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The Year's Best Science Fiction, Seventeenth Annual Collection Paperback – August 5, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Item Weight : 1.95 pounds
- Paperback : 696 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312264178
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312264178
- Dimensions : 6.36 x 1.71 x 9.22 inches
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (August 5, 2000)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,607,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Especially liked Mount Olympus by Ben Bova( my favorite in this edition as I'm a life member of the Mars Society).Can you imagine the excitement of flying an aircraft on Mars to the largest volcano in the solar system, climbing into it, discovering the volcano is not totally dead and finding life and trapped liquid water.
Also like 10 16 to 1 by James Patrick Kelley and a time funnel story about a big money recreational program to see real Dinos in the past gone terribly wrong by a man's son getting eaten by a T Rex.
At the end of the book is a good list of honorable mentions. Also Gardner lists some of the other works and awards by the various authors before each story. If you like a particular author or story there is info for you to go find and read other works by the same author.
No collection of stories is going to have all 5 star ratings of all stories for all readers. Buy the book. Most of the stories you probably will like. I liked this book so much I'm going to get different years collection of The Years Best Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois at reduced prices.
Wonderful boook, as usual -- I like this anthology series. But my first copy has a binding error! I can't read two stories.
Also, Dozois tends to include items that I personally would consider as fantasy rather than sci-fi. But there's plenty of "hard science" to go around. The final story "Son Observe the Time" was particularly riveting to me.
Top reviews from other countries
This collection includes as usual an overview of what happened in SF (largely understood) in 1999 and at the end there is also the very useful section of "honorable mentions" - stories which couldn't be selected for this collection because of lack of space (and this is already a HUGE book!), but which were also of good quality. As usual those two elements are VERY precious for compilation of reading lists...
Unlike in previous years, in this anthology all stories are really SF or at least alternate history - there is no modern fantastic or simply "classical" literature with some vague fantastic elements (magic realism). It is a welcome development, but it is a pity that the collection is so weak.
Below you will find my more detailed impressions about the stories, with some limited SPOILERS:
"The Wedding Album" by David Marusek - let's imagine that we can scan all the data contained in the brain of a human being, and then we download it into virtual reality in which this data is contained in an exact copy of the body; what would be the status of such entity? A simple "backup" copy? A toy? A "souvenir"? Or maybe it should be assimilated to a human being and allowed to live its "life" as it wants... This story is rather well written and very original - but I found it also too long, tiring, depressing and by moments too confusing.
"Ten16 to 1" by James Patrick Kelly - a young boy living in time of Cuban Missiles Crisis meets a... well, it is not very clear what exactly he meets, but it will change his life forever. Well written, but as far as my taste is concerned with an abysmally IDIOTIC conlusion
"Winemaster" by Robert Reed - this is a story about people willingly giving up their bodies in order to be downloaded into virtual reality - and there seems to be an aggressive movement of intolerance against them - this is about as much as I understood from a couple of first pages, before being terribly confused and bored by the rest of this short story.
"Galactic North" by Alastair Reynolds - this story began quite well, as a kind of modern "space opera" with extremely dangerous, sadistically cruel and quite credible "space pirates" preying on commercial ships they lure to a deadly trap; but in the second part it became a chaotic nonsense which bored me almost to death
"Dapple: A Hwarhath Historical Romance" by Eleanor Arnason - a story about an alien culture in which everybody is homosexual; women marry women, men marry men; women seem also to be the dominant caste in this world, but there are still some things they are not allowed to do - this is the story of a young female who will rebel against this tabu; this is basically a "feel good" story for homosexual people - me, I didn't like it much.
"People Came from Earth" by Stephen Baxter - a terminally depressing short story about last human survivors living (and slowly dying away) on Moon after Earth was destroyed. I didn't like it at all.
"Green Tea" by Richard Wadholm - a honest "hard science" story about a crime and a vengeance; I can not say I understood all of it, as much of it concerns some very advanced physics, but after the four previous bad or very bad stories this one was a much welcome relief
"The Dragon of Pripyat" by Karl Schroeder - a socially awkward private eye specialized in high technology jobs is hired to solve a complex criminal puzzle - the only problem is that the key to the mystery can be found only in the contaminated area around Chernobyl... A honest, solid SF story.
"Written in Blood" by Chris Lawson - this, finally, is a very good SF story; Muslims around the world get the Coran written in their blood, by using an alphabet derived from DNA; this act of piety and devotion can have however quite unexpected consequences... This very controversial story is certainly a welcome reminder of how potentially dangerous can be genetic research if used by some REALLY evil people...
