Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 6

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 6
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 by Jonathan Strahan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 6 from Nightshade Books review
Edited by: Jonathan Strahan
4 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a free eBook ARC galley from in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads: The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major "best of" anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than thirty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery

Introduction, Jonathan Strahan 
The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, (A Study in Sherlock) 
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, (Clarkesworld, 4/11) 
Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, (Eclipse Four) 
Younger Women, Karen Joy Fowler, (Subterranean, Summer 2011) 
White Lines on a Green Field , Catherynne M. Valente, (Subterranean, Fall 2011) 
All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, (Lightspeed Magazine, 4/11) 
What We Found, Geoff Ryman, (F&SF, 9-10/11) 
The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi, (Engineering Infinity) 
The Choice, Paul McAuley, (Asimov‘s, 1/11) 
Malak, Peter Watts, (Engineering Infinity) 
Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson, (Eclipse Four) 
A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, K. J. Parker, (Subterranean, Winter 2011. ) 
Valley of the Girls, Kelly Link, (Subterranean, Spring 2011) 
Brave Little Toaster, Cory Doctorow, (TRSF) 
The Dala Horse, Michael Swanwick, (, 7/11) 
The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, M Rickert, (F&SF, 9-10/11) 
The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu, (F&SF, March/April 2011) 
Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks, (Steampunk!) 
After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh, (After the Apocalypse) 
Underbridge, Peter S. Beagle, (Naked City) 
Relic, Jeffrey Ford, (The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities) 
The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter, (Engineering Infinity) 
Woman Leaves Room, Robert Reed, (Lightspeed Magazine, 3/11) 
Restoration, Robert Shearman, (Everyone’s Just So So Special) 
The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling, (Flurb, Fall-Winter 2011) 
Catastrophic Disruption of the Head, Margo Lanagan, (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Vol. 1) 
The Last Ride of the Glory Girls, Libba Bray, (Steampunk!) 
The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book) , Nnedi Okorafor, (Clarkesworld, 3/11) 
Digging, Ian McDonald, (Life on Mars) 
The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson, (Asimov’s, 10-11/11) 
Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages, (Life on Mars)

My Thoughts: One can’t say a lot about an anthology, not without taking up pages and pages of notes. However, I’ll comment on some of the stories that stuck in my head. Obviously, being as I am a Sherlock Holmes fan, I loved Neil Gaiman’s theory about why Holmes really retired to be a beekeeper in “The Case of Death and Honey.” Catherynne M. Valente has a wickedly sharp sense of humor, which comes through in her story utilizing the Coyote mythos, “White Lines on a Green Field.” “All That Touches The Air,” by An Owomoyela was an interesting take on the whole alien planet/human settler meme, asking the question ,“what if there were already a dominant species on the planet?” Nalo Hopkinson’s “Old Habits,” about ghosts in a mall, left me with goosebumps. “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” was an excellent example of a Weird West tale, a genre I am finding that I quite like.

I should point out that I didn’t love all the stories. I couldn’t even finish Peter S. Beagle’s story, because of bad things to do with a cat; I just quit reading it right there. “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head” just didn’t make much sense to me. There were a few that didn’t really make an impact on me one way or the other. But overall the stories were good. Taking into account that this was an ARC, the editing started out pretty good but was deteriorating fast by the end, which was sort of strange. I’m guessing that will be fixed by the final edition.

At any rate, for fans of sci-fi and fantasy this anthology will be a must-read – jam-packed full of great stuff.

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