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The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011 Edition Paperback – June 5, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: PRIME BOOKS LLC (June 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607012561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012566
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rich Horton assembles a mixed best-of-the-year bag containing both science fiction and fantasy. The collection includes nineteen short stories, four novelettes, and five novella-length stories. There is a roughly equal balance between the two genres, with a few stories of uncertain classification.

My tastes run to science fiction, so four of my five favorites are from this group. They are:

Yoon Ha Lee's "Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain" gets my vote for the best story of the year. A woman guards an ancient weapon that can remove pieces of the past. Large pieces. The dialogue between the two main characters is reminiscent of the book-long bar discussion in The January Dancer.

Amal El-Mohtar's "The Green Book" presents excerpts from an unusual book that corresponds with some of its readers. Read it if you love books.

Peter Watts' "The Things" is a retelling of John Carpenter's "The Thing" from the perspective of... well, the thing. That poor thing.

Robert Reed's "Dead Man's Run" is a murder mystery complicated by the continuing existence of the murdered man's backup created to handle routine phone calls. Of course it has all of his friends' cell phone numbers.

Damien Broderick's "Under the Moons of Venus" is easily the strangest science fiction story in the collection. A man tries to follow most of the human race to Venus. But he can't quite find a ride.

This is a reasonably good collection and worth the reader's time and engagement. I'll admit that reading the fantasy stories temporarily pushed me out of my science fiction rut. Not a bad thing, nor unenjoyed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The stories in this anthology cover a lot of ground. They broach a lot of subjects in both sci-fi and fantasy and present works from many sub-genres. Accordingly, whatever your taste is in speculative fiction, you should find something here to please you. The styles vary a great deal as well, and whether you want something soothing, something jarring, something gritty and ugly or something uplifting to the soul, again you should find something here for you.

I had a few problems with this work, all relatively small but enough to cost it a star. First, I read other "Best of" anthologies, and some of the stories in this one, I've run across before. I don't like buying the same stories over and over again; this is a waste of my money and reading time. Second, one of the drawbacks in an anthology is the very variety I was extolling above. You need an author introduction to each piece, and a story introduction, so you can tell what the story is about and its style, so you can find one you want to read that day. Other anthologies do this, and you can accordingly go through and read the intros to each piece to get a feel for what is where. With this collection there are no intros (there are author bios in the back, not with their stories, which I found annoying), and I found the best approach was simply to flip to page one and start reading straight through. The pleasure in this approach is never knowing what you'll get and enjoying each piece as it comes. The annoyance is having to read each story to know what it's about, so you can't pick pieces to suit your mood for that day. You just have to take your chances. Since it's not much work to provide a couple of sentences summarizing each piece, I would rather the editor do that and let me choose what to read when I want to read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I will confess at the outset that I am of two minds about contemporary science fiction. On the one hand, nearly all the SF being published today is smoothly written, with none of the clunky prose and cardboard characterization that plagued the pulp magazines of the 1940s and 50s. On the other, most of the good SF ideas have already been used, and its harder for today's writers to create the sense of wonder that characterized the field in decades past. Many contemporary authors write in a self-consciously "literary" style that I find off-putting (and sometimes borderline incomprehensible).

This is a *big* anthology, with more than two dozen pieces, including a number of novellas and novelettes, about evenly divided between science fiction and fantasy. I didn't like all the stories-- in fact, I probably liked less than half-- but I still give this book four stars, because it does contain some excellent stories. On the science fiction side, I liked Geoffrey Landis's "The Sultan of the Clouds," an old-fashioned SF tale at heart, for all its modern stylings; "Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Its Glory," by Paul M. Berger, a seemingly-conventional story with a real sting in its tail; and the genuinely odd "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon," by Elizabeth Hand. Peter Watts' "The Things" is a re-telling of John Campbell's "Who Goes There?" (the basis for the movie "The Thing" and its re-makes), this time told from the alien's perspective; the idea sounds cutesy, but the execution is flawless. I bet Campbell would have liked it. Robert Reed's "Dead Man's Run" is a bit overlong, but is a fascinating murder mystery which makes clever use of believable AI technology.

On the fantasy side, I enjoyed "Amor Vincit Omnia," by K.J.
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