Year’s Best Science Fiction, 19th Annual Collection. Gardner Dozois. St. Martins Griffin, 2002


Introduction.

Is it really a year since the last Dozois’ Year’s Best?

Last year’s volume was a departure for me, as it was the first one I had read having had read a fair amount of magazine SF in the year it covered. Last year I read every story in Asimovs, Analog, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Interzone, and Spectrum SF, and as a result I was familiar with the majority of the content in this volume. However, I hadn’t been reading Ellen Datlow’s excellent SCI FICTION, and hadn’t read the two major original anothologies, Redshift, or Spectrum3, so some of the stories were new to me. However, as Robert Silverberg had sneaked in his Year’s Best volume some months ago, I had read some of those in that slimmer volume.

So I shall go through the stories in the order they appear in the anthology, reproducing my reviews from when stories originally appeared, with a few additional comments on the way, and a conclusion at the end.

Ian R. MacLeod. New Light on the Drake Equation.
Originally in SCI FICTION, May 2002

A classy story. Tom Kelly is an ageing, eccentric, alcoholic scientist. He is spending his declining years in a remote part of France, high in the mountains, persisting in his lifelong passion. That passion is SETI, and he is one of only a very, very few for whom the search of extra-terrestrial life remains important. The rest of humanity are more inward looking, using genetic modification and drugs to explore their inner selves.

Actually, Kelly’s listening equipment is not his only obsession – the other is the love of his life, Terr, with whom he had a passionate, deep relationship in his early twenties before her urge to move on proved too much for her to resist. High up in the mountains he ponders Drake’s Equation, that which is used to estimate the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. He has an encounter/absinthe-fuelled epiphany, when Terr returns, and forces hims to address his obsession.

Michael Cassutt. More Adventures on Other Planets.
Originally in SCI FICTION, January 2002

The second of five stories from Ellen Datlow’s SCI FICTION in this collection, tying F&SF for the the second major source for this volume (Asimovs being the first with 9 stories).

Europa is the setting for this ‘love story’. A new communications technology has enabled virtually instantaneous contact with remote controlled exploration vehicles on the icy moon of Jupiter. To control the vehicles, Earth-bound operators slip into immersion suits and VR goggles and link with the vehicles – something not entirely without risk.

As two vehicles explore the moon, the operators, the elderly irascible Earl, and the slightly younger Rebecca, find themselves growing together. Their doomed love is mirrored by their far-distant vehicles, for whom there are risks and dangers.

Dan Simmons. On K2 with Kanakaredes
Originally in Redshift

I read this story earlier in the year, in Robert Silverberg’s new addition to the ‘year’s best’ anthology market. Silverberg got his out at the very beginning of the year, primarily by dint of finalising his selection long before the calender year was out!

This is what I said then:

  • There have been several mountaineering stories over the years, and in this one an extra-terrestial from the race known as ‘The Listeners’ joins a climb up the dangerous K2. In the process of the climb and the fatal descent, more is learnt about the aliens and the humans. Neatly told, but not earth-shattering.

William Sanders. When This World is All on Fire
Originally in Asimovs, Oct/Nov 2001

When reviewing this in its magazine appearance I said:

  • Sanders provides another tale with a native American background, only this time with an interesting reversal – the squatters are white Americans, on reservation land, from which they are forced to move by the native American cops. Ecological problems have inundated a lot of American under water, and large populations are on the move. And being moved on.

Nancy Kress. Computer Virus.
Originally in Asimovs, April 2001

My comments when reviewing the story last year:

  • A widow, her fellow-scientist husband murdered by an eco-nut, has moved into the ultimate hi-tech secure house. But no sooner has all the wizardry been explained than a fleeing AI seeks refuge in her systems, holding her and her children hostage as the agents of the government close in. As her son falls ill with the strep throat, she uses her husband’s invention, allied to her son’s illness, to free them before the FBI waco the house.Suffers slightly from the rather too unsubtle way the situation is set up – the description of the house’s security system is literally only just finished being described before the said system is invaded and we get into the meat of the story.Almost a Nancy Kress meets Stephen King: except that Stephen King would have got a 700plus page novel out of the storyline!