"Hatching the Phoenix" by Frederik Pohl - even if he was 80 when publishing this novella, Frederik Pohl was still in great shape; this rather well written story is part of his Heechee cycle; an extremely rich and rather unpleasant woman and her annoying computer friend/servant come to supervise a unique experiment, which she financed; the story itself is rather banal and the ending anti-climactic, but it is still a pleasure to read this novella
"Suicide Coast" by M. John Harrison - a very depressing story about a paraplegic man searching more and more refuge in the virtual reality - and about his wife, who slowly deperishes with him
"Hunting Mother" by Sage Walker - a ship carrying human colonists is on its long way towards an alien planet, which could be more or less suitable for people to live on it; but in order to maintain the balance of resources on the ship during its voyage (which lasts many generations) people are gradually modified - and then even more drastic measures must be taken... A honest, solid SF story.
"Mount Olympus" by Ben Bova - in a relatively near future astronauts land on Mars and attempt, among other things, to explore the Mount Olympus - a task even more dangerous than they initially believe. A good, honest SF story.
"Border Guards" by Greg Egan - the only thing I managed to understand from this story is that it was more or less about immortality - all the rest eluded me and as the result I had very hard time even finishing it. Boring and confusing, this is one of the weakest things in this collection.
"Scherzo with Tyrannosaur" by Michael Swanwick - a time travel business organises a very expensive dinner for billionnaires - 65 millions years ago... For the boss of the company it will have some very unexpected consequences. A quite good time-travel story, the only one which makes at least an attempt at some humour.
"A Hero of the Empire" by Robert Silverberg - this alternate history produced by a veteran writer is the BEST story in the collection. Somewhere in the XIV century AUC (at urbe condita), in a world in which Western Roman Empire was never destroyed (and Christianity never appeared), a Roman aristocrat is exiled to the wild deserts of Arabia, to the city of Mecca, where he meets a young charismatic preacher of a new religion, named Muhammad... A very well written, very well researched and very clever story. Enjoy!
"How We Lost the Moon. A True Story by Frank W. Allen" by Paul J. McAuley - a scientific experiment on the hidden face of the Moon goes horribly wrong - a man who saw this happening from the first to the last moment gives here his testimony for posteriority. A honest SF story.
"Phallicide" by Charles Sheffield - a woman who was born and raised in a city-sized compound of a particularly loathsome cult struggles to escape, together with her 13 year old daughter. This story of a lonely fight of a young mother against a band of pedophile rapists could be a little masterpiece, if it was not for the confusing ending. Still, a rather good SF story.
"Daddy's World" by Walter Jon Williams - this is I believe the first story by this otherwise excellent author which I didn't like; a young boy lives in a perfect world - in fact, maybe this world is TOO perfect...; troubled and confused, the boy starts to look for answers. I found this story both weak and depressing and I didn't like it at all.
"A Martian Romance" by Kim Stanley Robinson - a terraforming operation on Mars went terribly wrong; a bunch of old friends gather to remember better times on the planet. A rather boring, weak story.
"The Sky-Green Blues" by Tanith Lee - a human woman and her alien lover run away from some catastrophy, which is never really explained; it is definitely not a very good thing, but it is nevertheless always a pleasure to read a story written by the Queen of Dark Fantasy.
"Exchange Rate" by Hal Clement - a very VERY long novella about a human space ship trying to trade with a strange race of aliens living on a seismically very agitated and dynamic world; it is much too long and so poorly written, that I couldn't even understand well what is happening and what the ending means
"Everywhere" by Geoff Ryman - possibly the weakest and certainly the weirdest story about a future world in which artificial intelligence rules the world and manages lives of all people, talking to them through their watches. I read it and I completely couldn't understand what it was REALLY about and what the ending meant
"Hothouse Flowers" by Mike Resnick - a pretty tough, even sadistic story, about a world in which people can live as long as 200 years - but most of it is spend in nursing homes in a state of most advanced senility... A good, albeit pretty morbid story, with a shocking ending.
"Evermore" by Sean Williams - on a broken interstellar ship a crew of human "copies" downloaded into a computer are trying to find a way to escape the prison in which they "lived" for the last thousand years. An idea full of possibilities, but poorly executed. Ultimately, a disappointment.
"Of Scorned Women and Causal Loops" by Robert Grossbach - the SECOND best story in the collection; hell hath no fury as a woman-scorned - and it only can get worse if the woman-scorned is a quantum physicist... A good, short SF story. Enjoy!
"Son Observe the Time" by Kage Baker - a pretty non-sensical story about a company of time-travelling Immortals who rescue humanity treasures from great catastrophies, like the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. There is a villain in this story, but his motivations and actions are so idiotic, that the whole second part of this thing is simply ridiculous.
CONCLUSION: This is not a succesful collection - there is too many weak stories and too few good ones. Together with the thirteenth volume, this is the weakest Dozois anthology amongst those from years 1983-1999.