Year’s Best Science Fiction, 15th Annual Collection. Gardner Dozois. St Martins Griffin. 1998

Introduction.

This review is a ‘fix-up’ from story summaries written during 1998.

Robert Silverberg. Beauty in the Night.
Originally in : Science Fiction Age, September 1997

Under the yoke of alien oppression, and an unfathomable one at that, Khalid Haleem Burke strikes a single blow for humanity, becoming Khalid the Entity Killer.

Paul J. McAuley. Second Skin
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, April 1997

Espionage on Proteus, and a spy who is deep undercover.

Nancy Kress. Steamship Soldier on the Information Front.
Originally in : Future Histories

Executive making the max use of the infinite volume of information available realises that the Information Age is about to be replaced.

Greg Egan. Reasons to be Cheerful.
Originally in : Interzone April 1997

A childhood brain cancer and subsequent treatment leaves the protagonist in a deep state of depression. 18 years on surgery which involves placing a prosthesis in the brain gives him the facility to choose exactly what he enjoys, and to what extent.

Stephen Baxter. Moon Six.
Originally in : Science Fiction Age

An excellent take on Alternate Histories/Multiverses – six different Moon Landings, including a pipe-smoking What Ho Chaps English version.

Bill Johnson. We Will Drink a Fish Together…
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, May 1997

A bodyguard to an Alien Ambassador travels to Dakota for a family funeral. The Ambassador, Foremost, travels with him, and the pair develop a close understanding.

Peter F. Hamilton. Escape Route.
Originally in : Interzone July 1997

A highly advanced xeno spaceship wreck conceals a wormhole, through which the aliens evidently made their escape to where/when?

James Patrick Kelly. Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 1997

An adult daughter visits her long-estranged elderly father living in the Strawberry Fields (forever) retirement complex. The father’s companion is a bot identical to the daughter in her childhood.

Alastair Reynolds. A Spy in Europa.
Originally in : Interzone June 1997

Espionage on the moon Europa, where a secret lies in the oceans.

William Sanders. The Undiscovered.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 1997

William Shakespeare finds himself in the Americas, writing his plays for a somewhat different audience.

Alan Brennert. Echoes.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1997

A young girl, a musical prodigy due to the gene enhancement her parents opted for, finds herself increasingly plagued by echoes from the other versions of her which could have been created.

David Marusek. Getting to Know You.
Originally in : Future Histories

Wealthy woman visits her sister, living in a subterranean level in an apartment block. She is breaking in an AI domestic servant program, and her sister is a holo-hospicer.

Gwyneth Jones. Balinese Dancer.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, September 1997

A touring holiday in France loses its charms against a backdrop of industrial unrest, homelessness, and a breaking down of barriers between the sexes.

Robert Reed. Marrow.
Originally in : Science Fiction Age, July 1997

A jupiter-sized spaceship, thousands of years old and undergoing an infinite journey hosting untold species, turns out to have something more at the core than was believed.

Howard Waldrop. Heart of Whitenesse.
Originally in : New Worlds

Christopher Marlowe, contemporary of one William Shakespeare, poet/playwright/spy engages in the latter of these to investigate, with extreme prejudice, one Dr Faustus. A frozen Thames and an ice-boat whisk him skiss skiss skiss to a confrontation with…

Michael Swanwick. The Wisdom of Old Earth.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 1997

Posthumans live offworld, occassionally visiting what is left of Earth in the hands of guides such as Judith Seize-the-Day.

Brian Stableford. The Pipes of Pan.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1997.

Longevity, population explosion, and choice, lead to children who remain at a particular age indefinitely. Until…

G. David Nordley. Crossing Chao Meng Fu.
Originally in : Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1997.

Explorers/mountaineers on Mercury find that their journey becomes a more fundamental exploration of self.

Greg Egan. Yeyuka.
Originally in : Meanjin, 56(1).

Universal health care and HealthGuards which can be as small as a ring on a finger. The protagonist, a surgeon, flies into Africa, where such care as far from universal.

Carolyn Ives Gilman. Frost Painting.
Originally in : Bending the Landscape: Fantasy

Galena Pittman flies into North Dakota, in search of her lesbian partner. Thea is in the mountains engaging in landscape art, with others, some of whom are more other than usual.
Published online as a classic reprint by Lightspeed Magazine in 2011 : http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/frost-painting/

Walter Jon Williams. Lethe.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, September 1997

Davout has lost his partner, Katrin in deep space, but still has his sibs and their partners, clones of himself and his lost partner. Whilst clones, each has a definite personality and career, but the clones of his partner are unnervingly akin to the ‘original’ Katrin. In Greek mythology, the Lethe is one of the rivers that flow through the realm of Hades,. Called the River of Oblivion, the shades of the dead had to drink from this river to forget about their past lives on earth.

Geoffrey A. Landis Winter Fire.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction,August 1997

In the city of Salzburg, a seige is underway. One of the victims of the seige tells her story.

Ian R. MacLeod. Nevermore.
Originally in : Dying For It

Gustav, the artist, loses Elanore twice, in order to continue painting. The second Elanore was a ghost – a computer-held persona, indistiguishable from the orginal.

Simon Ings. Open Veins.
Originally in : Omni Online, April 1997

A VR addict dies in an isolation tank, evidently a suicide. But did her suicide also meet the needs of the couple nearby?

Ian McDonald. After Kerry.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 1997.

The protagonist searches for his estranged sister. She has reinvented herself with a completely new family history and personality.

Sean Williams and Simon Brown. The Masque of Agamemnon.
Originally in : Eidolon: SF Online, December 1997.

Greek mythology in deep space and far future.

John Kessel. Gulliver at Home.
Originally in : The Pure Product

Whilst Lemuel Gulliver is off on his travels, his wife and family have more mundane concerns.

Gregory Benford and Elisabeth Malartre. A Cold, Dry Cradle.
Originally in : Science Fiction Age, November 1997

Explorers on Mars stumble on a form of life under the planet’s crust. Leaving for Earth they catch a glimpse of a message from the planet.

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