For me a fairly anonymous ‘science thriller’, and her other magazine story this year, chosen by Silverberg in his collection (‘And No Such Things Grow Here’) was another thriller which didn’t really do anything for me. Neither were a patch on her strong story from the previous year – ‘Savior’.

Geoff Ryman. Have not Have.
Originally in F&SF, April 2001

Last year I wrote:

  • Classy stuff. The societal impact of technology is something that Ryman has written on before (‘Everywhere’ from Interzone and Dozois 17th being set in the NE of England). This story takes us to a remote Chinese village, providing an exquisite look at traditional lives of people who by todays/tomorrows standards are ‘have nots’.

The story sticks in the mind even more vividly than might be the case, as the cover illustration for F&SF that month which was for this story, was outstanding.

Charles Stross. Lobsters.
Originally in Asimovs, June 2001

Again, last year’s magazine review spake thus:

  • Another treat for me! If you don’t read the UK magazines Interzone and Spectrum SF (and if not, why not?) you may not be aware of Charles Stross. I like his work, and so does Gardner Dozois, who is putting two of his recent stories in his forthcoming Annual Collection. Here we have a high-tech near future story. Not unlike, in some respects, Nancy Kress’s Steamship Soldier on the Information Front, but IMHO much better. It features lots of techie stuff which I like (others won’t), and also features two of my own favourite drinking places in Amsterdam, and kinky sex in which the female takes the lead. The story shows you can have technology in stories without having to forego characterisation, wit and invention. Did someone mention Analog?

Michael Swanwick, The Dog Said Bow-Wow
Originally in Asimovs Oct/Nov 2001

My original review:

  • As you will now if you have been reading my reviews for some time, humour in SF is not one of my favourite reading matters – primarily because a lot of SF humour is so rarely funny. Swanwick proves that it can be done, in a wonderfully bizarre/baroque sort of futuristic-steampunk-ishy way. Sir Blackthorpe Ravenscairn de Plus Precieux is an upright, walking, talking dog of some class, who falls in with a rum sort of cove when visiting London. A plot is hatched in which the very heart of the English monarch (a gross, maggot like Queen, symbolising, perhaps….) is threatened. Gads sir, a palpable hit!

Andy Duncan, The Chief Designer
Originally in Asimovs, June 2001

My original comments:

  • The US space program has been the focus of a number of short stories of late, a number of which have been alternate histories (Stephen Baxter’s ‘Moon Six’ being worth hunting down IMHO – except that you don’t have to hunt it down, it’s online at the excellent InfinityPlus).Doubtless this retrospective approach is due to a sense of frustration at the lost opportunity and momentum : One Small Step for Man was a hesitant step, which has not been followed up. We are no futher forward, and are far short of Arthur C Clarke’s then-reasonable projection for 2001, taking pride in having a Very Big Telescope, and just how sad is that? Where is our collective sense of wonder?Andy Duncan looks at the Russian space program, and the driving force behind it: Sergei Korolev. Rescued from the gulag, Korolev and his team at Baikonur struggle to achieve their dreams. Duncan’s story has echoes of Arthur C Clarke’s best work in the sixties/seventies in the way he uses human emotion and commitment alongside the technical and political. Top Notch.

Paul Di Filippo, Neutrino Drag
Originally in SCI FICTION, August 2001

One of the few stories in this collection which I hadn’t read last year. I have just finished reading Di Filippo’s excellent A Year in Linear City, which is a shoo-in for next year’s Dozois’ collection, so was ready for some classy short SF. And of course the author delivers.

A 1950’s group of hot-rod racers are joined by a very strange couple in a very strange car. The car is something out of this world, the driver is olive green and speaks in a most peculiar manner, and his girlfried is an ultra-stacked babe, albeit mute (Di Filippo does like to feature the more pneumatic type of female in his stories).

