REVIEW SUMMARY: A refreshing selection of science fiction stories.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 12 works of short fiction originally published in 2006.
PROS: Nine good stories, three of them outstanding.
CONS: Two stories hovering in the mediocre range; the book’s cover incorrectly cites story authors.
BOTTOM LINE: A worthwhile survey of 2006 fiction.
I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction lately, much of it compiled in various “Year’s Best” anthologies and award nomination reading lists. The latest anthology is Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition edited by Rich Horton, which serves up twelve pieces of short fiction that were first seen in 2006.
Horton offers up a nice selection of stories. His introduction, which serves as both short fiction survey and explanation selection choices, explains that he was not directly aiming for any given theme, but does admit that the final selections do seem to have a recurring religious theme. It should be noted that Horton’s choices sit comfortably (and refreshingly) within any given definition of science fiction; which is to say that none of these selections would be considered fantasy or mainstream, as might occur in other anthologies. SF fans need not be bothered on that score.
Given the nice selection of stories, it would have been nice if the authors got more cover publicity out of it: there is a glaring error on the book’s cover which cites authors included in last year’s edition. Besides extra proofreading, I might also recommend that the page headers list the story titles and authors instead of the book’s title and editor. Doing so would make stories easier to find.
One of the side effects of multiple “Best of” anthologies is that reading them eventually gets quicker, provided that there is the usual overlap of selections between anthologies. This was the case in the Horton anthology; I had already read eight of the twelve stories earlier this year. That left a measly four stories for me to consume, an appealing task size since life seems to be getting busier lately. (It still took me a week to do it.)
The three standout stories in this anthology are “The Cartesian Theater” by Robert Charles Wilson, “Hesperia and Glory” by Ann Leckie and “Exit Before Saving” by Ruth Nestvold.
Individual story reviews appear after the jump…
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