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Year's Best SF 2 Mass Market Paperback – May 14, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Editor David G. Hartwell started this annual anthology series because he felt that the "other" best science fiction anthology (The Year's Best Science Fiction) included stories that weren't quite science fiction. Now in its second year, this anthology is proving that there is plenty of great "traditional" work being published in the field, and enough good stories to go around for both anthologies (although there is some overlap between them). In this edition Hartwell showcases talents such as Terry Bisson, James Patrick Kelly, Gene Wolfe, and Allen Steele. No matter how you define science fiction, you'll find something of interest in this excellent collection.

About the Author

David G. Hartwell is a Senior Editor at Tor/Forge Books. He is the proprietor of Dragon Press, publisher and bookseller, which publishes The New York Review of Science Fiction. He is the author of Age of Wonders and the editor of many anthologies, including The Dark Descent, Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment, The World Treasury of Science Fiction, Northern Stars, The Ascent of Wonder (co-edited with Kathryn Cramer), and a number of Christmas anthologies. Recently he edited his sixth annual paperback volume of Year's Best SF and co-edited the new Year's Best Fantasy. He has won the Eaton Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Science Fiction Chronicle Poll and has been nominated for the Hugo Award twenty-four times to date.

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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best SF (Science Fiction) (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1- edition (May 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061057460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061057465
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,758,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maciej TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 11, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
1996 was clearly a particularly good year for science-fiction, because both main yearly anthologies on the market presented a particularly strong selection. This second volume of David G. Hartwell's yearly collections is as good as Gardner Dozois anthology - which in 1996 was really good (see my review of this one).

This anthology doesn't have the yearly review and "honourable mentions' list offered by Dozois. It is also less voluminous than Dozois mastodons and more focused on short stories, instead of novellas. Still, there is twenty stories to discover here and almost all of them are good, some indeed are very good. Also, only three out of twenty stories figured also in Dozois selection - therefore it is still worth to purchase both of those 1996 anthologies.

Hartwell clearly has a rather "classical" taste and therefore you will find here less freakishly weird stories, which sometimes overwhelm Dozois collections to the point of making them difficult to read. In this book, the stories are in general not very different from those you could read in the 60s and 70s - and sometimes even the classics from the 40s and 50s.

Below, you will find more of my impressions, with limited SPOILERS!
"After a Lean Winter" by Dave Wolverton - couple of years after Martian invasion described by H.G. Wells a handful of human survivors meet for a winter "conclave" in Alaska; author deliberately (and successfully) imitated Jack London's style... A good, solid story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second volume of David Hartwell's annual anthology of science fiction stories. It contains twenty stories, each with an introduction to the story's author and the author's other works. The first volume in Hartwell's series was a good beginning; this one sets the pattern for a great series.

My five favorite stories are listed below.

Dave Wolverton's "After a Lean Winter" is very consciously H. G. Wells's content written in the style of Jack London. There's more to it than a mid-winter dog fight.

Sheila Finch's "Out of the Mouths" is about the language and culture that both human and alien children learn as part of growing up. Even when the adults who love them don't quite understand.

Gene Wolf's "Counting Cats in Zanzibar" is about a woman on the run from her past. When it catches up with her, she embraces it.

Bruce Sterling's "Bicycle Repairman" has become a cyberpunk classic. More than anything it is a portrait of a low-key, high-tech social outcast. Well, there is more than one, actually.

Connie Willis' "Nonstop to Portales" pays homage to a Grand Master of science fiction and his vision of the future. And it's a good story about an ordinary man deciding whether to spend time in a little town where nothing seems to happen.

The introductions in this volume, while adequate, are briefer than those found in later volumes. I am glad that this early form changed into the more extended treatment of each author and their other works that is characteristic of later books in this series. Hartwell's longer introductions add a great deal to the reader's enjoyment. This collection is recommended for its well-crafted stories and the editor's good taste in selecting them.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A pretty standard entry for the series. Of course, a standard entry for one of these is basically better than any other SF anthology you could come across, barring the odd rare beast like New Legends or The New Space Opera, or excellent retrospective reprint anthologies like, say, the Best of the Nebulas or the Hard SF Renaissance. This should in no way to be taken to mean that it is an average book.

The average per story is 3.78, which is close to what all the volumes I have come across come out to, overall.

Plenty of good stories, but the one I like the most is Bisson's. Some light-hearted tales to be found here for a change of pace, as well. While of the over 4s there is only 1, there are only 2 under 3.5's to balance that out.

Sometimes it stands out that writers are a bit of an older crowd, you get stories about the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and others in various volumes, so while they are speculating about technology, it isn't often with current media stars involved in the future, in the same way these are done, it seems.

Year's Best SF 02 : After a Lean Winter - Dave Wolverton
Year's Best SF 02 : In the Upper Room - Terry Bisson
Year's Best SF 02 : Thinkertoy - John Brunner
Year's Best SF 02 : Zoomers - Gregory Benford
Year's Best SF 02 : Out of the Mouths - Sheila Finch
Year's Best SF 02 : Breakaway Backdown - James Patrick Kelly
Year's Best SF 02 : Tobacco Words - Yves Meynard
Year's Best SF 02 : Invasion - Joanna Russ
Year's Best SF 02 : The House of Mourning - Brian M.
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