All goes well until the alien hot-rod cracks a fuel cell, and whilst the driver head off to pick up a replacement, his girl picks up the protagonist. Honour has to be seen to be done, and a game of ‘chicken’, which the two speed merchants head into the sun, takes place.

Oozes class.

Alastair Reynolds. Glacial
Originally in Spectrum SF 5

Reynolds put together a strong sequence of short stories in recent years, before turning his spare time to writing extremely long, and extremely good novels. When reviewing this story, I wrote:

  • Reynolds has had several stories appear in Interzone, including ‘Galactic North’, and ‘A Spy In Europa’, which have been collected by Gardner Dozois in recent annual collections, and ‘Hideway’ published last year. ‘Merlins Gun’ was published in Asimovs (May 2000) and ‘The Great Wall of Mars’ was published in Spectrum last year, and this story is a follow-up to ‘Great Wall of Mars’. I’ve enjoyed all of the aforesaid stories with few reservations, so it with a bit of disappointment that I have to report being slightly less enthusiastic about this story. Whereas the others are uniformly quite inventive, far-future stories, this, whilst retaining a far-future setting, comes across as a more workmanlike story – a distant planet with a secret to be found, and a mystery to be solved. Still good, mind you, but more of an Analog story than, say, an Asimovs story, if you get my drift.

Allen M Steele, The Days Between
Originally in Asimovs, March 2001

My first divergence in opinion with Gardner Dozois. When this story appeared I got my teeth into it and wrote:

  • The second in a series of stories featuring the USS Alabama. The first story (USS Alabama, Asimovs January 2001), was a complex, taut thriller, which I enjoyed hugely, and which had me looking forward to subsequent stories. On that basis, this story disappoints. Whilst en route to its faraway destination, the AI of the Alabama disgorges Leslie Gillis from biostasis. This is neither accident nor malfunction, but harks back to the conspiracy element of the first story. Gillis is unable to return to biostasis and is thus condemned to a Robinson Crusoe existence. The story follows him through alcoholism, insanity (I would have preferred a more scientific term!) and his eventual fate as a writer of fantasy tales about a Prince Rupurt – on that score I think alcoholism and insanity would have been a kinder fate!The story does not really get to grips with what would surely be the bone-chilling horror of realisation that you are going to be truly alone for the rest of your life, nor the desperate sense of loss of what one has left behind (Gillis has a brief, maudlin rummage through some old photographs) or for the future not to be.And a couple of other issues:
    • Surely the AI and the ship would have systems in place for dealing with failures in biostasis pods? There appears to be ample space and energy for there to be some spare biostasis units.
    • Gillis evidently gives no thought to causing major technical problems which the AI states are the only reason it would wake the crew
    • In the darkness of his despair might not Gillis have attempted to unfreeze a companion – a Man or Woman Friday, so to speak. In William Barton’s Heart of Glass (Asimovs January 2000) the sole crew member on a long-haul cargo ship finds the temptation some of his cargo offer beyond resistance.
    • The story ends with a note that the rest of the flight went smoothly. If this is to be the only reported incident of a long interplanetary journey I would suggest the author has not quite hit the mark.

Other stories have subsequently appeared in what it transpires is to be a novel, and I have to say that I have been finding them fairly routine SF adventures. To my mind, if you were wanting a story from 2001 which looked at a similar theme – madness in the gulfs between the stars – then Ian Watson’s ‘One of Her Paths’ from F&SF’s Oct/Nov issue is a long way ahead of Steele’s story.

Howard Waldrop and Leigh Kennedy. One Horse Town
Originally in SCI FICTION, March 2001
STILL ONLINE

Co written by Waldrop, and with the horse being a wooden one, and the town in question Troy, you would guess with the title that this was one of Waldrop’s more humorous pieces.

