From Publishers Weekly
Strahan's introduction calls 2008 a good but not exceptional year for short fiction, and in accurate reflection, all 29 stories collected here are good, but few are great. The standouts are memorable in a variety of ways: for sheer power of narrative voice, Pat Cadigan's Truth and Bone; for human connections to inscrutable aliens, Damien Broderick's This Wind Blowing, and This Tide; for humor amid life-and-death peril, Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear's Mongoose. Hard SF fans should seek out the imperiled far future Earth of Stephen Baxter's Formidable Caress, while a sense of wonder and menace permeates Peter Watts's The Island. A few stories don't feel as strong as they might have been, but there are no real wrong turns. (Apr.)
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As for previous volumes of this annual, Strahan picks a stellar array of stories, the best of an apparently very good year. With authors including Nicola Griffith, Damien Broderick, Peter S. Beagle, Diana Wynne Jones, and Robert Charles Wilson, it’s impossible for a reader to go wrong, and there’s something here for every taste, as well. From Griffith’s unnerving story of emotions and chemicals, “It Takes Two,” to Beagle’s “By Moonlight,” a variation on the old Scots ballad “Tam Lin,” this year’s best contain both the simple things we take for granted about being human and the most luminous impossibilities that we might imagine. There are intelligent dinosaurs, steampunk gyrocopter air-chases, magic, alternate universes, technology that’s almost magic, and everything else one could ask of a collection of the fantastic. And if they’re not enough, a list of stories that “would appear in this volume if space permitted” concludes. --Regina Schroeder