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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326003
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reviewed by Gardner Dozois. In my more than 40 years working in the science fiction publishing industry, I've seen this notion crop up every 10 years or so: Science fiction has exhausted itself. There are no good new writers coming along anymore. The genre is finished! Tor editors Hartwell and Nielsen Hayden thoroughly refute such claims with their huge reprint anthology featuring 34 stories published between 2003 and 2011 by writers who came to prominence since the 20th century changed into the 21st. Here in the second decade of the 21st century, some of these new writers, like Charles Stross, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow, have become big names; others, like Elizabeth Bear, Paolo Bacigalupi, Catherynne M. Valente, and Hannu Rajaniemi, have multiple novels and major awards to their credit; and some, like Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, Tobias S. Buckell, and Vandana Singh, are just starting out, but will almost certainly be among the most recognizable names of the next decade. Twentieth-century Campbellian SF—the sort published in John W. Campbell's Astounding/Analog magazine of the '30s, '40s, and '50s—was often about space travel, colonizing other worlds, space warfare, contact with aliens, and the far future. By contrast, most of these stories stay closer to the present, and many don't leave Earth at all. Common topics include posthumans, interrogations of the nature and existence of human consciousness, and the exponentially expanding possibilities of information-processing and virtuality technologies. There are also many robots and artificial intelligences, including human-mimicking dolls, companions, and sexbots. It's worth noting that many of these authors would have been excluded from Campbell's largely white, male, middle-class American stable of writers. The face of science fiction has changed as well as its subject matter. It's hard to pick favorites with so many good stories on offer, but my personal selections would be Bear's Tideline, in which a dying robot in a devastated war-torn future teaches some of the human survivors how to become more human; Moles's Finisterra, a vivid adventure in which people engage in internecine warfare among huge living dirigibles in a layer of Earthlike atmosphere on a Jupiter-sized planet; and Watts's The Island, in which a work crew building a series of wormhole transport gates across the galaxy encounters a living intelligent creature the size of a sun. I'd like to have seen something by Lavie Tidhar, one of the most exciting new SF writers of the last few years, as well as some work by Aliette de Bodard and Kij Johnson, and while the late Kage Baker certainly deserves to be here, I'm not sure I would have picked Plotters and Shooters, one of her minor works, to represent her. However, these are just quibbles. Twenty-First Century Science Fiction will certainly be recognized as one of the best reprint science fiction anthologies of the year, and it belongs in the library of anyone who is interested in the evolution of the genre. Gardner Dozois has written and edited more than 100 books, has won 15 Hugo Awards for editing, has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and edits the Year's Best Science Fiction, a yearly anthology series.

Review

 

Praise for Twenty-First Century Science Fiction:

 

"A bumper crop of 34 stories from authors who first came to prominence in the 21st century, compiled by two of the most highly respected editors in the business....Grab this book. Whether newcomer or old hand, the reader will not be disappointed." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

"In my more than 40 years working in the science fiction publishing industry, I’ve seen this notion crop up every 10 years or so: 'Science fiction has exhausted itself. There are no good new writers coming along anymore. The genre is finished!' Tor editors Hartwell and Nielsen Hayden thoroughly refute such claims….Twenty-First Century Science Fiction will certainly be recognized as one of the best reprint science fiction anthologies of the year, and it belongs in the library of anyone who is interested in the evolution of the genre." (--Gardner Dozois, Publishers Weekly)

Praise for the editors:

“One of the definitive anthologies of the genre.”
Des Moines Register on The Science Fiction Century

“An editor extraordinaire.” —Publishers Weekly on David Hartwell

“We are in the hands of a loving expert.”
—John Updike on The Hard SF Rennaissance

“The finest collection of SF short stories published specifically for young adult readers in recent memory.” —VOYA on New Skies

“Superior—Nielsen Hayden deserves a medal. There hasn’t been an original anthology series so consistently satisfying since Damon Knight’s Orbit.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Starlight 3


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By G.L. on November 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As anthologies go, this is a good one. The stories were hand-picked to feature sci-fi writers that have come to prominence since the turn of the century. Because of that, there's no unifying theme among these stories, and reading them can feel like a bit of a rollercoaster since they differ from one another quite a lot. While I didn't like some of the stories, there were several that I loved - I'll be reading everything I can find from those authors.

