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The Year's Best Science Fiction, Thirteenth Annual Collection Hardcover – June, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Once again, Dozois serves up a pleasurable mix of established luminaries as well as the newer stars of the SF realm. In Dan Simmons's "Looking for Kelly Dahl," an elementary school teacher journeys from despair to love with a former student who has the ability to teleport to parallel earths where dinosaurs never fell, no one else exists or the 1970s never ended. Maureen McHugh also offers a tale of redemption in an alternate Civil War era, but this time, the underground railroad rescues white former slave owners who have relocated by the thousands to die of exposure on the frontier. In the tradition of the best SF, Geoff Ryman explores homelessness in a credibly violent future where beggars are routinely crucified by hungry mobs. Fans will especially appreciate Dozois's introduction of talented young writers who have yet to publish their own collections or novels. Notable among these is David Murasek, whose novella, "We Were Out of Our Minds with Joy," imagines the couple of the next century almost having it all?that is, until they are issued a permit to have a child. But the truth is that all of the 24 short stories or novellas are rewarding, which is really the most outstanding feature of this collection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From newcomers to veterans, 22 writers have crafted 24 short stories and novellas recognized for their excellence in themes such as hard science, pulp fiction, and first contact. The writers include Ursula K. LeGuin and Greg Egan, Joe Haldeman, Allen Steele, Poul Anderson, Terry Bisson, Maureen F. McHugh, and Mary Rosenblum. This well-chosen collection of 1995's best sf shorts is highly recommended.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 13th edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312144512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312144517
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,677,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't know what happened here, but most of these other reviews are for the wrong book. Only the three oldest reviews are for the right edition. The Product Description is for the right one(#13) but the Editorial Review by Amazon.com is for #17 as are 15 out of 20 of the Reader Reviews.

The table of contents for #13 is:

A WOMAN'S LIBERATION by Ursula K. Le Guin

STARSHIP DAY by Ian R. MacLeod

A PLACE WITH SHADE by Robert Reed

LUMINOUS by Greg Egan

THE PROMISE OF GOD by Michael F. Flynn

DEATH IN THE PROMISED LAND by Pat Cadigan

THE WHITE HILL by Joe Haldeman

SOME LIKE IT COLD by John Kessel

THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN FUTURE by Allen Steele

THE LINCOLN TRAIN by Maureen F. McHugh

WE WERE OUT OF OUR MINDS WITH JOY by David Marusek

RADIO WAVES by Michael Swanwick

WANG'S CARPETS by Greg Egan

CASTING AT PEGASUS by Mary Rosenblum

LOOKING FOR KELLY DAHL by Dan Simmons

THINK LIKE A DINOSAUR by James Patrick Kelly

COMING OF AGE IN KARHIDE by Ursula K. Le Guin

GENESIS by Poul Anderson

FEIGENBAUM NUMBER by Nancy Kress

HOME by Geoff Ryman

THERE ARE NO DEAD by Terr Bisson

RECORDING ANGEL by Paul J. McAuley

ELVIS BEARPAW'S LUCK by William Sanders

MORTIMER GRAY'S HISTORY OF DEATH by Brian Stableford

There's more than just a few modern classics here.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading in all eleven yearly SF stories collections (from 3rd to 13th) edited by Gardner Dozois, I think that this one, covering stories published in 1995, is the weakest yet.

As in earlier anthologies, for this one Gardner Dozois selected stories which he considered as the best or most important of the given year. This collection includes also a overview of what happened in SF (largely understood) in 1995 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.

This collection is a little different than the previous ones, because this time Gardner Dozois selected mainly stories describing one specific topic - really very very distant futures, sometimes so distant that even human race doesn't exist any more... All those societies are extremely weird - and very unhappy... Of course they all are also totalitarian - God only knows why it is very hard to find a SF story in which a future society is democratic. There is also a larger than usual number of long novellas and some of them are really hard to finish.

Finally, as in all Gardner Dozois yearly anthologies, many of the stories are not exactly SF - some of them are rather alternate history, modern fantastic or simply "classical" literature with some vague fantastic elements (magic realism).

Below you will find my more detailed impressions about the stories, with some limited SPOILERS:
----
"A woman's liberation" by Ursula K.
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Format: Hardcover
These 24 stories from 1995 are arguably the best of the year's science fiction. The book opens with a summary of the year's important events in SF. Each story is introduced by well-written author bio, descriptions of the author's other publications and an enticing story preview. Dozois business as usual.

Four of my favorites:

Joe Haldeman's "For White Hill" seems like just another love story on the home planet Earth. Two lovers are attracted by their different approaches to life.

Greg Egan stretches the imagination with "Wang's Carpets," a new kind of life that exists in the same physical world as humans, but several layers of abstraction away from us. Sort of...

James Patrick Kelly's "Think Like a Dinosaur" has become a classic. Comparisons to Tom Goodwin's "The Cold Equations" are appropriate. I find Kelly's story more chilling. Being able to think--and act--like an alien is a matter of empathy.

Terry Bisson's "There Are No Dead" feels like Stephen King's Stand By Me distilled into a Ray Bradbury short story. It has its own logic.

This is a pretty good collection. There is a range of style and setting to the stories. It's likely that at least one will hit you from an unexpected direction. A friendly hit, most likely. The "Honorable Mentions" at the end of the book point to good stories from 1995 that Dozois couldn't find room for. You might enjoy tracking some of them down.
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By A Customer on August 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
They've said what I wanted to about the stories themselves. I'm odd for younger readers in that I was reading Cordwainer Smith before I'd heard of Card or Bujold. This was therefore a great way to introduce me to great "new" authors like McHugh, Kress, MacLeod, etc. The summations are a great way to see what's going on in the science fiction, & sadly I think magazines may be in worse shape than Dozois indicates. I think he doesn't want to say how bad things are because he doesn't want pity subscriptions. I hope Amazon allows me to mention that some of the Kansas guy's favorite stories are by Poul Anderson & that he meant to say "most loved & most hated" not "most & most hated". If they refuse to print this because I mentioned that then this will be the last time I visit this site! I hate to be melodramatic like that, but I think this Customer Comment thing is a great way to talk about books & I'd hate for a flub to ruin someone's point. Sadly that small digression's probably killed the chance this will appear so to continue I'd like to say Hartwell's is a great complement to this & you should try it too. It's not quite as good, but it has a lot of short humorous work that Dozois tends to lack. I understand Dozois preference for novellas, but it's nice to have a collection of shorter work when you're too busy for novellas. The summary that Dozois has is one of his (Dozois') main advantages since it points you to good books & anthologies you may have missed & tells you about older generation authors that even I'm not familiar with. I said the others said everything about the stories, but I realize that's not quite true. Dozois chooses much more hard sf then people give him credit for.Read more ›
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