There is some humour in there, although slightly mis-placed, in a story in which the siege of Troy is time-slipping with an excavation of the site in the far future, and with a young, blind man at some point in between. A story not particularly different from several time-slip stories, nor different from other stories about the siege of Troy, so for me another stories which doesn’t quite do it for me. I didn’t read many SCI FICTION stories last year, but one I did read was Lucius Shepard’s Aztechs, which I preferred to this (although Shepard’s is of much greater length). On a timeslip-ish kind of theme, a far better story which this anthology would have benefitted from is Richard Wadholm’s subtle ‘From Here You Can See the Sunquists’ (Asimovs Jan 2001).

Eleanor Arnason, Moby Quilt
Originally in Asimovs, May 2001

Again, another divergence in opinion. When I read this last year I wrote:

  • Another formulaic Lydia Duluth story which gets perilously close to plot lines hackneyed even for nautical made-for-TV drama : there are tales of ships going missing when getting too close to the bizarre native aquatic life, so what do those on the scientific ship do when their propellers get fouled when close to said life-form? Do they heed the warning and beat a hasty retreat. Nope, they carry on regardless. In the story we read that Duluth takes a shower no less than six times, and are introduced briefly by reference to their skin colour to any number of enter stage left/exit stage right ‘characters’. There is little invention in the story, with a lot of comfortable contemporary references (as I have mentioned in previous reviews): Duluth checks into, and gets the key for a non-smoking hotel room, and has toast and marmalade for her breakfast. No real sense of the truly alien nature of the marine creature with which Duluth is able to communicate is given, and she is able to communicate and empathise to such an extent that she finds herself falling for the octopod.

Probably worth mentioning that I do judge these stories against the highest standards. So, for example, I would point you way back to Dozois’ 6th collection from 1989, to Walter Jon Williams ‘Surfacing’ for a much more intense and inventive tale of deep sea doings.

Robert Reed. Raven Dream
Originally in F&SF, December 2001

When reviewing the previous Arnason story, I pointed out that it was a bit unfair to follow such a routine story with a story by the ever-inventive Robert Reed. And Dozois has done the same here, in following the Arnason story with another inventive Reed story of which I said last year:

  • ‘An intriguing story that promises to be the start of a series’ according to the editorial intro., and that pretty much sums it up. Reed slowly reveals just enough juicy snippets of information to keep the reader interested. A small, tight-knit community of woods-dwelling humans/elves/creatures forage from the ‘big people, who are obviously human beings. A hard winter proves fateful, and the youngster Raven finds himself having to reveal himself in order to save a friendly human. But very much the first chapter of a novel, as opposed to a true singleton short story.

James Kelly. Undone
Originally in Asimovs, June 2001

My original review:

  • Kelly volunteers that for this story he is standing on the shoulders of the giants Cordwainer Smith and Alfred Bester. The story starts far, far future, with a seriously post-modern genmod human called Mada, fleeing across multi-dimensional multi-chronological space. The ship’s AI (actually a DI – Dependent Intelligence) is a bit of a wuss, panicking because the chasing Utopians have put an identity mine five minutes downwhen of them. Desperate situations call for desperate measures, and Mada’s evasive action is quite dramatic : jumping to the even further far future (two 10th of a galactic spin). Mada makes her way to humanity’s homeworld, and finds it a strange, sparsely populated place. The contrast in this second half of the story to the first is sharp. The story slips close (albeit with the rider about Kelly doffing his virtual plume-ed cap to Cordwainer Smith/Alfred Bester) to a faux-Medieval cod-pastoral idyll. She decides to re-populate the planet (and *that* genmod transformation is a real treat) and re-start humanity on its way to the stars. In the climax Mada makes a major personal choice.An enjoyable story, well-written and inventive. In previous reviews I have bemoaned the Eleanor Arnason ‘Lydia Duluth’ stories for lack of invention – I would use this story to exemplify what I think good SF is about : more ideas in a couple of pages than a tranche of Lydia Duluth stories.

