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Year's Best SF 10 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction)) Mass Market Paperback – 31 May 2005

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; First THUS edition (31 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060575611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060575618
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.8 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,200,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By spdeveille on 1 Sept. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You like Sci-fi and you like short stories than get this a good book. After reading lots of anthologies over the years I usually come across these books which have 4 or 5 repeat stories but this book only had 1 -`Tourist' which of course is a great short story anyway.

It's a good price and a decent anthology, perfect for travelling and the softback fits perfectly into your jacket pocket.
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By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Working my way backward through David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer's Best SF series, I have just finished reading The Year's Best SF 10. I enjoyed most of these 23 stories although a couple left me wondering what I had missed. Like the "next" book in the series, The Year's Best SF 11, this one enhances the stories with well-written story introductions that contain author bios, pointers to other works, and author web addresses. Good references along with good reading.

My five favorite stories all dealt with a deep love that one character feels for another. This was not a theme of the overall collection, nor a conscious criterion for choosing my top five. I only noticed it after selecting them and mentally reviewing the plotline of each.

Bradley Denton's "Sergeant Chip" describes the bond between an intelligence-enhanced dog and his officer-master. When the moral fog of war closes in, Sergeant Chip's devotion is as important as his intelligence in making the right choices clear.

Terry Bisson's "Scout's Honor" introduces us to an anthropologist who loves the subject she studies. This unfolding passion occurs along with a story of impending change in her life. It's just a matter of when.

Gene Wolf's "Pulp Cover" is a love lost tale about a devoted employee who loses the boss's daughter to a smarter, wealthier, more charming and more handsome suitor. It's understandable that he regards this interloper as an opportunistic monster. It's less understandable that he is chillingly correct.

Sean McMullen's "The Cascade" starts off as a one-night stand following a chance meeting between two science enthusiasts in a bar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Less than stellar 25 July 2005
By R. Key - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The tenth edition suffers from the trouble that hangs around this series: About half its volumes simply don't have truly memorable reading in them. That doesn't make it a waste of time, and this volume isn't one, but it's undistinguished - especially after last year's sparkling collection.

Unremarkable contributions came from frequently reliable writers like Gene Wolfe, Gregory Benford, Pamela Sargent, and James Patrick Kelly. Stories like those by Ray Vukcevich or James Cambias I might not have included at all. Brenda Cooper's and Neal Asher's stories, among others, outshine the ones surrounding them.

I buy the anthology every year because it often contains a couple of stories that raise the whole book's sea level, and it's a good price. I'll buy next year's as well. But when I look back over the line of Year's Best editions on the shelf for one to pick up again, this year's probably will sit right where it does now. If you didn't buy Year's Best 9, try that one first. This one's readable, just not remarkable.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Has It Really Been Ten Years? 9 Feb. 2006
By sfarmer76 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Year's Best SF 10, $7.99 US, will charm readers of the speculative and the fantastic, so I'm pleased to update you on the status of this now decade long series -- which is very capably edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. If you love science fiction, you'll find this anthology stacks up very favorably against the Nebula Awards collection.

Each year, Hartwell and Cramer comb five hundred plus nominees (from multiple sources: books, electronic fiction websites, foreign publishers, magazines) and whittle their selections down to somewhere over twenty stories -- filling 500 pages -- that are usually representative of excellence in the genre. They admit to omitting great novellas each year, due to limited space, but that's to be expected.

A general survey of current contributors reveals: American, Australian, Canadian, English, and French backgrounds among its authors. Previous versions of this anthology have also featured the work of Argentinian, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Scottish writers. Quite surprisingly, no sci-fi from India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, or a number of other English speaking countries, has ever appeared in this series.

Readers of this series known that once Hartwell takes a shine to an author, you'll likely be seeing them in subsequent issues of Year's Best. As good as the works of Robert Reed (6 stories in 10 issues) and Gene Wolfe (7 stories in 10 issues) are, the editorial duo should offer "more diverse selection" as the decade rolls onward.

Some of the best stories included in Year's Best SF 10 are by female writers -- Pamela Sargent, Janeen Webb, Liz Williams, Brenda Cooper -- but in this genre, based strictly on numbers, male writers continue to deny them equal series representation. Loosestrife, by Brighton author Liz Williams, (set in post-global-warming London) was truly my favorite story in this entire anthology.

Burning Day, by Montreal author Glenn Grant, is a perfect marriage of cyberpunk, human prejudice, and the police procedural. Set in a gritty urban landscape riddled by chaos and violence, this graphic story about a terrorist attack -- and the human and android cops that pursue them -- simply sizzles. Buildings that "grew on their own" added just the right touch.

Even if you don't care for SF, you'll like smart stories like Mastermindless, by Vancouver Island's Matthew Hughes, which is set in a far future where science indistinguishable from magic, and magic, coexist. The star in this story is one Henghis Hapthorne, freelance discriminator. Written much in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this story will make you think while you laugh.

Standouts like Pulp Cover, by Illinoian Gene Wolf, can't be missed. Ostensibly a yarn told by a furniture salesman that wishes to remain anonymous, this narrative retells the account of the alien abduction of the woman that he'd once hoped to marry -- Mariel -- and her mysterious reappearance on his front doorstep seven years after she was declared dead.

The Dark Side of Town, by New Hampshire resident James Patrick Kelly is another tale told in the cyberpunk tradition that sparkles. Despite downcast trappings (young couples can't afford children, or homes) this short piece of fiction ends on an upbeat note, when a troubled couple takes refuge in a VR world tailored mapped to their own innermost secret desires.

Since I follow Year's Best, I've got questions about how the Editors determine the final slate. I think it would be a nice touch if David and Kathryn included a list of fifty Honorable Mentions that missed the cut. Basic information like author name, story title, story source, and publication date would be advantageous for both the genre and fandom.

F&SF first published six of the above stories, you'll probably want to subscribe to that digest mag. Asimov's first published four of these stories (before they were included in Year's Best) and that's another monthly worthy of your dollars. These periodicals are struggling to survive because they can't secure enough distribution and sales -- support them because they're great reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2004 wasn't the best year for SF 8 Jun. 2006
By David Roy - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes, it's another year of "Best of" anthologies, and Year's Best SF 10, edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, covers all the best science fiction stories from 2004. Yes, that's right. I'm a year behind. So sue me.

Hartwell & Cramer gives us a wide variety of SF, from the hard stuff (though not much of it is really hard) to some alternate histories and some more character-based stories. In fact, either I'm growing a lot more tolerant or the hard SF was much lighter this time around. Each story was filled with vivid characters and some emotional characteristics, even when the emphasis was on scientific theory (such as the final story in the anthology, Brenda Cooper's "Savant Songs"). All in all, it's not as memorable a book as in year's past, but there is only one story that I couldn't get through. That was Steve Tomasula's "The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects," originally published in Denver Quarterly, an issue filled with "fantastic fiction." While this one definitely falls in that category as far as subject matter, the beginning bored me to tears and I had to move on to the next one.

There were definitely some standouts, however. One of the better stories was "Venus Flowers at Night" by Pamela Sargent. Karim al-Anwar is a member of the Council of Mukhtars, the Islamic group that governs most of the Earth in a world where environmental ruin and other factors have brought down most of the West. He's on a tour of North America's Atlantic Federation, ostensibly to show the flag, but he also feels he's been sent away to punish him for his broad theories of terraforming Venus, or perhaps other creative endeavours that they don't want to hear. As he and his wife carry on their tour, he begins to lose himself in virtual recreations of the Venus he has dreamed of, trying desperately to figure out a way to get there, no matter how many generations and technological marvels must be created to facilitate it. As his journey continues, he meets somebody who may be able to help him on his way by approaching the problem from a different angle, enabling his dreams even as he fears he will be put out to pasture by the Council. I began this story with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, not buying into the world Sargent has created at all. However, she won me over as the story went on, creating a loving tribute to what science fiction, used by a creative mind, can inspire people to achieve. While the story isn't high on characterization of anybody but Karim, he is a joy to behold. Creative, visionary, and frustrated by the attitudes of his fellow council-members, his determination shines through in his attempts at a virtual reality reflecting his desires. Some of the transitions from the virtual to the real world are a bit jarring, but otherwise, this is a wonderful tale extolling one of the prime values of science fiction in general.

Probably my favourite story in the book, however, and definitely my favourite from 2004 (though it may not be the "best," it the one I liked the most) is James Stoddard's "The Battle of York." This story is simply awesome. In the year 2700 (or around there), much of Earth's history has been lost because so much of it was put on magnetic storage. But somebody tries to piece together a history of America, creating legends out trying to put as many facts in there as possible. The story is not told as a history, but as if it was a historical novel. Thus, we get "General Washington" with his trusty battle axe, Valleyforge, and his faithful steed, Silver. He's riding home from a war that he feels he's started, but he tries to take a shortcut through a forest. One night, a man appears at his fire, a man named Waynejon (though he's called "The Pilgrim"), who gives him a mission to go to Mount Rushmore to gain the Words of Power to defeat the Gauls and their giant that is going to be attacking York. But will he be able to face down his own guilt, gain allies, and bring the Words of Power back? Or will the four-headed monster at Rushmore kill him before he can even begin? This story means a lot more if you get the historical references, but even if you only get a few, there's enough here to make an entertaining story. It also really makes you wonder how well we've pieced together ancient history, given the lack of facts and only a few written documents to base it on? So it's thought-provoking too.

Other strong entries are Ken Liu's "Algorithms of Love," (where a female AI expert becomes obsessed with creating the perfect virtual child after losing her own daughter), Jack McDevitt's "Act of God" (where a man tells the story of his mentor's creation of a universe, and his attempt to become God for it), and Sean McMullen's "The Cascade" (where a young rebel scientist and her group attempts to force the first manned mission to Mars to become a colonization attempt). While these stories were definitely the best of the bunch for me, all of them (except for "The Risk-Taking Gene") held my attention and wouldn't let me down until I tried just one more.

That being said, the selection wasn't as strong as in 2003, making for an overall weaker volume. It's definitely worth a read if you like SF, and I'd say it covers the best of 2004 pretty well. I guess it just wasn't as good of a year.

David Roy
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A decent paperback sampling of 2004's more notable short SF 6 July 2006
By Brad Torgersen - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like volume #6 in this series, I found #10 to be a fairly entertaining collection of short form science fiction, with the stories, "Burning Day", "Venus Flowers at Night", "The Battle of York", and "Strood" standing out especially. Not constrained to any one corner of the SF field, this volume wanders all over, from sociological to hard, from military to dystopic to fantastic. "Red City" especially strikes me as a tale which could just as easily have been classified a fantasy, and save for the mumbo jumbo about the time curve, it is right at the edge of the two genres.

Like past volumes, #10 also has a couple of stories which try entirely too hard to be deep. "The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects" tries to be many things at once: hard SF, sociological SF, and Quentin Tarantino movie. Not sure how well it acquits itself in any of these fields. "Savant Song" is the same, only without the action, and served as a rather anticlimactic ending to the book.

Still, the enjoyable material outweighed the boring or pretentious material, and if you're wanting to get your feet wet in various writers' mental playgrounds without having to plunge in over your head, I would recommend this book.

One warning though: I don't think this is a great book for newcomers to SF. People unfamiliar with the genre, or who are just beginning to graduate to the wider SF realm and move away from the tie-in scene (aka: Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, et al) might find this a slow, somewhat tedious read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not Free SF Reader 31 Jan. 2008
By Blue Tyson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the first volume, Hartwell said that he wouldn't pick Science Fantasy, but here he has a story from a series of explicit science fantasy, in the Jack Vance Dying Earth vein, as they put it here. So with that, and what is in the last volume, appears the range of story here has changed. Cramer's influence, perhaps? Although the Hughes story actually does have a discussion of magic, and how much rubbish that it actually is, or may be, so maybe that is their point, there.

Anyway, somehow they have carried the bat. Managed to pull off a selection with no average stories, even if a couple are maybe wavering that way. A very high average of 3.93, leading with a standout, and back-to-back with Utley and McMullen.

Twenty-three above average stories and mostly 4 star or better has to be a 5 star anthology.

Year's Best SF 10 : Sergeant Chip - Bradley Denton
Year's Best SF 10 : The First Commandment - Gregory Benford
Year's Best SF 10 : Burning Day - Glenn Grant
Year's Best SF 10 : Scout's Honor - Terry Bisson
Year's Best SF 10 : Venus Flowers at Night - Pamela Sargent
Year's Best SF 10 : Pulp Cover - Gene Wolfe
Year's Best SF 10 : The Algorithms for Love - Ken Liu
Year's Best SF 10 : Glinky - Ray Vukcevich
Year's Best SF 10 : Red City - Janeen Webb
Year's Best SF 10 : Act of God - Jack McDevitt
Year's Best SF 10 : Wealth - Robert Reed
Year's Best SF 10 : Mastermindless - Matthew Hughes
Year's Best SF 10 : Time As It Evaporates - Jean-Claude Dunyach
Year's Best SF 10 : The Battle of York - James Stoddard
Year's Best SF 10 : Loosestrife - Liz Williams
Year's Best SF 10 : The Dark Side of Town - James Patrick Kelly
Year's Best SF 10 : Invisible Kingdoms - Steven Utley
Year's Best SF 10 : The Cascade - Sean McMullen
Year's Best SF 10 : Pervert - Charles Coleman Finlay
Year's Best SF 10 : The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects - Steve Tomasula
Year's Best SF 10 : Strood - Neal Asher
Year's Best SF 10 : The Eckener Alternative - James L. Cambias
Year's Best SF 10 : Savant Songs - Brenda Cooper

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