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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection Hardcover – June 23, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran editor Dozois, 15-time Hugo winner, offers 30 stories, several of them Hugo-nominated. The table of contents is dominated by familiar names like Michael Swanwick and Greg Egan, but occasionally leavened with relative newcomers like Hannu Rajaniemi and more obscure authors like James Alan Gardner. Settings range from the present-day (Nancy Kress's The Erdmann Nexus) to the distant future (Ian McDonald's The Tear) and alternate history (Aliete de Bodard's Butterfly, Falling at Dawn). Similarly the moods range from relatively upbeat (Dominic Green's Shining Armour) to pessimistic (Swanwick's From Babel's Fallen Glory We Fled). In some entries the SF elements appear to be almost an afterthought, but most earn their inclusion. Dozois also provides short biographies, a detailed overview of the year in SF and a lengthy list of honorable mentions. This is a worthy addition to a venerable series. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“This is a worthy addition to a venerable series.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Gardner Dozois and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-fifth Annual Collection:

“The 25th installment of editor extraordinaire Dozois's annual collection packs a wallop.” –Publishers Weekly

"For more than a quarter century, Gardner Dozois's THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR has defined the field. It is the most important anthology, not only annually, but overall." --Charles N. Brown, publisher of Locus Magazine


Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 0026- edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312551045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312551049
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection. Edited by Gardner Dozois.

As usual, Dozois has rounded up mostly excellent stories, whether or not one can ever objectively define "best" (average story quality, in my judgment, comes out to 4.13 out of 5, in this anthology). Also, as in previous years, the huge Summation at the beginning lays out the current condition of science fiction in exquisite detail. For that, I'm adding a bonus to the 4.13 story-average, bringing the final rating up to 5 out of 5.

++ = Excellent story, would unhesitatingly include it in my own "year's best"... if I had one.
+ = Thought it was good, certainly worth reading, maybe not a definite pick for my own "year's best"...
o = Not bad, but had little effect on me.
- = Actively disliked it.
-- = Wish I hadn't read it!

"Turing's Apples." Stephen Baxter. Sibling rivalry and first contact. One of Baxter's best so far. ++

"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled." Michael Swanwick. A man among bug-eyed aliens who deal in trust. Typically Swanwick: full of irony and a boatload of postmodern literary tricks. Quite entertaining, though. +

"The Gambler." Paolo Bacigalupi. News reporter takes big gamble on writing social-justice piece in hyper-capitalized information economy. Good character piece, less of a downer than the usual Bacigalupi. +

"Boojum." Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette. Seat-of-your-pants swashbuckler on living pirate ship in outer space! Complete with a plucky heroine and a ship weirder than anything in Pirates of the Caribbean. +

"The Six Directions of Space." Alastair Reynolds. Space-faring, multiverse-exploring Mongol Empire!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gardner Dozois gives us the grand tour of top-notch science fiction stories from 2008. As in previous anthologies, he treats readers to a chapter-length summation of developments in the field during 2008, a set of well-chosen stories, and an impressive list of "Honorable Mentions" that motivated readers can track down and enjoy. I read all 30 stories and felt my time was well-spent with each one.

My six favorites from this year's collection all deal with our humanity, skillfully using the innovations of technology and the wonders of other worlds to examine our hearts:

Ted Kosmatka's "N-Words" explores love, pain and prejudice in a relationship between a woman and one of modern man's closest cousins.

Karl Schroeder's "The Hero" tells the story of a boy who pays forward a kindness.

Mary Robinnette Kowal's "Evil Robot Monkey" asks whether animals are made more human by increasing their intelligence or increasing our empathy.

Greg Egan's "Crystal Nights" shows that the evolution of a new species can be more effective and efficient if the right man is in charge.

Garth Nix's "Old Friends" shows us that our roots are at home, even when we don't want to return there.

Ian McDonald's "The Tear" is an action- and concept-packed tale of childhood friendship under change--after change, after change.

This collection is highly recommended. I enjoyed it all the more as a "guilty pleasure" read on my iPhone Kindle app while those around me assumed I was scheduling or engaging in some other grown-up activity.

WARNING: The thirty stories in this collection are exactly the same 30 stories found in The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 22. In fact, these two books seem to be the same except for different titles and covers. Don't buy both expecting them to be separate books.
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By A Customer on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This anthology always lives up to its title as there are thirty strong short stories with 628 pages of contributions included. The Summation of 2008 is a deep fascinating essay that focuses on the good with overall strong creative writings especially in book anthologies; and the bad being the collapse of several print magazines with those surviving cutting back the number of pages in each copy and reducing the number of releases per year. The stories are for the most part super but in spite of the rise of the on line magazines most of the compilation comes from print magazines and book anthologies. My personal favorites are those I had not previously read (thus I discount the excellent "Boojum" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, "The Gambler" by Paolo Bacogalupi, and "Eligible Boy" by Ian McDonald, etc.). "The Six Directions of Space" by Alastair Reynolds, "Five Thrillers" by Robert Reed and the "Erdmann Nexus" by Nancy Kress are tremendous; the rest are quite good too. This collection with its Honorable Mention list and reference guide is a short story delight.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've been a huge fan of Dozois's anthologies for years, having purchased roughly half of the editions when they were first published, and then several earlier ones as used copies. I won't repeat what other negative reviewers have to say, but I'll add my own reason that I've been enjoying each new anthology less and less over the past five years: the decreasing human quality of the human protagonists and antagonists in many of the stories. It's not just that there are too many post-human stories, or near post-human. It's also that even when the characters are ostensibly human, they might as well be robots, psychopaths/sociopaths, or simply amoral but not necessarily logical characters. Whatever the flavor, I find that I can't care less about them, or what happens to them. I'm very much in favor of alien or alien-like characters and contexts, but when it's just another so-called human going against another one, I'd rather watch Battlestar Galactica reruns.

Aneil Mishra
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