Here is the description and table of contents for the new audio anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 6 edited by Allan Kaster…a marvelous collection of stories with nearly 10 hours of listening pleasure…

An unabridged audio collection of the best of the best science fiction stories published in 2013 by current and emerging masters of the genre, edited by Allan Kaster, as narrated by Tom Dheere, Nancy Linari, and Dara Rosenberg. More than 9 ½ hours on 8 CDs. In “Zero for Conduct” by Greg Egan, an Afghani teenager, living in a near-future Iran with her exiled grandfather, makes a game-changing superconductor discovery. A young girl struggles to survive on a planet, with a stringent class structure, where Doors are used to go off-world in “Exit, Interrupted” by C. W. Johnson. “Pathways” by Nancy Kress, follows a teenage girl from a small Kentucky mountain town, in a near-future U. S., struggling with her family and culture as she seeks treatment for Fatal Familial Insomnia. In “Entangled” by Ian R. MacLeod, an Indian woman, in a Britain turned upside down by a disease that links people s minds, searches for answers to her personal catastrophe. In “The Irish Astronaut” by Val Nolan, a colleague brings the ashes of an astronaut, who died in the Aquarius disaster, to Ireland for final burial. In “Among Us” by Robert Reed, a government agency goes to extraordinary lengths to identify and track the aliens among us. “A Map of Mercury” by Alastair Reynolds, showcases the plight of a failed artist dispatched to retrieve an artistic genius from a collective of cyborgs parading across the face of Mercury. In “Martian Blood” by Allen M. Steele, a researcher from Earth goes on an expedition into the untamed regions of Mars to extract blood from its natives. “The She-Wolf s Hidden Grin” by Michael Swanwick, set in the same milieu as Gene Wolfe s The Fifth Head of Cerberus, follows the childhoods of two sisters on a planet far from Earth. Finally, in “The Best We Can” by Carrie Vaughn, a frustrated scientist pursues first contact among an apathetic populace.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Infinivox has posted the table of contents for the new audio/ebook anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 5 edited by Allan Kaster:

Here’s the book description:

An unabridged collection of the “best of the best” science fiction stories published in 2012 by current and emerging masters of the genre, edited by Allan Kaster. In “Invisible Men,” by Christopher Barzak, a maid in an inn encounters the Invisible Man who makes her an offer to be more than she is in this quasi-retelling of H.G. Wells’ famous story. In this year’s Nebula Award winner for best novelette, “Close Encounters,” by Andy Duncan, an old man is hounded by reporters about the stories he used to tell of an alien who took him into space and the dog he brought back with him. “Bricks, Sticks, Straw,” by Gwyneth Jones, follows virtual scientists forced to survive within their remotes when a young science team on Earth loses remote contact with their telepresences on Jupiter’s moons. In “Arbeitskraft,” by Nick Mamatas, Friedrich Engels strives to spread class revolution as a labor organizer for factory cyborg matchstick girls. “The Man,” by Paul McAuley, is a Jackaroo tale about a solitary woman, living in a cabin on the planet Yanos, whose life is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a naked man at her door. In “Nahiku West,” by Linda Nagata, set in the author’s Nanotech Succession sequence, officer Zeke Choy investigates an accident involving an illegal enhancement which was used to save a life. “Tyche and the Ants,” by Hannu Rajaniemi, showcases the plight of a young girl hidden on the moon by her parents, along with grags and Brain, as robotic ants have come from the Great Wrong Place to take her away. In “Katabasis,” by Robert Reed, human adventurers on a journey in an inhospitable high-gravity region of the Great Ship must use porters, evolved for massive worlds, to aid them. “The Contrary Gardener,” by Christopher Rowe, tells of the tough decisions a talented gardener in a society which genetically grows some crops for ammunition must come to when she’s recruited for the war effort. Finally, in “Scout,” by Bud Sparhawk, a reconstructed marine is deployed to a planet occupied by the Shardies to reconnoiter by making use of his “turtle” enhancements to avoid detection.

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TOC: ‘Steampunk Specs’ Edited by Allan Kaster

Infinivox has posted the table of contents for their new audiobook anthology Steampunk Specs.

