The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 2 (ed Neil Clarke, Night Shade Books 2017)

Previously I’ve bought all the various Year’s Best SF and Best SF&F volumes (and the Nebula Awards volume), but due to space constraints, and the realisation that I’ve got books on my shelves I bought 45 years ago, I’ve decided now to limit by collection building to the venerable Dozois annual collection and the Nebula Awards collection (as I’ve got a complete run of 50 years worth of those and stopping collecting that volume was a step too far).

So, in advance of publication and without having to wait for the volume thudding onto my doormat (or in fact being handed over by the postman as the package was too big to go through the letterbox), here is a listing of what is in Neil Clarke’s second take on the best of the year, a handy counterpoint to Dozois volume, now that the other long-standing SF-only collection, from David G. Hartwell is, like the editor of that series, is sadly no longer with us.

You can further support Clarke by not only buying the book, but buying the book from one of the links on his website to give him the additional benefit of an affiliate link!

Ian R. MacLeod. The Visitor from Taured. Originally in : Asimov’s, September 2016.
– Arguably not that much SF in the story I suppose, but as Scientist Fiction goes, it’s a good read. Full review here.

Rich Larson. Extraction Request. (Clarkesworld #112, January 2016)
– I didn’t read this story in it’s original publication but read it in this volume and liked it enormously. Full review here. Definitely an author to watch.

Karin Lowachee. A Good Home. (Lightspeed, June 2016)
– A subtle story about an android combat Vet in need of a good home. Full review here.

Gord Sellar. Prodigal. Originally in Analog, December 2016.
– A story that I reckon I could have identified as being published in Analog without being told so. Full review here.

Nina Allan. Ten Days. Originally in : ‘Now We Are Ten’, edited by Ian Whates.
– An author I like, but this story which uses a watch with time travel properties to resolve a wrongly hanged murderer in 1920s London didn’t really grab me. The bulk of the story was fine, if you’re into crime/whodunnit thrillers, with the more sfnal elements appearing in just the last few pages.

Lavie Tidhar. Terminal. Originally online on : Tor.com, April 2016 – and still online)
– “..a well written, subtle bit of writing..” I noted in my review when I read it last year.

Madeline Ashby. Panic City. Originally in : CyberWorld, edited by Jason Heller and Joshua Viola.
– A clever, short story from Ashby. The POV is a city AI, who finds cause for concern from above, and whose anxiety levels increase as a maintenance guy heads off to sort out the issue. As the narrative progresses we find out more about the backstory, which leads to a dramatic conclusion.

Sam J. Miller. Last Gods. (Drowned Worlds, edited by Jonathan Strahan)
– Another strong story by a new author I’ve been impressed with. Full review here. You’ll see if you scroll down the page, that Miller gets another story in this volume.

“HigherWorks” by Gregory Norman Bossert (Asimov’s, December 2016)

“A Strange Loop” by T.R. Napper (Interzone, January/February 2016)

“Night Journey of the Dragon-Horse” by Xia Jia (Invisible Planets, edited by Ken Liu)

“Pearl” by Aliette de Bodard (The Starlit Wood, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe)

“The Metal Demimonde” by Nick Wolven (Analog, June 2016)

“The Iron Tactician” by Alastair Reynolds (Newcon Press)

“The Mighty Slinger” by Tobias S. Buckell and Karen Lord (Bridging Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

“They All Have One Breath” by Karl Bunker (Asimov’s, December 2016)

“Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, February 2016)
– A post-Collapse story – “a look at just how tenuous fame and wealth can be…” – online here.

“And Then, One Day, the Air was Full of Voices” by Margaret Ronald (Clarkesworld, June 2016)
– I was impressed with “..it’s structure, mix of human and societal analysis, and an altogether different type of First Contact..” – online here

“The Three Lives of Sonata James” by Lettie Prell (Tor.com, October 2016)

“The Charge and the Storm” by An Owomoyela (Asimov’s, February 2016)

“Parables of Infinity” by Robert Reed (Bridging Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

“Ten Poems for the Mossums, One for the Man” by Suzanne Palmer (Asimov’s, July 2016)

“You Make Pattaya” by Rich Larson (Interzone, November/December 2016)

“Number Nine Moon” by Alex Irvine (F&SF, January/February 2016)
– “..humanity pulling in on itself, a turtle withdrawing it’s head into it’s shell (Irvine’s imagery), and it’s a good read…” – Best SF Review

“Things with Beards” by Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld, June 2016)
– “..another strong story from Miller..” Best SF review

“Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts” by Ken Liu (Drowned Worlds, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

“Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld, April 2016)
– “..a tour de force..” Best SF Review

Hmm, having written this up, I’m now wondering if I should really buy the volume…

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