Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection" (2009, anthology): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover image of the anthology titled The Years Best Science Fiction - Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection edited by Gardner DozoisGardner Dozois has posted the ToC of the 2009 edition of his long running series at Asimov's Forum, containing short fiction first published during the year 2008. ("dolphintornsea" posted this updated version later that includes story source information too.)
Caution: Asimov's Forum pages have a tendency to vanish after a while. Don't be surprised to find the link above dead if you are reading this page a few months after my posting date.

Where I'm aware of an online copy of a story, I provide the download link. Link on publisher name yields more stories from publisher; link on author or editor name yields more works of author/editor.

Read stories are ranked according to my preference. For these stories, my rating is in brackets. In case I've a separate post on a story, link on story title goes there.

Couple of observations.

Compared to last year's edition, far fewer stories are available online.

Of the 30 included stories, 16 are from original anthologies, 5 from Asimov's, 4 from F&SF, 3 from Interzone, & 1 each from Clarkesworld & Postscrips.

To me, the most significant sources missing are Analog, Jim Baen's Universe, & Antipodean SF (less well known but consistent in averaging about one really good flash fiction story every 2-3 months, often by an author I'd never even heard of).

Table of contents (30 stories, best first, unread last).

  1. [novelette] Greg Egan's "Crystal Nights" (A); download text from publisher's site, or podcast at Transmission from Beyond (includes downloabable MP3 audio); Interzone, #215 (April 2008): A retelling of Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God". A man creates a fast-evolving micro-cosmos as a computer simulation, but things aren't quite under control...
  2. [novella] Nancy Kress' "The Erdmann Nexus" (A); download; Asimov's, October/November 2008; mysticism: Next evolution in human consciousness has made some people eligible to joint some sort of cosmic uber-consciousness. Story has strong Hindu influences.
  3. Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Gambler" (B); download; Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward 2": A Vietnamese immigrant to US is working for a near-future newsroom, & is not quite cut out for the job.
  4. 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.
  5. Charles Coleman Finlay's "The Political Prisoner" (B); F&SF, August 2008: Description of a violent political purge.
  6. Gwyneth Jones' "The Voyage Out" (B); download; Lynne Jamneck (Ed)'s "Periphery: Erotic Lesbian Futures"; space opera: Description of a prison in outer Sol where the death row prisoners are sent to be electronically transported to a world around a far off star! Has some mildly sexual scenes.
  7. [novella] Alastair Reynolds' "The Six Directions of Space" (B); Story excerpt at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist; Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "Galactic Empires"; space opera, parallel universe: A Mongol dominated alternate earth finds out existence of other earths, & a group embarks on their exploration.
  8. [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.
  9. Jay Lake's "The Sky That Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and Into the Black" (C); download; Clarkesworld, March 2008: Cannot really make out the point of the story.

    Some sort of artifacts of immensely ancient aliens were discovered in asteroid belt some years back, & there was some sort of scandal about them involving the unnamed narrator who's an ex-spaceman. Now the narrator has gone to a lot of trouble to get protection of a Chinese ganglord, but is being persued by someone unidentified.
  10. Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette's "Boojum" (C); download; Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer (Ed)'s "Fast Ships, Black Sails"; space opera: Monsters, pirates, ...
  11. Stephen Baxter's "Turing's Apples"; Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Eclipse 2": Not read.
  12. Michael Swanwick's "From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled"; Asimov's, February 2008: Will not read. I don't seem to have Swanwick receptors.
  13. Ted Kosmatka's "N-Words"; John Joseph Adams (Ed)'s "Seeds of Change": Not read.
  14. Ian McDonald's "An Eligible Boy"; Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward 2": Not read.
  15. Dominic Green's "Shining Armour"; George Mann (Ed)'s "The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 2": Not read.
  16. Karl Schroeder's "The Hero"; Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Eclipse 2": Not read.
  17. Mary Robinette Kowal's "Evil Robot Monkey"; download MP3; George Mann (Ed)'s "The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 2": Not read.
  18. Robert Reed's "Five Thrillers"; F&SF, April 2008: Not read.
  19. Paul McAuley's "Incomers"; Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "The Starry Rift": Not read.
  20. Mary Rosenblum's "The Egg Man"; Asimov's, February 2008: Not read.
  21. Hannu Rajaniemi's "His Master's Voice"; Interzone, October 2008: Not read.
  22. James L Cambias's "Balancing Accounts"; F&SF, February 2008: Not read.
  23. Maureen McHugh's "Special Economics"; Ellen Datlow (Ed)'s "The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy": Not read.
  24. Geoff Ryman's "Days of Wonder"; F&SF, October/November 2008: Not read.
  25. Paul McAuley's "City of the Dead"; Postscripts, # 15: Not read.
  26. Daryl Gregory's "The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm"; Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Eclipse 2": Not read.
  27. [novelette] Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "G-Men"; Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Sideways in Crime": Not read. Others' reviews suggest this might not be of interest to readers outside US; it's alternate US history of 1960s - "about the murder of J. Edgar Hoover during the LBJ administration".
  28. Garth Nix's "Old Friends"; Jack Dann (Ed)'s "Dreaming Again": Not read.
  29. Gord Sellar's "Lester Young and the Jupiter's Moon's Blues"; Asimov's, July 2008: Not read.
  30. Aliette de Bodard's "Butterfly, Falling at Down"; Interzone, November 2008: Not read.
[via Jason Sanford & SF Signal]


  1. 2010 edition (#27), 2008 edition (#25) of this Dozois series; whole series (including "Best of the Best" books).
  2. Jonathan Strahan's "Best SF and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 3": Short fiction first published during 2008.
  3. Rich Horton (Ed)'s "Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009 Edition": Short fiction first published during 2008.
  4. Rich Horton (Ed)'s "Unplugged: The Best of Online Fiction": Short fiction first published online during 2008.
  5. My Best of the year 2008 short fiction list (includes links to more "best of 2008" lists): Short fiction first published during 2008.
  6. My Best of the year 2007 short fiction list (includes links to more "best of 2007" lists, including anthologies published during 2008): Short fiction first published during 2007.
  7. Collections & anthologies.
  8. "Best of" lists.

Fact sheet.

First published: To be published during the later half of 2009 (in July, I think).


Arvind Mishra said...

Hurray ! my friend Ted is also there!!
Ted Kosmatka's "N-Words"; John Joseph Adams (Ed)'s "Seeds of Change"
Would you please read his story and share your comment with us?

Tinkoo said...

I don't have "N-Words". But I have a post on another of Kosmatka's stories lined up for a fortnight now - but other things keep jumping ahead in the queue. Should hopefully appear soon.