BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Editor Gardner Dozois’ picks for the thirty-two best science fiction stories of 2013.
PROS: 27 of the stories are worth reading and 9 of those were outstanding; a huge short fiction anthology like this provides readers with diverse concepts and writing styles.
CONS: A small handful of stories just didn’t work for me.
BOTTOM LINE: A very good anthology and a wonderful snapshot of the 2013 short science fiction scene.
Here’s a pretty impressive fact: Garder Dozois’ annual Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology has been running for thirty one years. I’ve been following this series for years and I have to say, the series is an annual treat I always anticipate with eagerness. It has continually proven itself to be an excellent source of good science fiction. Sure, there are the occasional stories that miss the mark for me personally, but the stories are overwhelmingly enjoyable.
The same holds true for this year’s volume. The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection boasts seven hundred pages and thirty-two pieces of fiction first published in 2013 — that includes short stories, novelettes and novellas. In comparison with the last twelve volumes, it seems as if there were even more outstanding stories this year than in previous years, either a sign that fiction is getting better, or that this year’s selection better matches my own personal taste. In either case, an anthology like this offers something for everyone. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say that the value of such an anthology is more than the sum of its parts; it broadens your reading horizons, allowing you to experience a diverse set of writers and writing styles, and most all, a variety of the mind-expanding ideas that are the hallmark of science fiction. This anthology has all that in spades. Add to that Dozois’ extensive recap of the science fiction year as well as an addendum of fiction honorable mentions, and any science fiction will have hours of excellent reading ahead of them.
The standout stories in this anthology are:
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