Here’s the description:

This collection of unabridged, spectacular steampunk speculations includes several classics of the genre. These tales will sweep you away with their amazing automata, daring dirigibles, grinding gears, and scintillating steam as days long gone are infused with tech. In Smoke City, by Christopher Barzak, a woman comes to terms with the loss of her family to the child labor mills of the city. A doctor tries to cope with a strange plague terrorizing the citizens of London in Jeffrey Ford s Dr. Lash Remembers. In Machine Maid, by Margo Lanagan, a sexually repressed wife gets revenge on her husband through a robot maid. Friedrich Engels strives to spread class revolution as a labor organizer for factory cyborg matchstick girls in Arbeitskraft, by Nick Mamatas. In Ninety Thousand Horses, by Sean McMullen, an acclaimed mathematician, with a murky past, is forced to spy for an industrialist prior to becoming Britain s foremost rocket expert during World War II. An orphan boy builds an automaton, in an aging scientist s laboratory, that becomes more than an idle companion in Cherie Priest s Tanglefoot (A Clockwork Century Story). In Clockwork Fairies, by Cat Rambo, an English aristocrat courts a woman who would rather spend her time in a laboratory than at high society balls. At Chicago s Columbian Exposition, in 1893, an Algerian bodyguard crosses paths with a disoriented naked man in Chris Roberson s Edison s Frankenstein. . In A Serpent in the Gears, by Margaret Ronald, a dirigible journeys to an isolated land and discovers people and animals merged with machine parts. Radio Jones finds a way to listen in on the Naked Brains, who rule the world, while Rudy the Red fights against the oppressors in Zeppelin City, by Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn. Read by Tom Dheere, Vanessa Hart, and Nancy Linari. 520 minutes in length on 8 compact discs.

And here’s the table of contents…
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Infinivox has posted the table of contents for their upcoming audio anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 4:

An unabridged audio collection of the best of the best science fiction stories written in 2011 by current and emerging masters of the genre, edited by Allan Kaster, as narrated by top voice talents. In Dying Young, by Peter M. Ball, cyborgs, clones and post-humans collide with a dragon bent on revenge in a post-apocalyptic space western. Martian Heart, by John Barnes, chronicles a teenage couple taken to Mars as indentured servants in a rags to riches tale. In Canterbury Hollow, by Chris Lawson, two lovers on a planet orbiting a killer sun share their few remaining weeks together before they die. The Choice, by Paul McAuley, set in the author s Jackaroo universe, follows two boys who set sail to investigate a beached alien vessel on the English coast. In After the Apocalypse, by Maureen McHugh, a mother and daughter traverse a ravaged U.S. in a tale that takes on McCarthy s, The Road, from a female viewpoint. Purple, by Robert Reed, tells of a blind and maimed young man convalescing in an off-world menagerie of wayward alien species, prior to returning to Earth. In Laika s Ghost, by Karl Schroeder, a Russian and an American search the steppes of the former U.S.S.R. for metastable weapons that terrorists could use to make nuclear bombs. Bit Rot, by Charles Stross, follows post-humans struggling to survive after their generation ship is struck by a Magnetar ray in this clever zombies-in-space tale. In For I Have Laid Me Down on The Stone of Loneliness and I ll Not Be Back Again, by Michael Swanwick, Irishmen plot to strike back against alien occupiers by enlisting an Irish American tourist to their cause. Finally, Steve Rasnic Tem, tells of a young man awakened from suspended animation, on a future Earth, with the technological know-how of plant-like aliens in At Play in the Fields. More than 8 1/2 hours on 8 CDs . Read by Tom Dheere, Jared Doreck, Adam Epstein, and Vanessa Hart.

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TOC: The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 2 edited by Allan Kaster

Infinivox has posted the table of contents for the audio anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 2 edited by Allan Kaster:

  1. “Erosion” by Ian Creasey
  2. “As Women Fight” by Sara Genge
  3. “A Story, with Beans” by Steven Gould
  4. “Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance” by John Kessel
  5. “On the Human Plan” by Jay Lake
  6. “Crimes and Glory” by Paul McAuley
  7. “Mongoose” by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
  8. “Before My Last Breath” by Robert Reed
  9. “The Island” by Peter Watts
  10. “This Peaceable Land; or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe” by Robert Charles Wilson

AUDIO REVIEW: Aliens Rule edited by Allan Kaster

REVIEW SUMMARY: Another fine audio anthology from Infinivox

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A 3-CD set (totaling 224 minutes) that features a trio of science fiction audio stories involving aliens.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: All three stories are good;

CONS: None of these stories are what I would deem superb (not that that stopped them from appearing on Years Best lists an awards ballots)

BOTTOM LINE: A solid collection of science fiction audio stories that match the theme of alien rule.

