The Year’s Best Science Fiction. 34th Annual Collection. (ed Gardner Dozois, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2017).

Currently (March 2018) being read/reviewed.

Lavie Tidhar. Terminal.
First published online on in April 2016 and still online
“Excellent ..a well-written, subtle bit of writing” I noted in my review last year.

Carolyn Ives Gilman. Touring with the Alien.
First publishe online on Clarkesworld Magazine #115, April 2016, and still online.
One of my picks of 2016, a ‘tour de force’ I noted in my review last year.

Matthew Caxton. Patience Lake.
Originally published in Asimovs, August 2017.
A story that grabs you straight away, and keeps you (or at least it did me) reading to the end. Full review here.

Rich Larson. Jonas and the Fox.
Originally published on line on Clarkesworld Magazine, and online here.
Another good story from Larson. There’s a revolution on a planet, and people are dying, families losing loved ones, and the story focusses on one family, and how their loss might help the resistance, albeit in a challenging way.

Gord Sellar. Prodigal
Originally in Analog, December 2016.
Also selected by Neil Clarke in his take on the Year’s Best, so with both him and The Inestimable Mr Dozois also including it in in this volume, clearly my view that it was a little ‘clunky’ might leave me in the minority. Full review here.

Kathe Koja and Carter Scholz. KIT : Some Assembly Required.
Originally in Asimovs, August 2016.

Gregory Benford. Vortex.
Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January/February 2016.
I read it in it’s original magazine appearance and felt it was a bit Analog-y scientist fiction for my liking.

Paul McAuley. Elves of Antartica.
Originally published in Drowned Worlds.
From an anthology of climate change story, and the climactic change in this story is what makes it SF. No elves I’m afraid. But a nicely atmospheric look at humans, and hope in a world we’re slowly messing up.

Ian McHugh. The Baby Eaters.
Originally published in Asimovs, January 2016.
“A short story that doesn’t really go beyond it’s primary premise, and a premise that is flagged up in the title, which rather misses an opportunity IMHO” I said in my original review.

Aliette de Bodard. A Salvaging of Ghosts.
Originally in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195 March 2016, and still online.
‘Diving’ into deep space wrecks is a high risk profession, as Thuy knows only too well. We follow her and the ghost of her mother, herself lost in/to a wreck, as she enters a wreck. Nicely told.

Geoff Ryman. Those Shadows Laugh.
Originally in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2016.
I’m with Dozois in his use of the term ‘ingenious’. Rather than setting this on an alien planet, Ryman posits the finding of an island populated by just women (through parthogenesis). Not really ‘alternate history’ as there are just one or two gentle allusions to how this history is different, as the focus is on a female scientist who gets a rare chance to enter this enclave, and finds herself very much falling in love with the people, and one of them in particular.

Craig DeLancey. RedKing.
Originally in Lightspeed Magazine, March 2016 and still online.
A fast-paced cyberpunk thriller. Both Dozois and Horton chose it for their annual collections, but some 36 years after ‘Burning Chrome’ I’m wanting something a bit more than this offers. It reads a bit like it’s taken from a fairly average hour long TV drama, and the protagonist hides some of his knowledge from colleagues, and from the reader, which I find annoying, then suddenly pulls out the ‘ta-raa’ moment in revealing who the real culprits are, but as we’ve not heard of them before that point, it’s not really a reveal of Agatha Christie standard.

Shariann Lewitt. Fieldwork.
Originally published in ‘To Shape the Dark’.
Not an author familiar to me, although she’s written plenty, under several nom de plumes. And plumes feature in this story (ewwwww what a cheesy link) – plumes from ice geysers on Europa, which took the life of one scientist, and which left her daughter to make the journey back to Earth, scarred from her experience. And now grown up, but still affected by her experience, her own daughter, the protagonist of the story, makes a return trip to the icy moon. It’s well crafted, well written, bringing in more detail about the three women as the story unfolds, and it’s a breath of fresh air not have a story dominated by white male scientists. Very much my kind of SF.

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