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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection Paperback – July 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection" "This smorgasbord of thought-provoking fiction ensures that any reader will likely find something appealing." --Publishers Weekly"Gardner Dozois's long-running "best of" series is rightly a favorite...The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection, for all its bulk, is charmingly eclectic...Mr. Dozois picks fiction that deserves to be better known to a wide audience." --"The Wall Street Journal"Praise for Gardner Dozois and "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-sixth Annual Collection" "This is a worthy addition to a venerable series." -"Publishers Weekly""For more than a quarter century, Gardner Dozois's "The Year's Best Science Fiction" has defined the field. It is the most important anthology, not only annually, but overall." --Charles N. Brown, publisher of "Locus Magazine"

About the Author

GARDNER DOZOIS has been working in the science fiction field for more than thirty years. For twenty years he was the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction, during which he received the Hugo Award for Best Editor fifteen times.


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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Science Fiction (Book 29)
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 29th edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003555
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003553
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Cook on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I know I'll be flamed for saying this (because everyone who reads sf is an expert in sf--and everything else on the planet} but there weren't any stories in this anthology that were any fun. I read every one of Gardner's anthologies when they come out and they do tend to reflect his preference for trope-laden, complex stories that are bereft of metaphor and satire. I started reading SF when I was eleven (in 1961) and the one thing that has always drawn me to science fiction was that it was fun to read. I couldn't wait until the next issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction came out or the latest Ace Science Fiction book by Philip K. Dick. These stories, though, don't seem to be written for readers younger than the age of 30. Nowhere in this book are stories that are as focused and as simple as those of Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov or Henry Kuttner or Cordwainer Smith--or even stories by Ellison, Zelazny or Delany. I think somewhere in the 1980s, when Dozois started editing Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, editors, Dozois included, started publishing stories that were complex and wordy; stories that were heavy on world-building and layered with one conceit or trope after another. Simple story-telling has fallen off the map, it seems. Some stories in this collection absolutely baffled me. There's a story by Catherynne M. Valente, evidently one of our newer luminaries that so baffled me that I read it twice and still couldn't understand it. (Of course, I read Mitchell's Cloud Atlas last year and I still am unable to tell anyone what it's about). I've taught Pynchon, Rushdie, and John Fowles and they're a delight, even when they're difficult. But the stories in this collection by Dozois are uniformly tedious and mostly unforgettable.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this collection of thirty-five science fiction stories from 2011, Gardner Dozois once again identifies the best stories of the year. As is customary, he begins with a summation of the significant events and influences of the year. The big story of 2011 was the continuing growth of the e-book market, estimated to account for 40 percent of all book sales by 2012. This was accompanied by a decline of print SF magazines and corresponding growth in online magazines. Gardner is encyclopedic in his descriptions of both print and online sources.

And then there are the stories. For some reason all of my favorites in this collection featured a strong relationship between two main characters. In some cases it is based on love; in some it is clearly something else. Here are my five favorites.

Carolyn Ives Gilman's "The Ice Owl" passes on what the student Maya learns from her aging tutor, Magister Soren Pregaldin. Some is from his thoughtfully prepared lessons. More is revealed by her clandestine explorations of his rooms while he is away.

Alastair Reynold's "Ascension Day" reminds us of departure's mixed joy and sadness. Captain Lauterecken departs from the planet Rhapsody in his freighter after a ninety-six-year stay. Someone important will not be making the next leg of the journey.

Michael Swanwick's "For I have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I'll Not Be Back Again" is also about a departure. A man visits Ireland a few weeks before leaving Earth forever. He meets Mary with eyes "...as green as water in the well, and as full of dangerous magic."

Yoon Ha Lee's "Ghostweight" is driven by the bond between a living girl and the ghost that accompanies her.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some very good pieces in Gardner Dozois' best of 2011 collection of short science fiction ... but there are also some clunkers and a few yawners. As always, Dozois provides a several-page overview of happenings in the science fiction scene during the year, focusing mainly on changes in outlets for short fiction. He also introduces each story with a little bit of biographical material on the author and some brief comments.

These collections are not themed, but if I had to draw a thread out of this one, I would say it's "We have no control over what is happening to us, so we should probably cringe and hide and hope it blows over." These are stories written toward the tail end of a time of great economic uncertainty and stress, and I'm sure that has affected the writers. Two stories concern wars between alien species that are vastly more advanced than us and that spill over into our solar system in spectacular fashion. Two stories are post-apocalyptic -- one optimistic, one not. One story concerns a grand multi-generational project that faces severe consequences because of expense and changing political priorities back home. Two focus on interstellar wars waged by corrupt Empires for no discernible reason. Several (including a couple I've already mentioned) are about homelessness and rootlessness, both voluntary and involuntary. Some offer more hope than others, and virtually all are at least touched by sadness and regret.

All of the stories/novellas are listed below in the order in which they appear. I've given each a rating on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the best, and I've also marked my five favorites with "***". My average rating for the collection was 3.8, which is not too impressive.
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