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Year's Best SF 9 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction))
 
 

Year's Best SF 9 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction)) [Kindle Edition]

David G. Hartwell , Kathryn Cramer
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The Future Boldly Imagined From Breathtaking New Perspectives

The world as we will know it is far different from the future once predicted in simpler times. For this newest collection of the finest short form SF to appear in print over the preceding year, acclaimed editors and anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have gathered remarkable works that reflect a new sensibility. Courageous and diverse stories from some of the finest authors in the field grace this amazing volume -- adventures and discoveries, parables and warnings, carrying those eager to fly to far ends of a vast, ever-shifting universe of alien worlds, strange cultures, and mind-bending technologies. Tomorrow has never been as spellbinding, terrifying, or transforming as it is here, today, in these extraordinary pages. Hang on!

New tales from:
Kage Baker • Gregory Benford • Terry BissonRick Moody • Michael Swanwick • John Varley and many more

Synopsis

This annual science fiction collection contains stories by many of the biggest names in science fiction. Many of the stories have only been published in magazines before.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 603 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 006057559X
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (13 Oct 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC2934
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another year, more great stories 8 July 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of these days, Kage Baker is going to get me into trouble. Not personally, of course (having never had the honour of meeting the lady), but her stories. See, the problem is that I'm such a big fan of hers that I now have to track down every thing she has written and at least read it. I happened upon this year's edition of Year's Best SF, the ninth, and saw that she had a story in it. Of course, this meant I had to buy it. However, doing this leaves me at the mercy of the rest of the stories. I'm not a big fan of hard SF stories, and I prefer fantasy to science fiction in any case. Will I have paid a lot of money (especially with Canadian prices) for a book that I only like 20 pages out of 500? Would this be the time that she's cost me more money then I want to spend?
Thankfully, no. While I didn't care for every story in Year's Best SF 9, I did like them well enough to thoroughly recommend the book. At 500 pages, there's a lot of stories in here, varying from hard science fiction to near-future character-driven stories, and everything in between. While Baker's story, "A Night on the Barbary Coast," is among the best stories in the collection, I would have to say that the best is actually John Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons."
Baker's story is another in the continuing adventures of The Company, where a bunch of immortal cyborgs try to make money for the time-traveling Dr. Zeus Corporation by harvesting soon to be extinct species of plants and animals, as well as other rare items that will eventually disappear. In this story, Joseph needs the botanist Mendoza to help him identify a rare fungus related to a quartz deposit that the Company wants in California.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Good and Some Very Good SF Stories 8 Jun 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Working my way backward through the Year's Best SF series, I have arrived at number nine. I enjoyed most of these twenty stories. The story introductions were of the usual high quality--I fear that Hartwell and Cramer are spoiling me in this regard. I take for granted how well they prepare me to understand each author, each author's other works, and the story to come in such brief, readable introductions. I may wander around disoriented in lesser anthologies, unable to find my way without them.

My five favorite stories from the collection are:

Most of Octavia Butler's "Amnesty" takes place in a group job interview as a long-time employee of the very alien "Communities" explains to six new recruits what they can expect. The aliens are imaginatively alien, the humans are all too human, and the flashbacks are very instructive. I can't believe that my favorite story basically takes place in a corporate meeting.

John Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons" introduces aliens whose strangeness is based on their superficial similarity to humans. Suddenly the Earth is host to successive lines of identical, mannequin-like figures combing the environment for butterflies. They can't be destroyed, don't have much to say, and are relentlessly thorough. There is nothing to do but wait for the last one to finish.

