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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 2 Paperback – March 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801240
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801249
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Australian anthologist Strahan's second annual best of collection is too small to hold all the great speculative stories of 2007, but it provides an excellent sampler, focusing on the recent trend of interstitiality. Kelly Link's The Constable of Abal, which revolves around an unscrupulous fortuneteller and her daughter's search for home, is equal parts fantasy, coming-of-age tale and unconventional ghost story. Ken MacLeod's Jesus Christ, Reanimator, about the inglorious Second Coming of a blogging messiah from outer space, wraps social commentary in sardonic science fiction. Holly Black's poignant The Coat of Stars blends together elements of folklore and urban grit to create an unlikely and deeply moving story about love and loss. If these 24 stories are any indication, SF and fantasy are continuing their evolution—or dissolution, as Strahan calls it—just as they always have: through innovative writers re-examining conventions and redefining boundaries. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Strahan’s second best-of annual collects such varied voices as Elizabeth Bear, Mike Resnick, and Peter S. Beagle, with the result that all the contents live up to their billing. Wildly different in approach they may be, but they’re equally well realized. From Bruce Sterling’s inspired creation of a postcollapse, street-level economic revolution in “Kiosk” to Theodora Goss’ lovely “Singing of Mount Abora” with its explanation for Coleridge’s unfinished works, these stories provide one thing that short fiction is best at: affording tantalizing glimpses of intriguing worlds and people. There’s a healthy dose of humor here, too, in Charles Stross’s inspired rendering of a postsingularity heir to Bertie Wooster. Strahan has done an admirable job of winnowing a selection of stories by writers both new and firmly entrenched that reminds us of the nearly limitless possibilities encompassed in the phrase science fiction and fantasy. --Regina Schroeder

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
Great collection by SFF superstars.
SovaMadden
I picked up the book, read Johnathan Strahan's introduction and the first three pages of the first story, "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang.
Jared Castle
This gem of a tale transcends both genres yet is firmly rooted in epic space opera, transporting readers into a magical world far beyond our future.
Michele Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michele Lee on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Impressive and, honestly, intimidating this tome of stellar science fiction and fantasy features masters of the genres at their best in twenty four dazzling tales of other worlds. If readers want some of the most impressive recently published tales of the SF/F genres without having to hunt them down through the multitude of anthologies and magazines printed this year this is an excellent buy.
If the first tale, Ted Chiang's "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", is any indication then this anthology is one to savor like a fine box of chocolates. When a merchant stumbles upon a strange shop in Baghdad that is home to a gateway between the past, future and present he is treated not just to a triad of tales about what other visitors have found inside the gateway, but he also gets the opportunity to travel back to his own past, to find closure to the one event in his life that haunts him. A rare gem of a story it expertly straddles the line between fantasy and science fiction as well as tragic and hopeful.
"The Last and Only, or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French" by Peter S. Beagle seems to be more of a philosophical study on identity than a tale that's recognizable fantasy. No one knows why, but Mr. Moskowitz began ("from the bones out") to turn French. So much so that even those born in France sought out his approval. Strange and well written, it still didn't capture my interest as much as I'd hoped.
Charles Stross' "Trunk and Disorderly", as one might guess is a humor piece. Completely out of control (much like its lead, "Ralph MacDonald Suzuki... a genuine Japanese Highland Laird from old Scotland...") "Trunk and Disorderly" is a hilarious adventure of debauchery, nobility and robots gone wrong that's best read without any drinks nearby.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jared Castle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Let me preface by stating that I don't often read the science fiction and fantasy genre, so I can't explain what drew me to this particular anthology. While the book cover wasn't particularly attractive the featured authors listed upon it was intriguing. I picked up the book, read Johnathan Strahan's introduction and the first three pages of the first story, "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang.

I was hooked, so I then took the book home.

Having just finished the anthology, Chiang's story is one of my five favorites along with "The Prophet of Flores" by Ted Kosmatka; "Winter's Wife" by Elizabeth Hand; "The Coat of Stars" by Holly Black and "Dead Horse Point" by Daryl Gregory. While I enjoyed many of the other 19 stories I must confess a couple stories had me scratching my head as I worked through unfamiliar terminology (less the story's fault than my own ignorance of the genre).

In summary, "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 2" provides a good value for your entertainment dollar. I found almost all 24 stories accessible to a newcomer. I intend to recommend this book to friends of mine who have a longer history with science fiction and fantasy stories. Rating: 4 stars.
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on June 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
The second volume in this series is slighly down on the first, 3.67 as compared to 3.71.

Or to put it another way, 17 above average stories compared to 18, 6 average stories compared to 4, and 1 dodgy story compared to 2.

In an anthology of science fiction and fantasy, it delivers as advertised, as half the stories are science fiction, and half are fantasy. In fact, in somewhat of a surprise, it appears I have rated the fantasy stories 1 point higher as a group than the SF.

So, looking at the separately, each half of this anthology rates as high or around 4, as opposed to rounding up to get there.

There's a broad range in both genres, from the fluffy and completely disposable Goss speculation, to the is it or isn't it fantasy-but-quite-possibly-twisted horror of Rickert, and from Egan's space blasting posthuman mathematicians to Sterling's not too far future dodgy Eastern Europeans.

Three standout stories here, and perhaps I might get asked to give up my no-membership in the Greg Egan fan club by first comparing him to Kelly Link in the Starry Rift, and now going on to suggest that perhaps Daniel Abraham has the best tale here.

Anyone got a new excerpt from Incandescence to help banish the stench of da fairy pollution? :)

SF and F Best 02 : The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate - Ted Chiang
SF and F Best 02 : The Last and Only or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French - Peter S.
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Great collection by SFF superstars. Some are poignant, hilarious, disturbing and thought provoking. A couple of real surprises, too. Every SFF fan will find something here that resonates. I didn't love them all, but I understand how each of these authors made it into this publication.
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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 2
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