REVIEW SUMMARY: 4 standouts + 18 good stories – 6 less-than-stellar = a very good anthology.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Anthology of 28 science fiction stories first published in 2006.
PROS: 22 stories worth reading; 4 of them outstanding.
CONS: 6 stories mediocre or worse.
BOTTOM LINE: Maintains the consistent high quality of previous editions.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction #24 is the sixth edition of this series I’ve read (see SF Signal reviews for editions #19, #20, #21, #22 and #23) and it continues to present a wide range of stories likely to offer something for anyone. Of course, that same strategy may also mean that there are some offerings that are not to taste, but overall this volume maintains a consistently good level of entertainment as compared with previous editions. As usual, editor Gardner Dozois also offers a comprehensive – though not as much as last year – summation of the science fiction landscape and a huge list of reading recommendations.
Even though there were some misses by this reader’s estimation, it must be noted that Dozois has an eye for well-received stories. Several of the ones included here have been chosen by other editors to be in their respective “best of” anthologies. Additionally, some of these stories were nominated for awards. (For more meta-sf Zen, check out SF Scope’s statistics for this edition.)
Of the twenty-eight stories in this volume, twenty-two of them were good or better, with four of those being outstanding. Six stories were of mediocre entertainment value or worse. The four standouts are “Tin Marsh” by Michael Swanwick, “Far As You Can Go” by Greg Van Eekhout, “Dead Men Walking” by Paul J. Mcauley and “Nightingale” by Alastair Reynolds. (Like last year’s edition, Alastair Reynolds grabbed two slots in the table of contents.)
As noted below, nine of the stories contained in this volume have been previously reviewed by me. Also, stories that are available online are linked.
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Tagged with: Gardner Dozois • YBSF-Dozois • Year's Best