Gregory Benford's "The Hydrogen Wall" lets us look over the shoulder of Ruth, a trainee librarian trying to communicate with the Sagittarius Architecture, an unfathomably complex artificial intelligence downloaded from a space transmission. We are reminded that communication is two-way, and that hidden agendas are often the important ones.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another year, more great stories 8 July 2004
By David Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of these days, Kage Baker is going to get me into trouble. Not personally, of course (having never had the honour of meeting the lady), but her stories. See, the problem is that I'm such a big fan of hers that I now have to track down every thing she has written and at least read it. I happened upon this year's edition of Year's Best SF, the ninth, and saw that she had a story in it. Of course, this meant I had to buy it. However, doing this leaves me at the mercy of the rest of the stories. I'm not a big fan of hard SF stories, and I prefer fantasy to science fiction in any case. Will I have paid a lot of money (especially with Canadian prices) for a book that I only like 20 pages out of 500? Would this be the time that she's cost me more money then I want to spend?
Thankfully, no. While I didn't care for every story in Year's Best SF 9, I did like them well enough to thoroughly recommend the book. At 500 pages, there's a lot of stories in here, varying from hard science fiction to near-future character-driven stories, and everything in between. While Baker's story, "A Night on the Barbary Coast," is among the best stories in the collection, I would have to say that the best is actually John Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons."
Baker's story is another in the continuing adventures of The Company, where a bunch of immortal cyborgs try to make money for the time-traveling Dr. Zeus Corporation by harvesting soon to be extinct species of plants and animals, as well as other rare items that will eventually disappear. In this story, Joseph needs the botanist Mendoza to help him identify a rare fungus related to a quartz deposit that the Company wants in California. Their personal relationship has always been rocky, ever since Joseph forced her to sit and watch her English lover be burned at the stake, rather than intervene, in the 1550s. The story takes a nice twist at the end, but as ever Baker's strength is in the characterization, and the banter between the two protagonists. Mendoza is as anti-social as ever and Joseph is just as witty as he always is. It made me even more anxious for the next installment of the Company books.
Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons" is the story of an unstoppable line of alien beings, humanoid and apparently holding hands, are sweeping across the country, and ultimately, the planet. They are harvesting the world's butterflies for some unknown reason. Dr. Richard Lewis, an insect expert, is called upon to see if he can figure out why they are doing this. Slowly, with the help of other people (including a mathematical specialist), what these aliens are doing dawns on them, with possibly horrific consequences. I found this story fascinating, with the alien scourge being very mysterious and intriguing. There were a couple moments where I laughed, but the ending left me very cold, but in a good way. I even shivered. Now *that's* getting the reader involved in the story!
There are definitely some other good ones too. There's Allen M. Steele's "The Madwoman of Shuttlefield," the story of a musician befriending an old hermit in a run-down section of a far-off colony world where the original colonists aren't too happy with the influx of new people. There's also "The Waters of Meribah" by Tony Ballantyne, which involves the creation of an alien species by turning a rapist into one. The end result isn't quite what the scientists expected. Finally, there's "Night of Time," by Robert Reed. This is a story of a man whose job it is to restore memories, and how an alien known for remembering everything has come to him because he has forgotten one small item. The character work in this story is great, with special kudos for the alien's assistant, whose earliest memories appear to be of food and feasts. As with most of these stories, there's a nice twist near the end to lead the reader down a different path then expected. Most of the other stories certainly had their strong moments and I enjoyed reading them. They just weren't the best.
The only exceptions were some of the harder SF stories, and that could very well just be a matter of personal taste. Even these stories, however, were interesting in their own way. Stephen Baxter's "The Great Game" is the only one that I really had a problem with other than that, and it's mostly to do with the one-dimensional aspect of the story. A military team is inserted onto a planet to extract an academician who has been studying the planet's problems to see if the Xeelee are involved. If so, a war could erupt. This is an anti-war story that portrays something like the military industrial complex here on Earth, but makes the general in favour of starting the war way too obvious. It's a caricature more than a character.
If you like your science fiction in short doses, this is a great anthology. I am not as versed in the science fiction field as I am fantasy, but I'd say there's definitely a good cross-section of the best of the field in 2003. The stories are definitely interesting, and if there's better stuff out there, then the field is pretty healthy. Highly recommended.
David Roy
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshment for a Post-Nebula Fan 8 July 2004
By R. Key - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What I like best about science fiction is its vast facility for plot, setting, tone, and characters--the essences of story-telling. I like my stories far-flung, imaginative, and well-crafted. That's what I like about this book. I virtually never hand out 5-star ratings, but for a good read at a value price, I think this collection's hard to beat... a star in the series and good on its own.

For many years I read the Nebula Award winners as examples of the best science fiction had to offer. Over the past several years, though, I feel like the Nebulas have steadily gone downhill, and I've reluctantly stopped buying those anthologies. I've transferred my annual purchase allegiance to this series, and this is my favorite of the nine hands down.

The tales by Joe Haldeman, John Varley, and Michael Swanwick alone are worth the price, and those in-between don't bore. In addition, Rick Moody's volume-ending novella is one of the best tales to spin off the elusive-reality themes that Philip Dick wove in "Palmer Eldritch" and "Ubik" that I've ever read, and that's high praise for me. Caveats: Not all stories worked for me (true for any anthology). Hartwell emphasizes that his selections are science-based, but hard science isn't a threshold requirement and I think he now simply means he doesn't include Fantasy (one here borders on magic realism). Finally, veteran SF readers will recognize most all the writers... in other words, the authors mostly have been around awhile, and few new or unfamiliar writers made the cut, as usual. But the $8 I spent on this was a bargain, and those who want an entertaining cross-section of the genre with bang for the buck will likely find more than a few stories to like here.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butler, Swanwick, and others deliver some great tales 13 July 2005
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Year's Best SF 9," edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, collects 20 stories into a 500 page anthology. The stories range in length from 6 to 71 pages. Some of the highlights are as follows.

