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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection Paperback – 23 Jul 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 654 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; First edition edition (23 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250029139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250029133
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 458,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection This anthology marks the 27th edition of the award-winning annual compilationof the year's best science fiction stories. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection devoted to what Gardner Dozois considered as best SF published in 2012 is slightly weaker than the one from previous year. It contains mostly average stories and reading it was not always an easy or pleasant thing.

For this collection Gardner Dozois again decided against including long novellas, so thanks God in this collection I didn't have to struggle through 70+ pages juggernauts, which this editor liked so much in the past... In many of previous collections those super-sized novellas were usually also the weakest parts of those anthologies, so here their absence is a very welcome thing. This also allowed Gardner Dozois to offer us as much as 29 stories.

This year, for my personal taste, only three stories could be considered as VERY GOOD: "Old paint", "The Wreck of the 'Charles Dexter Ward'" and "Eater-of-Bone".

On another hand there were only four stinkers: "Memcordist", "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns", "Chitai Heiki Koronbin", "The water thief".

One story, "Holmes Sherlock", I was unable to rate, because I decided not to read it. I hated all previous stories by Eleanor Arnason and I simply didn't have the strength to suffer through another one...

Other stories ranged from GOOD (7) to READABLE (14).

I now read twenty eight Gardner Dozois collections (from third to thirtieth) and if that one certainly was not the worse, it was however somehow - mediocre... 2012 clearly wasn't a good year for SF, maybe because the authors had their minds taken by the approaching end of the world...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Smedley Makepeace on 29 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The usual high quality, eclectic offering from Gardner Dozois. A couple of star turns and a very low turkey count
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By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback
This collection contains twenty-nine science fiction stories published in 2012, selected as the best by experienced science fiction editor and writer Gardner Dozois. The book begins with a Summation of the significant events and influences of the year. As usually, this is an exhaustive review, covering trends across media types and SF subgenres. Dozois notes that e-books have neither faded away nor replaced printed books. People are reading more of both than in years past.

The majority of the book's 654 pages are devoted to the stories, which can be enjoyed without reference to the Summation. Here are my six favorites.

Pat Cadigan's "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi" is entertaining SF at its traditional best--taking a new idea and exploring its implications as a story unfolds around a likeable character. An injured girl working in Jupiter orbit decides to transfer to the body of a genetically-enhanced octopoid. Just like her friends.

Richard Lovett and William Gleason's "Night on the Peak of Eternal Light" visits a sparsely-settled Moon that depends partially on the tourist trade from Earth. The permanent settlers see their world differently than their visitors. Each of them has a story and some of them have troubling secrets.

Brit Mandelo's "The Finite Canvas" is a well-executed story-within-a-story. An assassin visits a clinic with an unusual request. She wants a tattoo to commemorate her latest and last killing. As partial payment, she tells the doctor her story during the painful procedure.

Adam Roberts' "What Did Tessimond Tell You?" asks a question and then teases the reader about the answer until the story's end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 46 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
A Few Good Stories Here and There 24 Aug 2013
By Todd O'Rourke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Okay, so there were quite a few stories that stick out as poorly written, and unoriginal. For the sake of keeping this review at a reader friendly length, I will skip the stories that I deemed as "bad," and give you some information on the good ones.

My favorite story in this Annual is Steven Popkes' "Sudden, Broken, and Unexpected", which is a fairly unusual story for this volume, being about AI and music in a non-dystopian near future. For me, this story works well because it creates a "gray" protagonist who is interesting and real, and manages to avoid the pitfalls of music-in-story while also being a good exploration of AI and, not incidentally, of humanity. This isn't a particularly original story conceptually, but it's one of the best examples of it.

One of my next favorite stories is Pat Cadigan's "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi". The title derives from the slang of the characters which means that a biologically standard human being who is working out in space suffers an accident and decides to have herself modified like most of her co-workers have been - most people take space-octopus forms but there are several, each with their own talents and sociological features. This is a high-tech futuristic story in which things are far from perfect but it's a reasonably non-dystopian future and the prose style is Cadigan at her caustic breezy best.

Another is the regressive yet sort of brilliant "Close Encounters" by Andy Duncan. This is set in 1977 and deals with a fascinatingly conceived and rendered old man who claims to have been contacted by aliens and his interactions with a professor and some students who are trying to investigate UFOs in a respectable manner.

The last of my group of favorites is Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward." This is an outright horror story as the title makes abundantly clear, about zombies in space (they're everywhere!) and is an action-packed tale that is simultaneously funny and fun while it's being violent and awful.

Final Word: I suspect this is better than most issues of most magazines (and has enough material for at least a half dozen of them) but, by rights, it should be light-years better than any issue of any magazine and it's not. So either this was not a great year for short SF or it doesn't reflect that great year. By my estimate there were 8 stories out of 29 that I would consider "good" quality writing. This means that they had original, well executed plots, careful editing, and concise prose.

