Eclipse 3. (ed Jonathan Strahan).

Nicely complements the Strahan/Dozois New Space Opera anthology series, starting with several stories of the contemporary, speculative type.

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Extraordinary Engines : the definitive Steampunk Anthology, ed Nick Gevers pub Solaris 2008

An excellent collection, with only a couple of weaker contributions. A couple are more fantasy than steampunk, but there is high quality writing throughout and a couple of stories that linger (Youmans, Lanagan and Lake) for some time.

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Fast Forward 2. ed Lou Anders, pub Pyr 2008.

As with #1, another handsome collection of short SF from some of the biggest names in SF. Praise especially for making room for the lengthy Rosenbaum/Doctorow story.

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‘Fast Forward 1’ ed Lou Anders, pub Pyr 2007

An excellent collection of short SF. Several made it to the various Year’s Best collections, and a couple of others which were not selected would not have looked out of place. The volume starts well, is strong in the middle, and ramps up to a strong finish.

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We Think, Therefore We Are’ ed Peter Crowther pub DAW Books 2009

Daw and Crowther provide the goods once again, in a pocket-sized collection that manages to 15 almost invariably top quality stories.

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Subterfuge. Edited by Ian Whates, Newcon Press. 2008

Ian Whates latest collection under the NewCon imprint comes in a variety of flavours : paperback, hardback, and special (extra stories!) limited-edition, signed hardback. It is the latter of these reviewed here. And Whates has provided another strong collection, bigger than previous volumes, and worth looking out for. The standard of writing, and the invention in the stories, is almost uniformly excellent, and is strongly recommended

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Celebration. ed Ian Whates. NewCon Press, 2008

This is a good collection featuring some strong stories by many of the biggest names in British SF.

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Otherworldly Maine. ed Noreen Doyle, Down East 2008

The collection successfully brings together a litte bit of sf, a lot of speculative fiction, fantasy, horror and thrillers, but which all work together and which don’t leap out as being stories of that ilk, but simply good stories with a shared setting.

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The Starry Rift. ed Jonathan Strahan, Viking , 2008

The stories are almost without exception an excellent introduction to the genre, covering a wide spread and with something for most readers. If your kids are past the Harry Potter stage, then give them this hefty volume to help them take a step (or rather, a giant leap) in the right direction.

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Wastelands – Stories of the Apocalypse ed John Joseph Adams. Night Shade Books, 2008.

This is a very strong collection. Adams has trawled 25 years worth of high quality SF to put together the volume, and there’s an awful lot of good reading to be had.

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The New Space Opera, ed Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, Eos, 2007.

This has quite simply got to be the strongest original collection in SF in recent years. If you are a regular visitor to Best SF and tend to concur with what I see as being the best in short SF, then this volume is a must have.

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The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, ed George Mann, 2007

Sixteen stories, of which I’d say 8 hit the mark. It’s a collection of fairly traditional SF, eschewing the new speculative, as perhaps might be expected with the authors for the most being well established. The majority of the stories could have been written anytime during the 1990s, making it a good, if safe collection, and a solid start.

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Forbidden Planets, edited by Peter Crowther, DAW Books 2006

Overall, the quality of the stories is high, and a fine collection showcasing primarily British authors, although perhaps just a tad below the quality of last year’s ‘Constellations’.

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Nova Scotia – new Scottish Speculative Fiction, ed Neil Williamson and Andrew J. Wilson. Crescent, 2005

A good mix of SF, alternate history and horror, interspered with some dry humour. It’s a handsome paperback that deserves to do well.

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Mirrorshades : the CyberPunk Anthology edited by Bruce Sterling, (Anchor House, 1986).

A cracking little paperback, which every self-respecting SF reader should have at home. The pbk version I have also features a neat reflective pair of shades (which my scanner totally fails to scan!).

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The Ultimate Cyberpunk edited by Pat Cadigan, (ibooks, 2002)

But, all in all, a bit of a curate’s egg. The early stories, and the final story, don’t quite fit IMHO. And with the lack of a ‘real’ introduction, and story intros, the extra size that this volume offers over ‘Mirrorshades’ hasn’t really be used to the full. A missed opportunity.

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infinity plus two edited by Keith Brooke and Nick Gevers, (PS Publishing, 2003)

A nice volume to have on the shelves, with a wide range of quality content which showcases a wide range of SF, and high production values. The high price and limited print run will restrict the volume to collectors, but as the stories aren’t originals, we can’t complain that the average SF reader is being deprived.

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‘futures’, edited by Peter Crowther, (Gollancz 2001)

This is a handsome hard-back book which would grace any shelf (albeit that the shape of the book will require a deep shelf!). The stories are of high quality, offering a lot of vision, and work together well. A recommended purchase for those of you who haven’t got the stories in their PS Publishing format.

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Charles Stross. Toast – and other rusted futures. Cosmos Books, 2002

An excellent collection of stories. Little in the way of the standard SF tropes – all near-future tales showing an at times pessimistic view of where we are heading as a race and what that will mean for humanity as a whole and individuals on a personal level. Excellent writing and with only two or three exceptions, SF of the highest order.

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The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: the Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology. Edward L. Ferman and Gordon van Gelder (eds). Tor 1999.

F&SF have been producing anthologies since 1952 – annual anthologies for the first quarter century, and every two or three

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