Interestingly, I enjoyed the story in spite of the fact that the PeanutPress version of that month’s Asimov which I was reading on my PDA didn’t attempt any of the typographic cleverness to indicate the jumping back in time that the story handles so well.

Carolyn Ives Gilman. The Real Thing
Originally in F&SF, July 2001

My original words of wisdom:

  • Information Technology has been a mainstay of SF for many years, but with the focus on the T of IT. In recent years the focus has shifted to the I in IT (Nancy Kress’s ‘Steamship Soldier on the Information Front’, Charles Stross’s recent stories). Sage Akwesasne steps forward to be the first time traveller. One drawback to the system of time travel is that it is one way – she will be encoded as pure information, then squirted digitally via a black hole into the future, where she will be reassembled. Successfuly transcribed in the future, she awakens to instant global celebrity, and to copyright ownership issues! The Metameme corporation, headed by billionaire mega-geek D. B. Beddoes, has her in his portfolio, and Gilman explores issues around the commodification of knowledge, and information needs and information wants, at length. The love interest is a little creaky, it has to be said.

Older people are rejuvenating themselves, causing societal problems as their not retiring from work is causing career progression problems for generations below them. Also, and often embarassingly, they are trying to regain their youth by hanging out with an even younger generation. An unlikely relationship between a teenage girl and a 70yr old, leads to a new vector opportunity for a virus.

Ian R Macleod. Isabel of the Fall
Originally in Interzone, July 2001

My original review:

  • MacLeod has put together ten years’ worth of excellent short SF, many stories of which have rightly been selected to appear in a variety of Years Best collections. Favourites of mine from the past five years include ‘Starship Day’ (Asimovs, and subsequently Dozois’ 13th Annual Collection), ‘Nevermore’ (in ‘Dying for It’ and Dozois’ 15th), ‘The Summer Isles’ (Asimovs, and Dozois’ 16th), current Nebula nominee ‘The Chop Girl’ (Asimovs, Dec 1999), and ‘Chitty Bang Bang’ (Asimovs, June 2000). You can also find ‘New Light on the Drake Equation’ online at www.scifi.com/scifiction. So with a track record of that strength you would expect something good, and (drum roll to heighten tension) in ‘Isabel of the Fall’ I can safely say that MacLeod has achieved and probably surpassed his usual high standards. In a setting which will be featured in another Asimovs story shortly, MacLeod produces a richly woven fable on a planet (?) in which the sun’s rays are reflected into a valley by members of a religious order, blinded at birth, who are tied to the mirrors and sing the bringing of light to the valley. The society described is recovering from war, divided into religious groupings, and though a far-future society, is quite fundamental in its practices. For me as a librarian, the description of the work of the librarians, and the homage paid to the founding fathers (sic) of librarianship Dewey, Bliss and Ranganathan was a nice touch, although will likely be missed by most non-librarians! The novella is surely a shoo-in for a Years Best collectee, and has to be up there as one of my top stories of the year. A lengthy interview of MacLeod by Nick Gevers follows, and my only criticism is the decision to put a photograph of the author in 1989 on the page after a current photo (the late 30s can be a cruel time – of this I can vouchsafe!)I would say to anyone who has read and enjoyed his other stories – keep an eye open for this one.

Jim Grimsley. Into Greenwood
Originally in Asimovs, September 2001

Last year, I pronounced upon this story:

  • The water-surrounded forest of Greenwood is populated by sentient trees who have developed bizzare mutually symbiotic relationships with individual humans who genmod themselves to become almost as one with an individual tree. The protagonist is seeking her brother Binam, who chose to become a sym as a child. Through him she finally makes contact with the groupmind of the forest and comes to an arrangement regarding their joint desire for freedom. In doing so, however, she reveals more about the nature of the tree/human symbiotic relationship than was known previously. As appears to be de rigeur nowadays there is an (albeit minor) lesbian episode. For me the story didn’t really manage to engage me with the characters, who were pretty much there to carry the plot and the concept along.