I'm taking 1 star off because of the odd story arrangement (weepy stories in the first half, great hard sci-fi in the back) and the fact that the story synopses were a bit too revealing, ruining the element of surprise to the point where I started skipping them entirely. Here's a brief (and spoiler-free!) description of the stories in this collection:

"Infinities" by Vandana Singh
If Lifetime ever takes over the SciFi channel, the resulting TV shows would look a lot like this story. A tale of a mathematician's sad life, with a lot of math and not a lot of science fiction. A bit of a downer and an odd choice as the anthology's opening story.

"Rogue Farm" by Charles Stross
A hilarious short story about hillbillies of the future, their pot-smoking dogs and rogue space-faring collective farms.

"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi
Another growth&development story, this time about a Laotian refugee. Well written, but the sci-fi elements almost seem to be an after-thought.

"Strood" by Neal Asher
What would our lives be like if super-advanced aliens came a-knocking? Neal Asher's story sounds more plausible than most - and it has a great twist!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rick Panasci on December 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most, but not all stories were less than polished. Some just meandered into an ending. Too many of them kept on using words that were supposed to be "non-human", especially names, but in reality make it damn near impossible to read. No smooth flow.
Saying that, there were some good concepts for story lines. It's good to see what a younger generation thinks SF direction can go. Most of the stories were dark. No good guys coming to the rescue. Everyone,"Me", likes to see a little payback.
Just so you can vent, I'm old,really old. I've read as much SF and Fantasy as I could get my hands on over the years starting in the 50's. I watched every black and white and grainy B movie ever made. This is where I came from, so maybe there is no relevance to "NEW" SF. That's my 2 cents worth or today maybe a quarter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sneaky Burrito on December 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have a love-hate relationship with science fiction. When I was younger, my local library had a special sticker they put on the spines of all science fiction novels that allowed me to find them, mixed in among the general fiction collection. I devoured anything and everything, with little regard for quality.

And then I got a science education (Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry and a Ph.D. in chemistry). Maybe I was just choosing the wrong books at this point, but it seemed like everything I picked up involved impossibilities of genetic engineering, impossibilities of the same physical constant (think e or pi) having different values in the same space, or battles between/among spaceships (which are fun enough to watch on TV or in a movie but which I hate reading about). My science education had made it impossible for me to enjoy science fiction.

It was thus with some trepidation that I approached this collection. I reasoned it was worth giving a try for two reasons: (1) short stories, unlike novels, simply don’t have time to get into nitty-gritty scientific details at a level that would annoy me and (2) I’d read a few of the authors (Jo Walton, Catherynne M. Valente, Alaya Dawn Johnson) and was curious about some of the others based on blogs, etc. (John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow).

In the end, I’m glad I gave this one a chance. The biggest benefit I got out of it (something I hadn’t anticipated) was that it made me think about IDEAS. Not even scientific ideas, in every case, but big-picture, philosophical ideas. For what it’s worth, the science was generally pretty good, too (although, in fairness, I am not an expert in artificial intelligence).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are thirty-four science fiction stories in this book, all published in or since the year 2000. If you both of the “Best of the Year” collections you will have seen seven or eight of them before. They were selected as the best of our century by David Hartwell and Patrick Hayden. I am not familiar with the second editor, but this volume meets my expectations for a Hartwell anthology. Most of the stories are good and I actually learn something about the author from the one-page-or-so introduction to each story.

Here are seven that stood out:

Vandana Singh’s “Infinities” follows Abdul Karim through his life, with occasional side trips into the realm of mathematics where he finds refuge from it. A bonus for readers is how much we learn about the actual mathematics of infinity and prime numbers.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Gambler” shows us future tools for mining global information flow and the kind of audiences, reporters and celebrities who are shaped by them. There is still room for more than one view of what is important.

John Scalzi’s "The Tale of the Wicked" evokes those feelings we sometimes have that our office computers are really running things--and that their errors are intentional.

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

Daryl Gregory's "Second Person, Present Tense" is one of those teen identity stories with a bratty, first person narrator. Actually, it's the second person, in the first person. But the first person isn't in there anymore. Much. Anyway, she really hates her parents.

Yoon Ha Lee’s “A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel” is a reference book from the far future.
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