In print and on-line, science fiction and fantasy is thriving as never before. A multitude of astonishingly creative and gifted writers are boldly exploring the mythic past, the paranormal present, and the promises and perils of myriad alternate worlds and futures. There are almost too many new and intriguing stories published every year for any reader to be able to experience them all. So how to make sure you haven’t missed any future classics?
Award-winning editor and anthologist Jonathan Strahan has surveyed the expanding universes of modern sf and fantasy to find the brightest stars in today’s dazzling literary firmament. From the latest masterworks by the acknowledged titans of the field to fresh visions from exciting new talents, this outstanding collection is a comprehensive showcase for the current state of the art in both science fiction and fantasy. Anyone who wants to know where the future of imaginative short fiction is going, and treat themselves to dozens of unforgettable stories, will find this year’s edition of Best Science Fiction and Fantasy to be just what they’re looking for!
Strahan remains confident and competent following his series' move to a new publisher. He makes a point of invoking the venerable tradition of "annual snapshot of the SF field," name checking editorial luminaries like Judith Merril, David G. Hartwell, and Gardner Dozois. While there are one or two false notes, such as Val Nolan's interminable "The Irish Astronaut," most of the 28 stories reward reading. Of particular note are Yoon Ha Lee's "Effigy Nights," in which an occupied people turn to books to protect themselves from an occupying force; Eleanor Arnason's "Kormack the Lucky," whose protagonist struggles to win freedom in a world founded on slavery; K.J. Parker's cheerfully amoral "The Sun and I"; and Ian McDonald's comic "The Queen of Night's Aria." Small-press anthologies and independent zines are well represented in the table of contents; the Big Three print magazines are notable mainly by their absence an indication of the evolving face of speculative fiction. Strahan's work doesn't quite achieve Merril's literary range, but it compares favorably with Hartwell's steadfast traditionalism and Dozois's weighty tomes.