The latest audio anthology collection from Infinivox is Aliens Rule edited by Allan Kaster. It’s a 3-CD set that features 224 minutes of narrated science fiction. The three unabridged stories included (1 novelette and 2 novellas) are themed around alien occupation. The stories are expertly narrated by familiar Infinivox voices Vanessa Hart and Tom Dheere. As with the other Infinivox titles I’ve reviewed (Mini-Masterpieces of Science Fiction and The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction, both also edited by Allan Kaster) this was an enjoyable experience overall as the stories were of good quality, their delivery was well done, and the audio format itself allowed me to squeeze in fiction when I was otherwise unable to.

Individual story reviews follow…

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Short fiction anthologies come in many flavors: some contain original fiction and some are comprised of reprints; they can be themed or non-themed; they may restrict themselves to a certain sub-genre of speculative fiction… But one thing they all have in common is that it’s Editors that put them together.

This week, we asked a handful of Editors the following question:

Q: Can you describe what goes on behind the scenes – from conception to publication — when creating a short fiction anthology?

Read on to see their illuminating responses…

(See also Part 2 and Part 3)

Jeff VanderMeer
World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and has had fiction published in over 20 countries. His books, including the bestselling City of Saints & Madmen, have made the year’s best lists of Publishers Weekly, LA Weekly, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. He reviews books for, among others, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, and the Barnes & Noble Review, as well as being a regular columnist for the Omnivoracious book blog. Current projects include Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer, the noir fantasy novel Finch, and the forthcoming definitive Steampunk Bible from Abrams Books. He maintains a blog at http://www.jeffvandermeer.com.

This is a tough question, because almost every anthology I’ve done with Ann or by myself or with someone else has been different from the others. Even Steampunk and New Weird involved completely different methodologies–in the case of the former, we were trying to identify iconic stories and in the case of the latter we were mapping/documenting the legitimacy of a “movement” that I’d been around to witness the inception of. Our current project, Last Drink Bird Head, is a flash fiction antho for literacy charities with over 80 contributors. Fast Ships, Black Sails was a straightforward commercial pirate story anthology. The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases played around with the whole idea of what’s fiction versus nonfiction and indirectly charted the life of its titular character. The Leviathan anthologies focused on surreal and proto-New Weird or post-New Wave fiction, but each with a different theme and focus. Album Zutique was unabashed Decadent and Surrealist-inspired fiction. Being guest editors for Best American Fantasy was another kind of challenge, because we’d never done a year’s best before, and that carries with it a different set of responsibilities. Our upcoming Clarion charity anthology, The Leonardo Variations, is both an anthology of fiction and a teaching anthology that, through its stories and nonfiction in the back, should be of great use to beginning writers. That poses its own challenges. I guess the point is, behind the scenes each of these books has gone through a different process, both in terms of its creation and in terms of the process of preparation. This keeps things fresh and interesting–I’m not particularly interested in repeating myself with regard to books, whether my own fiction or the anthologies I create with Ann, and I don’t think Ann is, either.

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REVIEW SUMMARY: This is an outstanding anthology.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An 8-CD set of 10 audio stories of stories originally printed in 2008.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: An excellent selection of stories; high production values; excellent narration overall; audio format made it easy to consume.

CONS: Though few and far between, some stories worked better than others.

BOTTOM LINE: This was an enjoyable listening experience.

Publishing a “perfect” anthology is hard, if not impossible. With multiple stories, it’s hard to compile ones that are all well-received by any one reader (let alone a short-fiction-consuming audience). A while back, I had posted my “Wish List” anthology, a collection of first-rate stories that I would pick for inclusion in a perfect anthology. It almost seems as if editor Allan Kaster has tapped into my own thoughts of 2008’s short fiction selection, because the audio book anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction (for 2008) come really close to being perfect.

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