Horton (Ed)'s "Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009 Edition" (anthology): Annotated table of contents & review

Rich Horton has posted an early a near final version of ToC for next year's edition of his annual science fiction anthology (selected stories first published during 2008). Also on the same link is his fantasy anthology ToC I don't cover in this post.

Where I'm aware of an online version of a story, I provide the link. Links on author name leads to other works by the author. My rating for read stories is in brackets. Where I have a separate post on a story, link on title goes there.

Table of contents (17 stories, best first, unread last).

  1. Rivka Galchen's "The Region of Unlikeness" (A); download; The New Yorker, 17 March 2008; time travel: A story of complicated relationships.
  2. James Alan Gardner's "The Ray-Gun: A Love Story" (B); download from publisher's or author's site; Asimov's, February 2008: A mysterious gadget of alien origin is affecting the lives of a young human couple, besides having a purpose of its own.
  3. Elizabeth Bear's "Shoggoths in Bloom" (B); download; Asimov's, March 2008: In 1938, a US man has stumbled upon a still-living sea-based bioslave artificially engineered by a lost civilization dating from pre-dinosaur age!! He's going to use it against Germans in the coming war.

    Story has parts dealing with black man, white man issues that readers outside US may not find interesting. They also happen to be irrelevant to the story.
  4. [novella] Ian McDonald's "The Tear" (C); Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "Galactic Empires"; space opera: Star faring "panhumans" killing each other, destroying whole worlds, creating new universes, etc. While that's ok for space opera, what bugged me was the sheer abundance of utterly incomprehensible sentences.
  5. Charlie Anders' "Suicide Drive" (C); download; Helix, #7 (January 2008): Complications resulting from extreme environmental crisis, & a European dictator's efforts to build a star drive to get away from earth! I'd read it a long time back, so this description might have missed something (I'd posted a longer description here a little after reading).
  6. [ss] Daryl Gregory's "Glass" (C); download (requires free registration); Technology Review, November/December 2008: A drug trial to increase empathy (by increasing the rate of firing of "mirror neurons" that control it) among the normally non-violent prisoners has turned at least one into a violent one.
  7. Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette's "Boojum" (C); download; Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer (Ed)'s "Fast Ships, Black Sails"; space opera: Monsters, pirates, ...
  8. Paul Cornell's "Catherine Drewe" (C); download; Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward 2", Pyr Books: Mindless jumble of every genre concept, in a steampunk setting.

    English & Russian empires cover not only earth but other worlds of Sol too. An English assassin is out to kill a Russian mercenary on Mars in a way that is meant to make it look like a Russian operation. Then there is an alien AI from another universe, slaves taken & owned by dumb & cruel Russians, ...!!! And, of course, enormous number of sf-sounding gadgets & processes.
  9. Ted Kosmatka's "The Art of Alchemy"; F&SF, June 2008: Not read.
  10. Margo Lanagan's "The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross"; Dreaming Again: Not read.
  11. Robert Reed's "Character Flu"; F&SF, June 2008: Not read.
  12. Will McIntosh's "The Fantasy Jumper"; Black Static, February 2008: Not read.
  13. James L Cambias' "Balancing Accounts"; F&SF, February 2008: Not read.
  14. Peter Watts' "The Eyes of God"; The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2: Not read.
  15. Beth Bernobich's "The Golden Octopus"; Postscripts, Summer 2008: Not read.
  16. Jeff VanderMeer's "Fixing Hanover"; Extraordinary Engines: Not read.
  17. Mary Robinette Kowal's "Evil Robot Monkey"; The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2: Not read.

    Author claims to have posted the 6 minute audio of the story here, but it's probably embedded in HTML using some fancy scripting; I cannot see link in my Firefox.

    Update: Dave Tackett provides an alternate MP3 link in comments below.
[via SF Signal, Jason Sanford, & Bibliophile Stalker]

First published: To be published late 2009.


  1. 2010, 2011 editions of this anthology series.
  2. My best of the year 2008 selections (some online).
  3. "Best new stories of 2008" thread at Asimov's Forum.
  4. Collections & anthologies.
  5. "Best of" lists.


Krishnan said...

Quite informative Tinkoo. By the way, you have been awarded. Come pick it up. Due to some problems with the blogger, could not link.

Dave Tackett said...

Mary Robinette Kowal reading her story "Evil Robot Monkey" is at the end of the podcast Beam Me Up #123 after science fiction news and my reading of "Earthmen Bearing Gifts." It starts 47 minutes into the MP3.

You can download that MP3 Here