Michael Blumlein. Know How Can Do
Originally in F&SF, Dec 2001

My original comments:

  • In the last Blumlein story from F&SF (Paul and Me, collected in the 50th anniversary F&SF volume, we had Paul Bunyan in a homosexual relationship which proved true the adage that size doesn’t matter. ROTFL.Here we have a story where the main character is somewhat smaller – a humble worm. Well, a worm that is no longer humble – for the worm in question is a research lab who has been genomically grafted to a human brain and ergo can think. I think, therefore I am, is the fundamental premise of the worm’s existence, and we get a true worm’s eye view of his perspective on life. One of those stories you will either love or hate. I loved it.

Simon Ings. Russian Vine
Originally in SCI FICTION, June 2001
STILL ONLINE

The story starts in Paris, with love in the air. But with a difference. Earth is under the yoke of the Puscha, aliens whose technique for bloodless takeover was to take from humanity the gift of reading.

The story moves to rural Suffolk, with a love affair between Connie, an alien, and an earthwoman, who despite the difference between the races, and the difference in the power of the two, have evidently found love – or at least companionship.

Deceptively simple, but a story which gets its hooks into you.

Paul McAuley. The Two Dicks
Originally in F&SF, August 2001

When it first appeared, I wrote:

  • A sort of Alternate History, although of the kind that is so close to reality (none of this silliness about What if Germany won WWII). Indeed, without a detailed knowledge of the life of Philip K. Dick, this could almost be read a fictional descripton of an actual meeting. Of course, being AH there has to be the odd reference to events which didn’t happen – such as the aside about the death of the young Bob Dylan. BTW the other Dick is Richard Nixon. To my mind this story fails even more so than most AH because the nature of PKD’s take on reality was far more complex and fascinating – this story comes across as being just a little too obvious, for my liking.

Brenda W. Clough. May Be Some Time.
Originally in Analog, April 2001

Dozois finally chooses an Analog story, although not IMHO one of their best. I wrote:

  • Last year Scott of the Antartic turned out to be a vampire (Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris’ ‘Requiem Antartica’ in Asimovs May 2000) and in this story Captain Oates’ noble walk into the snow leads him to the 21st Century. The experiences of Oates’ time-travelling cloned resurrection in the future is described rather too lengthily and by-the-numbers, with this reader struggling to engage with the character or the plot, to the extent that I ended up skimming the last part of the story. And according to the author on rec.arts.sf.written, this is to be the first part of a novel. Hmm.

My ‘hmm’ was well-founded, as far as I am concerned, as the follow up did not impress me either!

Chris Beckett. Marcher.
Originally in Interzone, October 2001

When I reviewed the story last year I wrote:

  • Ex-social worker and now social work academic Beckett has provided several stories set in his near-future dystopian social welfare state, in which the Department for Special Category Administration takes a very dim view of the socially excluded. I personally have felt this series of stories as being rather heavy-handed and none-too subtle. As someone in the same line of work there are far more subtle, insidious futures than his cruel extension of Thatcher’s idea of a welfare state. In this story Beckett takes a quantum leap, as he adds to the current trough of quantum/parallel stories with visitors from alternate Midlands popping into existance. This of course does not please the authorities!

As with the Clough story from Analog, there are several Interzone stories I would have chosen ahead of this one.

