To read is to journey, and to read science fiction is to venture into a myriad of imaginative and delightful worlds, such as:Robert Reed's fabulous galaxy-circling starship and its fascinating inhabitants, The RemorasThe planet Mercury, where there is more than meets the eye in Stephen Baxter's Cilia-of-GoldTwo very different Hainish worlds--with very different customs--in two knockout novellas by Ursula K. Le GuinA junkyard in Brooklyn that won't stay put in The Hole in the Hole by Terry BissonIn all, this volume presents twenty-three of the finest works of speculative fiction published in the past year, including stories by such diverse and fantastic talents as Michael Bishop, Pat Cadigan, Greg Egan, Eliot Fintushel, Michael F. Flynn, Lisa Goldstein, Joe Haldeman, Katharine Kerr, Nancy Kress, Maureen F. McHugh, Mike Resnick, Mary Rosenblum, Geoff Ryman, William Sanders, Brian Stableford, George Turner, Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams.Rounded out with Gardner Dozois's insightful overview of the year in science fiction and a long list of recommended reading, this volume is the starting point for dozens of delightful ventures into the marvels of human imagination.
Dozois's Year's Best, like any successful representative of a large constituency, sometimes suffers from blandness and inconsistency. As usual, it's oversized�23 stories, nearly 600 pages�and includes a variety of types of SF as well as near-horror, fantasy and humor. Five of the stories are final nominees for Nebulas, and two new ``Hainish'' stories by Ursula LeGuin were nominated for Tiptree Awards; ``The Matter of Segrri'' won. No story here is less than competent and professional; but, with a few exceptions, there is a voiceless sameness in the writing, practically a house style, that over so many pages grows tedious. (Nearly half the stories, by page count, come from the Dozois-edited Asimov's Science Fiction.) A number are flawed (``hard'' SF stories about ``aliens'' that think just like humans) or unremarkable, but these are outweighed by many fine pieces and by standouts such as LeGuin's ``Forgiveness Day,'' perhaps the best story in the book; Eliot Fintushel's ``New Wave''-like ``Ylem''; William Sanders's ``Going After Old Man Alabama'' and Terry Bisson's ``The Hole in the Hole,'' both of which are winning and funny; Katherine Kerr's chilling ``Asylum''; and Michael Bishop's grand and humane ``Cri de Coeur.'' Dozois's intelligently and ably put-together anthology does its stated job as well as any one book or editor could. Even with competition, it would still be the best of the Best. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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St. Martin's Griffin
June 14, 1995
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