I hope that this review has helped you make your decision on purchasing the item.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Thought-provoking Collection of Contemporary Stories 26 July 2013
By Mark Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Well timed for late summer reading, comes this vibrant collection of contemporary sci-fi stories. Although I'm not a hard core sci-fi reader, I was still impressed with the wide range of writing styles and genres in this survey, I found myself reluctant to put this one down. I believe fans of fantasy fiction, like Game of Thrones or the The Best of Philip K. Dick would enjoy also these stories. The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirteenth Annual Collection has varied entries with a sampling of stories about outer space, urban and medieval fantasy, and even comedy. My personal favorite in this collection is Indrapramit Das's "Weep for Day," which is a nightmarish tale about a world split between permanent daytime and nighttime. But whatever your taste may be, the breadth and depth of stories in this collection guarantees you will find plenty to enjoy. A few of the authors include: Troy Denning, Anthony Ryan, A Lee Martinez, Kate Griffin, Paul McAuley, and Robert Reed.

Science fiction has a profound ability to assess the present and predict the progression of society with alarming accuracy. I am especially interested in how newer works like these compare to classics--sure technology has changed over time, but the general concepts remain the same. This is a great collection of stories full of insight and thrills.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I read these all my life. This is the worst one. 17 Dec 2013
By wheeeeee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, the editor has this annoying habit of giving away key elements of the story in his introduction to the story.

"This following story is about a family who owns a dog and the dog gets shot at the end of the story and everyone is sad. Enjoy!"

Uh... thanks?

Why not do your author info at the end of the story as some other editors do?

Secondly the average quality of the stories in this volume is pathetic compared to past collections. Some long dreary novellas that bored the heck out of me. Maybe two that interested me enough that I'd buy books by the authors.

For me this has been something to look forward to for 20 years as I read every one of these in the past (not only this collection but the other major collections). Having a nice thick book of sheer pleasure is great. Unfortunately this is a nice thick book of sheer disappointment.

Not the editor's fault as he is capable but I think more of a reflection of the status quo on the short story writing field for SF. Maybe into a downward spiral.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Stories, and a Great Market Report 30 Oct 2013
By Neodoering - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I like about this anthology the most is the market report that Gardner Dozois does in the beginning. He goes over sci-fi movies, novels, television shows, short story magazine markets, and obituaries of sci-fi personalities. It's a thorough market report, and it gives me an idea of what's happened in the realm of science fiction during the previous year. It looks like 2012 was overall a good year for science fiction, with sales up and product flowing. It wasn't the best of years in movies, but it was good for novels. The short story markets were down (again), a trend that has been continuing for some time. People don't seem to be into short fiction these days. Remember during the Victorian era, when short stories were published in the newspapers? Also, serialized novels? Lots has changed since then, folks. The magazines are struggling these days, trying to put out quality product on a shoestring budget with ever-declining sales. These magazines are where many writers cut their teeth and learn their craft, and as they fold and go out of business, that's fewer markets for writers to submit to. Finally, there are the obituaries, which are always sobering. Last year Anne McCaffrey passed away, this year it's Clifford Simak's son who has died. I'm always saddened by how many young people in their 40s and 50s die each year, their lives cut short way before their time. This report is the most comprehensive one I know of in any anthology, and it catches me up on what's going on in the field.

Then there are the stories themselves. This year's crop is superb, with stories by many well-known writers as well as some newcomers. There are some very strong stories in this anthology, as well as some more formulaic tales and a few which I didn't feel were up to speed. I was pleased to note that there weren't too many repeat stories in this volume, that is stories which were also published in other anthologies. I hate paying good money for repeats; I don't read them, and therefore it's cash wasted. I especially like Paul McAuley's new Jackaroo universe story, and a tale by Jay Lake entitled "The Stars Do Not Lie," which had a fresh feel to it despite time-worn themes. I was mildly annoyed by the formula pieces, which I do not find satisfying, such as "Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light," which was a paint-by-numbers sci-fi that bored me even though it was fast-paced and somewhat exciting. Overall I found the quality of these stories to be high, and I enjoyed reading this anthology, so I'll be buying it again next year. I've been reading this particular anthology for many years now and have always enjoyed it; I think Gardner Dozois has a good eye for science fiction and puts out a good book every year. I'll be saddened when its *his* obituary in the market report...! I can recommend this compendium to serious readers of science fiction as well as writers looking to see what the state of the market is these days. Read it, and enjoy!
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Dozois' Latest Among the Best of His Annuals 1 Sep 2013
By Zisi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm about halfway though this mammoth (300,000 words) anthology of the year's best SF, editor Dozois' latest. Nearly all the stories I've read are well-written and entertaining, and a few are outstanding. My favorites (so far) are Lavie Tidhar's "Memcordist" and "Under the Eaves," Paul McAuley's "The Man," Pat Cadigan's "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi," Alastair Reynolds' "The Water Thief," and Robert Charles Wilson's "Fireborn."

This anthology is a terrific treat for all SF readers, even for those who usually read only novels. The short story, they'll discover, is as exciting and rich as SF in its longer form (more so in my opinion). And for new-be writers who want to break into the field, Dozois' annual anthologies are essential reading.

And for those who only occasionally (or never) read SF, this collection will remind them what they've been missing.
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