Poul Anderson. The Bitter Bread.
Originally in : Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1975
The spaceship Uriel and its crew are doomed to wander space, untouchable. The Absolute Christian Church and its tenets are obstacles which the wife of one on board the ship has to overcome to meet her husband for one last time. Candidate for the least-surprising denouement in short SF.
Hayford Peirce. Mail Supremacy.
Originally in : Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact March 1975
Short which ponders the inverse relationship between delivery time and distance for the mail.
P.J. Plauger. Child of all Ages.
Originally in : Analog, March 1975.
Immortality – a ‘child’ that has been so for centuries, and for whom life remains difficult.
Phyllis Eisenstein. Tree of Life.
Originally in : Galaxy March 1975
An Alien symbiote attempts to gain a foothold on the planet Earth.
Stephen Robinett. Helbent Four.
Originally in : Galaxy October 1975
Sole survivor of AI armada returns to Earth, but is not greeted as the all-conquering hero. Helbent Four struggles to be recognised.
Robert Hoskins. Pop Goes the Weasel.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1975
Having been raised alone in a habitat by robots, a change in circumstances gives Willie and opportunity to understand what has been happening, and a challenge.
Liz Hufford. The Book Learners.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1975.
An alien race take the teachings of the bible somewhat too literally – particularly for those who put themselves forward for prophethood.
Hayford Peirce. High Yield Bondage.
Originally in : Galaxy August 1975
Stranded on Earth, the use of the financial markets proves a means of escape.
Clifford D. Simak. Senior Citizen.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1975
Bleak view on the downside of longevity.
Joan D. and Vernor Vinge. The Peddler’s Apprentice.
Originally in : Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact August 1975
Excellent blending of fantasy and hard -SF. A peddler turns out to be much more than that, and the rural idyll similarly deceptive.
2 thoughts on “Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year Fifth Annual Collection. ed. del Rey, 1976”
Where can I get this book or at least the story Helbent Four? I read this as a kid and really wanted to get it again.
Lots of cheap copies of the book on Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-Stories-Annual-Collection/dp/052506494X