"Amnesty," by Octavia E. Butler: looks at relations between humans and a radically different intelligent species of communal life forms that have invaded Earth. This story deals with issues of power, control, language, and communication; it is as penetrating and thought-provoking as Butler's other great works. "Birth Days," by Geoff Ryman: explores human reproduction, homosexuality, and biological research and experimentation. "Ej-Es," by Nancy Kress: a very moving story about a team investigating a seemingly failed human colony; the story addresses themes of disease, communication, cultural difference, and the human brain. "Rogue Farm," by Charles Stross: a funny tale about a farming couple defending their property against a mutant creature; this story is full of bizarre dialogue and images. "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons," by John Varley: an entomologist is enlisted to discover the meaning behind an invasion of the Earth by weird, butterfly-collecting aliens. This story refers to and cleverly builds on the ideas in the science fiction classic "Flatland."

Also worthy of note--"The Day We Went Though the Transition," by Ricard de la Casa and Pedro Jorge Romero: a time travel story with a Spanish setting. This story also deals with terrorism. "A Night on the Barbary Coast," by Kage Baker: a colorful, highly entertaining tale about a pair of time-traveling cyborgs--who also happen to be father and daughter--on an adventure in 19th century San Francisco. "The Madwoman of Shuttlefield," by Allen M. Steele: a story of life in a human colony on a distant planet. This is a full-bodied, richly evocative tale that covers many aspects of life in the colony--food, architecture, government, etc. Steele creates memorable characters and powerfully drawn human relationships.

But my favorite piece in the anthology is the brilliant "Coyote at the End of History," by Michael Swanwick. This cluster of five short fable-like tales, reminiscent of Native American animal trickster tales, tells about Coyote and his relations with the "Star People." Sort of like folk tales from a distant future, these Coyote tales are ironic, deliciously funny, and surprisingly poignant. Overall, "Year's Best SF 9" is a wonderfully diverse and mind-expanding anthology. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with the science fiction genre in the first place. This collection offers excellent examples of why the short story is such an ideal format for science fiction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader 30 Jan 2008
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The editors state : "We have remarked in the past that the average paperback anthology of fantasy or SF does not contain as many good stories as the average issue of Asimov's or Fantasy & Science Fiction."

Can't disagree with that. In general, those magazines do rate more highly than your standard original anthology for fiction.

An interesting strategy they seem to be pursuing is publishing the odd non-English work, translated. This year it seems that was a bit easier with a specific volume already done, Cosmos Latinos, and a couple of stories here come from that.

Live Without a Net, Stars, and Space, Inc. are anthologies mentioned. Anders, Resnick and Czerneda.

This volume is easily the lowest rated of the Hartwell anthologies so far, and only a 3.55 average, with a lot of decent, and a few average or worse, and nothing standing out.

Stating in the past that they are only choosing obvious SF gets a bit wobbly with the Swanwick, etc., I think.

Year's Best SF 09 : Amnesty - Octavia E. Butler
Year's Best SF 09 : Birthdays - Geoff Ryman
Year's Best SF 09 : The Waters of Meribah - Tony Ballantyne
Year's Best SF 09 : EJ-ES - Nancy Kress
Year's Best SF 09 : Four Short Novels - Joe Haldeman
Year's Best SF 09 : Rogue Farm - Charles Stross
Year's Best SF 09 : The Violet's Embryos - Angélica Gorodischer
Year's Best SF 09 : Coyote at the End of History - Michael Swanwick
Year's Best SF 09 : In Fading Suns and Dying Moons - John Varley
Year's Best SF 09 : Castaway - Gene Wolfe
Year's Best SF 09 : The Hydrogen Wall - Gregory Benford
Year's Best SF 09 : The Day We Went Through the Transition - Ricard de la Casa and Pedro Jorge Romero
Year's Best SF 09 : Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers - Cory Doctorow
Year's Best SF 09 : Night of Time - Robert Reed
Year's Best SF 09 : A Night on the Barbary Coast - Kage Baker
Year's Best SF 09 : Annuity Clinic - Nigel Brown
Year's Best SF 09 : The Madwoman of Shuttlefield - Allen M. Steele
Year's Best SF 09 : Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert
Year's Best SF 09 : The Great Game - Stephen Baxter
Year's Best SF 09 : The Albertine Notes - Rick Moody

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Year's Best SF in Years 13 May 2006
By S. Gambarin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been reading Year's Best book from Year's Best SF 3. I was somewhat disappointed with stories in SF 7 and 8, but SF 9 delivers extremely interesting and thoughtful stories. I really enjoyed stories by Gene Wolfe, George Benford, and my favorite "Four Short Stories" by Joe Haldeman. Buy and read this book, you will not be disappointed.
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