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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight (Best SF & Fantasy of the Year) Paperback – May 13, 2014

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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight (Best SF & Fantasy of the Year) + The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection + The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014 Edition (Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'"Best" in this context is more than its constituent parts, it's a demonstration of all that can be found: diversity of voice, subject and form; balance between new and established voices; work from a good range of original sources... Books as good as this should be of interest to any admirer of short fiction, regardless of genre.' The Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jonathan Strahan is a multiple award-winning editor and anthologist. He is also the reviews editor of Locus. He lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and their two daughters. He publishes two continuing original anthology series with Solaris, the Infinity and Fearsome books.
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Product Details

  • Series: Best SF & Fantasy of the Year (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781082162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781082164
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Neodoering on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology was well written and competent, but only a few of the stories really stood out to me. I liked the tale Effigy Nights, about storybook heroes who come to life to defend a city from invaders, and the story Water was a good modern tale of a slimy mineral water executive who gets his comeuppance. But I only liked two out of twenty-eight stories, and that's a bad value as far as I'm concerned. There were a lot of tales that I thought were all right, but they didn't grab me. They were merely competent. I didn't find any clunkers in this book, but these tales just don't soar. Last year's volume 7 was better. I hope Strahan is just having an off year, and next year he'll be back in the saddle and serving up exemplary tales. In about two weeks Gardner Dozois brings out the Year's Best Science FIction, and I'm looking forward to it, especially after this disappointing volume. Only get this one after you get some better anthologies, as a last resort.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Han Jie on June 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Ahh yes, the time has become to review another review: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year edited by Jonathan Strahan. This year’s volume eight from Solaris Books, the genre aficionado once again places their trust in Strahan to filter through the literally thousands of stories published in the year to present a ‘best of’. As always whenever those two words are bandied about, some contention is sure to arise, and this year’s volume is no exception. It is thus much simpler to describe what the anthology is, rather than what it should have been, could have been, or isn’t, because in the end it is a rich collection of stories which every reader can find something enjoyable within. One of the better in Strahan's ongoing series, it would seem to indicate 2013 was a strong year in short fiction.

TBSFaFotYv8 opens on an empty note: a wild west one-off from Joe Abercrombie marginally in the same setting as Red Country called “Some Desperado”. The prose poor and story dry, it will, nevertheless, appeal to that niche of genre fandom which believes Abercrombie can do no wrong. (See the following quote. “Neary’s arrow had snagged it in the shoulder, not deep enough to kill or even slow it right off, but deep enough to make it bleed at a good pace. With her hard riding that had killed it just as dead as a shaft in the heart.” The last sentence not even a coherent thought, such jarring, if not blasé, lines are spread throughout the story.) “Zero Conduct” by Greg Egan shifts to the near-future and tells the story of an Afghani teen living in Iran with her exiled grandfather. Despite making an exciting discovery in superconducting, getting it into public and into production does not prove easy for a foreigner, however.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on May 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
In the Intro Jonathan Strahan states that because he now has a new publisher, there was some problems with getting permission to include certain stories in this collection. From what I can tell from those short stories included in this collection most aren’t SciFi but Fantasy and Horror. Of the 28 stories only eight were published in “SciFi” magazines. At least ten of the rest are from books where the editors set the premise and then selected authors to write the stories.

It’s not that I don’t like fantasy stories, it’s just that many of them could easily just be ‘normal’ fiction just by ‘tweeking’ a few issues. There have been “other” World’s Best and Year’s Best collection in the past which were much more SciFi oriented and that’s more my style. I also noticed that many of these authors are also included in collections that Strahan himself has edited. Take it for what it’s worth.

Zeb Kantrowitz
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Format: Kindle Edition
In the introduction to this "best of the year" collection, editor Jonathan Strahan says that, when selecting stories he tries to steer a course between David Hartwell and Judith Merrill. I've never read either of their anthologies -- and since Merrill's last collection was published in 1985, you probably haven't read her anthologies either -- but what I think he meant was that he is neither as dedicated to crowd-pleasing genre fiction as Hartwell nor as committed to high literary standards as Merrill. I would say that he succeeded in this reasonably well; there's nothing in the collection that screams "pulp!" and nothing that's so literary and self-consciously writerly that it's seriously difficult to read.

Strahan also said that he chose not to publish anything that wasn't clearly sci-fi or fantasy. While he mostly succeeded in this as well, his decision to lead off with Joe Abercrombie's “Some Desperado” is odd in this context; the story is a feudal-western mashup that is only fantasy in the way Kusher's classic "Swordspoint" is fantasy -- it doesn't take place here. A young woman flees both the palace guards and her former partners in crime on horseback; can she escape both? Strahan follows up with Greg Egan's “Zero for Conduct” which is mainly science fiction in that it is fiction that centers on science. Centering on a cautious but ambitious young Afghani refugee woman with an amazing grasp of molecular structure, the story is also part of a mini-wave of South Asia-centered sci-fi that emphasizes social realism over exoticism.

Another small wave in sci-fi that's evident in Strahan's anthology is work that focuses on the nature and dynamics of memory in a world in which machines are increasingly remembering it all for us wholesale.
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