Year’s Best SF 3. David G. Hartwell. Harper Prism 1998


These story summaries were written a couple of years ago, and are not as detailed as is my current wont.

Gene Wolfe. Petting Zoo.
Originally in : Dinosaur Fantastic II

A man and an aged dinosaur are reunited and look back on a day when they were much much younger, and much freer.

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.

Jack Williamson. The Firefly Tree.
Originally in : SF Age

A young boy on a farm finds a very special tree from a very special place. Will it bring him what he yearns for?

William Gibson. Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City.
Originally in : New Worlds

Very post-modern. Perhaps this may be a revisiting of the ‘poetry’ which was in vogue in the 60s (see the Poetry Oh Dear theme)

S.N. Dyer. The Nostalginauts.
Originally in : Asimovs

Teenagers going through an awkward phase face the potential horror of being visited by future versions of themselves.

John C. Wright. Guest Law.
Originally in :

A far future, spacefaring and cruel genmod race make contact with a potential victim. Will they observe Guest Law?

Gregory Benford. The Voice.
Originally in : SF Age/ Future Histories

Future in which the written word has disappeared, and the population have an ever present computer voice to guide and educate them.

Greg Egan. Yeyuka.
Originally in Meanjinn

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.

Terry Bisson. An Office Romance.
Originally in : Playboy

The dividing line between the PC operating system and those operating it has changed. Inside Windows Office a romance blossoms. Ahh, Paris in the Spring.

James Patrick Kelly. Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Originally in Asimovs

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.

Robert Silverberg. Beauty in the Night.
Originally in Science Fiction Age.

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.

Ray Bradbury. Mr. Pale.
Originally in :

You wouldn’t want to live forever, would you, asks Mr. Pale. Ooozes class!

Brian Stableford. The Pipes of Pan.
Originally in :

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

Nancy Kress. Always True to Thee, In My Fashion.
Originally in : Asimov’s Science Fiction, January 1997

What if emotions were subject to seasonal changes as with high fashion?

Tom Purdom. Canary Land.
Originally in : Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, January 1997

George is made an offer he cannot refuse, and finds himself involved in industrial espionage. He is caught, but it turns out all right in the end.

Tom Cool. Universal Emulators.
Originally in : Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

On board a ship a complex relationship between a husband and wife, and his clone, who is taking the husbands place at certain times, is violently resolved.

R. Garcia y Robertson. Fair Verona.
Originally in : Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, October/November 1997

A Virtual Reality romp partially set in Verona.

Kim Newman. Great Western.
Originally in : New Worlds

Alternate History in rural SW England. Against a backdrop of an English Civil War, a rider drives into a small village. Retelling of a standard US Wild West scenario.

Geoffrey A. Landis. Turnover.
Originally in : Interzone

The Scientist and Her Beautiful Assistant. Excellent short spoof of Golden Age of SF. Almost makes you mourn for a return of the Asimovian Heavy Hand of SF writing.

Paul Levinson. The Mendelian Lamp Case.
Originally in : Analog

A murder mystery set against an Amish background. Borderline SF.

Katherine McLean. Kiss Me.
Originally in : Analog

Where do those frogs come from? Ribbit. (That’s the sound English frogs make, unlike the reebeeb, beebeeb in this story)

Michael Moorcock. London Bone.
Originally in : New Worlds 222

Stylish near future story of a London entrepreneur. Borderline SF.

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