Ken Macleod. The Human Front.
Originally published as a chapbook by PS Publishing

I read this recently and stated, at some length:

  • MacLeod is an author with whom I am not at all familiar. The Scottish writer has published several novels since the mid-1990s, and this would appear to be his first shorter-length publication. Iain M. Banks in his introduction, warmly recalls their early attempts at writing some two decades ago. The story in hand is an interesting one. It starts out evidently as Alternate History, following the life of a young Scotsman, John Matheson, in a world in which the outcome of the Second World War was quite different. For those of you with a limited knowledge of post-war Europe the story may be somewhat confusing – certainly as confusing as I find Alternate History stories set in the USA. Suffice to say that the USA and the Soviets are still at loggerheads, and it is Stalin’s death (he early survived the nuclear bomb dropped on Moscow by dint of not being in the city) in the mountains of the Caucasus at the hands of American soldiers which kicks the story off. The domination of the superpowers is also threatened by a pan-national movement – the Human Front, fighting for a global free humanity. Sufficiently unsettled by the shift in history, the reader is then put into the situation of having to assimilate the crash-landing of a very strange bomber on an airfield. The ship is a flying-saucer, a peculiar craft whose development has been shrouded in a haze of mystery. The young boy witnesses the pilot being removed – a young child it would seem. But the boy is sworn to a most urgent secrecy. As he grows up, John finds himself drawn to the Human Front, and becomes a guerrilla leader. An attack on a railway line goes from being a huge success to a desperate failure when one of the flying saucers arrives to tip the balance in the battle.And here the story pitches into yet more bizarre territory, with John and his colleagues transported by the flying saucer to a most un-Earthlike location.They are esconced in what amounts to a POW camp, with their captors the tall ‘Venusians’ and squat ‘Martians’. The story quickly rattles through to a conclusion in which all is revealed. (SPOILER: the Venusians/Martians are in fact far-future time travellers from different threads of Earth’s past/future. John meets and settles down with a woman from a version of history which the reader would recognise as ours.)

    All in all a story which is at times quite powerful and grittily believable, although I think the story could have benefitted from greater length.

Conclusion

For the majority of the content Dozois and I see eye to eye. I’ve mentioned the exceptions, and to my mind those could have been replaced with one or two more stories from Analog, Interzone and F&SF to give a more even balance to the magazine market . In no particular order, I would have included some of the following in the stead of the stories by Steele, Waldrop, Arnason and Clough :

  • James Lovergrove’s ‘Junk Male’ (Interzone Sept 2001)
  • Tony Ballantyne’s ‘Restoring the Balance’ (Interzone May 2001)
  • Paul di Filippo’s ‘Babylon Sisters’ (Interzone June 2001)
  • George Zebrowski’s ‘Augi’ (Analog Jan 2001)
  • Bud Sparhawk’s ‘Magic’s Price’ (Analog March 2001)
  • Brian Stableford’s ‘The Milk of Human Kindness’ (Analog March 2001)
  • Shane Tourtellotte’s ‘The Return of Spring’ (Analog Nov 2001)
  • Rick Shelley’s ‘First Contact National Monument’ (Analog Dec 2001)
  • Ian Watson’s ‘One of Her Paths’ (F&SF Oct/Nov 2001)
  • Lucius Shepard’s ‘Eternity’ (F&SF March 2001)

Interestingly, only a single inclusion from the ‘Redshift’ anthology gives an indication of what Dozois thinks of an anthology which aimed to be ‘influential’. The Robert Silverberg Years’ Best 2001 similarly only included the Dan Simmons story, whereas David G Hartwell went to that particular well on five occassions for his anthology (review to come in a day or two), although to no great effect.

Similarly, ‘Starlight3‘ is only represented by the Maureen F McHugh story, meaning that for the second year running Dozois excludes a well-received Ted Chiang story (‘Hell is the Absence of God’). If this was on the grounds of being fantasy rather than SF, I think I would have stretched the definition of SF to include that story, as I would have done last year for ’72 Letters’.

Harking back to my introduction, one bonus in having got through this year’s collection so quickly is that I may find the time to go back to read one of the as-yet unread earlier ‘Year’s Best’ anthologies!

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One Response to Year’s Best Science Fiction, 19th Annual Collection. Gardner Dozois. St. Martins Griffin, 2002

  1. Philip Havice January 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Into Green wood , One of the best Short stories i have read and listened to on Audio tape

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