Best Science Fiction of the Year 10. Terry Carr, Timescape 1981

Introduction

These story summaries were writting somewhere between 1990 and 1999.

Clifford D. Simak. Grotto of the Dancing Bear.
Originally in : Analog

Prehistoric cave paintings, but is one of the local volunteers more directly connected to the paintings?

Suzy McKee Charnas. Scorched Supper on New Niger
Originally in : New Voices III

Dee, with her genmod cat, Ripotee, are fleeing in the last of the family’s spaceships, fleeing a treacherous sister and her partner in crime. The planet New Niger offers a potential haven.

Michael Swanwick. Ginungagap.
Originally in : TriQuarterly 49

First contact with a spider like race through a black hole. Communication is not easy, and understanding their motives even more so. Abigail is deconstructed, piped through the black hole, and reconstructed on the other side. She is offered a multitude of possibilities.

Philip K. Dick. Frozen Journey.
Originally in : Playboy

Dick ponders once again upon the nature of reality, in this instance using the device of a 10-year suspended animation trip which goes wrong, leaving one unfortunate soul conscious and in contact with the ships computer for that period. The AI attempts to keep him sane through reliving his earliest experiences. When that fails, looking to planetfall is the next resort.

Howard Waldrop. The Ugly Chickens.
Originally in : Universe 10

A researcher finds evidence that the Dodo may have survived a little longer in the Deep South, ah say, may have survived a little longer. But not that much longer. Damn those finger lickin’ recipes.

George R.R. Martin. Nightflyers.
Originally in : Analog April 1980

Far future in which researchers hire a spaceship to seek the legendary Volcryn. The ship’s master has a ghostly presence on the ship, with an even ghostlier presence behind him. This malevolent presence takes a dislike to the crew members, and bad things start to happen. A cross between HAL of 2001, Alien, and Norman Bates.

John Varley. Beatnik Bayou.
Originally in : New Voices III

A slightly different coming of age story, set on (or, more accurately, under) the moon, in which a teenage boy and his personal tutor (much older but also in the guise of a 13 year old), against a backdrop of a controlling AI, sex, gender changes, go their separate ways.

Bob Leman. Window.
Originally in : Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1980

Experimentation with telekinesis and magic spells open up a window on what appears to be an idyllic bygone years cottage. But when one of the researchers makes contact, the true nature of the family living in the cottage is revealed.

Zenna Henderson. Tell Us a Story.
Originally in : Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1980

One in a series of stories about The People. Having crash-landed on Earth, aliens with telekinetic powers struggle to gain a foothold on our planet. In rural America, one group of The People are able to help, and are helped by, a struggling farming family.

Barry Malzberg. The Cross (Le Croix).
Originally in : Their Immortal Hearts

The technocractic state of 2219 allows people to visit hypnotically/VR religious events. One such person begins to find it increasingly difficult to differentiate between virtual and real.

F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre. Martian Walkabout.
Originally in : Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine March 1980

On Earth, as a boy, the Aborigine Kundekundeka fails his rite of manhood walkabout. Many years later, on the planet Mars he is able to absolve this original failure.

James Tiptree Jr. Slow Music.
Originally in : Interfaces

Summary to follow

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