Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jonathan Strahan (ed)'s "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Five" (anthology, 2011): Annotated table of contents & review

Jonathan Strahan has posted the ToC of the volume, due out in March 2011 from Night Shade Books. Book collects editor's choice of short fiction originally published during 2010.

I do wish he would mark the stories that are clearly science fiction or clearly fantasy, for those of us with limited tastes. No luck here. Some cases are obvious from publisher, author or title; others aren't. My immediate impression is: anthology is highly biased towards fantasy.

Also, I'm now-a-days a lot less enthusiastic about these "best of the year" volumes than I was some years ago. Ones I've tried reading in the last couple of years appear to be full of fillers, with just one or two good stories - if that.

Table of contents (29 stories, best first, unread last).

Links on author, editor, or publisher fetches more matching fiction. If I am aware of an online copy of a story, I include it too. If I've read a story, my rating appears in brackets. If I have a separate post on a story, link on story title goes there.

Note the list is in order of my preference (where I've read the stories), rather than editor's ToC order (unread stories are in editor's order).
  1. [ss] Peter Watts' "The Things" (A); download text/MP3; Clarkesworld, #40 (January 2010); fanfic: A retelling of John Campbell's "Who Goes There?" from the point of view of the alien.

    Also included in my "best of 2010" list.
  2. [novelette] K J Parker's "Amor Vincit Omnia" (B); download; Subterranean Online, "Summer" (July-September) 2010; magic: What's most threatening to authority, government? A citizen who's beyond the government's power to hurt!

    Caution: Initial parts use far too much of ... is it Latin? I don't know the language, but almost gave up. Those funny words cease to be an issue once the story picks up.
  3. Hannu Rajaniemi's "Elegy for a Young Elk"; download; Subterranean Online, Spring 2010: Not read.
  4. Neil Gaiman's "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains"; download; Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio (eds)' "Stories: All New Tales" (read first 4 stories online): Not read.
  5. Sandra McDonald's "Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots"; download; Strange Horizons, 4 October 2010: Not read.
  6. Sarah Rees Brennan's "The Spy Who Never Grew Up"; Trisha Telep (ed)'s "Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love": Not read.
  7. Holly Black's "The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue"; Darrell Schweitzer & Martin H Greenberg (eds)' "Full Moon City": Not read.
  8. Damien Broderick's "Under the Moons of Venus"; download; Subterranean Online, Spring 2010: Not read.
  9. Joe Abercrombie's "The Fool Jobs"; Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders (eds)' "Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery": Not read.
  10. Robert Reed's "Alone"; Jonathan Strahan (ed)'s "Godlike Machines": Not read.
  11. Kij Johnson's "Names for Water"; Asimov's, October/November 2010: Not read.
  12. Theodora Goss' "Fair Ladies"; download; Apex magazine, 2 August 2010: Not read.
  13. James Patrick Kelly's "Plus or Minus"; Asimov's, December 2010: Not read.
  14. Ellen Kushner's "The Man With the Knives"; download; first published as a "chapbook from Temporary Culture" on 3 May 2010: Not read.
  15. Cory Doctorow's "The Jammie Dodgers and the Adventure of the Leicester Square Screening"; download; Shareable, 25 May 2010: Not read.
  16. Elizabeth Hand's "The Maiden Flight of McAuley's Bellerophon"; Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio (eds)' "Stories: All New Tales" (read first 4 stories online - not including this one): Not read.
  17. Margo Lanagan's "The Miracle Aquilina"; Jonathan Strahan & Marianne S Jablon (eds)' "Wings of Fire": Not read.
  18. Pat Cadigan's "The Taste of Night"; download in three parts; Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern (eds)' "Is Anybody Out There?": Not read.
  19. Bruce Sterling's "The Exterminator's Want-Ad"; download; Shareable, 22 June 2010: Not read.
  20. Christopher Barzak's "Map of Seventeen"; Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (eds)' "The Beastly Bride and Other Tales of the Animal People": Not read.
  21. Maureen McHugh's "The Naturalist"; download; Subterranean Online, Spring 2010: Not read.
  22. Sara Genge's "Sins of the Father"; Asimov's, December 2010: Not read.
  23. Geoffrey A Landis' "The Sultan of the Clouds"; Asimov's, September 2010: Not read.
  24. John Kessel's "Iteration"; download; Strange Horizons, 13 September 2010: Not read.
  25. Diana Peterfreund's "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn"; Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier (eds)' "Zombies vs Unicorns": Not read.
  26. Lavie Tidhar's "The Night Train"; download; Strange Horizons, 14 June 2010: I think I've read it; but I don't remember anything of it now.
  27. Ian Tregillis' "Still Life (A Sexagesimal Fairy Tale)"; download; Apex magazine, 4 October 2010: Not read.
  28. Genevieve Valentine's "The Zeppelin Conductors' Society Annual Gentlemen's Ball"; download; Lightspeed, July 2010: Not read.
  29. Rachel Swirsky's "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window"; download; Subterranean Online, Summer 2010: Not read. 


  1. Previous volumes in this series: Vol 4 (2010), Vol 3 (2009).
  2. Competing "best of 2010" anthologies: Dozois', Hartwell/Cramer's, Horton's.
  3. Fiction originally published during 2010.
  4. My "best of 2010" list (links others' lists at bottom).
  5. "Best of" lists; "good" fiction; "good" online fiction.
  6. Works of Jonathan Strahan.
  7. Short fiction anthologies, collections, magazines (only old pulps); all short fiction.
  8. Pre-order at
Note: I normally update list posts like this when I read one of the stories, find a new online link, etc. This post was last updated on 4 December 2010.