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Year's Best SF 2 Mass Market Paperback – May 14, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Second in the series. Wide range of stories, almost impossible not to find several you like. Will be reading some of these again. Off to volume three.Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
I found this book at a used book store. Some of the entries listed on the dust cover intrigued me so I bought it for a buck. Money well spent? Hardly. Read morePublished on July 26, 2008 by An Android Fan
The second in a series for Hartwell. Once again he gathers an eclectic group of Science Fiction writers that cover a wide variety of sub-sections to the genre. Read morePublished on January 20, 2003 by papaphilly
I love the way this collection was put together. All of the stories were well-written and easy to follow, and most of them were quite thought-provoking. Read morePublished on December 19, 2001