From Publishers Weekly
Australian editor Strahan (Best Short Novels: 2007
) gathers 24 stories from a wealth of standard and New Age publications for a provocative anthology that will satisfy readers looking for fresh, contemporary work that stretches both SF and fantasy boundaries. Walter Jon Williams's bittersweet "Incarnation Day" and Cory Doctorow's oddly touching "I, Row-Boat" extrapolate current bioengineering and robotics trends into far-flung times and places. Kelly Link's elegiac "The Wizards of Perfil" and Peter S. Beagle's perceptive take on siblinghood, "El Regalo," skew family relationships into bizarre and endearing new shapes. Still others, especially Elizabeth Hand's exquisite "The Saffron Gatherer" and Margo Lanagan's terrifying "Under Hell, Over Heaven," defy categorization, offering flashes of primal recognition of the peaks and valleys of human emotion. Except for a few forays into gory violence (possibly influenced by current video gaming), these stories all refract experience into kaleidoscopic new worlds—strange, dangerous and lovely. (Apr.)
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This is an excellent sampling of some of the most interesting contemporary voices in sf and fantasy, including Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, Kelly Link, and Paul Di Filippo, tackling a pleasingly wide range of subject matter. Jeffrey Ford's "Night Whiskey" concerns the strange customs of a small town and the terrible things that sometimes come out of the unknown. Christopher Rowe's "Another Word for Map Is Faith" concerns a future in which the faithful of Christendom traverse the earth, "correcting" geography to conform to the errors on maps. The volume closer, Ian McDonald's "Djinn's Wife," is a lovely fairy tale of the future about a dancer who marries an AI; as the narrator observes, even if it doesn't have a happy ending like a Bollywood movie, it has a happy enough ending. Editor Strahan has selected a lot of winning stories here, well worth revisiting, often more than once. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved