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Years Best SF 11 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction)) Mass Market Paperback – 8 Jun 2006


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (8 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060873418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060873417
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

This is the best short form science fiction of 2005, selected by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, two of the most respected editors in the field. The short story is one of the most vibrant and exciting areas in science fiction today. It is where the hot new authors emerge and where the beloved giants of the field continue to publish. Now, building on the success of the first nine volumes, Eos will once again present a collection of the best stories of the year in mass market. Here, selected and compiled by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, two of the most respected editors in the field, are stories with visions of tomorrow and yesterday, of the strange and the familiar, of the unknown and the unknowable. With stories from an all-star team of science fiction authors, "Year's Best Sf 11" is an indispensable guide for every science fiction fan.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on 23 Jun 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my review of the 2004 Year's Best SF, I mentioned the dearth of hard SF stories in that year. Year's Best SF 11 rectifies that situation somewhat. I'm still not the biggest fan of hard SF, which is why this year's edition was a bit of a chore for me. It still had a lot of strong stories in it, but I had to struggle at times. Fans of harder SF who were disappointed in last year's edition will probably find this one much better. With stories by Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, as well as some good examples by Matthew Jarpe and Ken MacLeod, there is lots of SF action.

The only real problem with this edition, however, is the numerous examples of the short-short stories from "Nature" magazine. I find it admirable that "Nature" would be including short SF stories in their magazine, but I don't think any of them were so good that they needed to be included in a "best of" collection. A couple of them were decent (I loved Greg Bear's "Ram Shift Phase 2", where a robot reviews a book by a fellow robot in a typically pretentious review style). Being a "review," it definitely called for that short length, and it was perfect. Others, however, were not nearly as good, and I think they probably took space away from a couple (or at least one) other good stories.

Still, there were some wonderful stories in this year's edition. I'm a big rat fan, so the two rat stories ("When the Great Days Came" by Gardner Dozois and "Mason's Rats" by Neal Asher) were exceptionally fun. Dozois' story is told from the point of view of a rat making his way across the big city on the night when the great comet hits. It's a "night in the life" of the rat, and it's told wonderfully. The ending is perfect as well, with the realization that no matter what happens to him, his species will survive.
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Format: Kindle Edition
David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have done fine work collecting these 31 stories from authors who have also done some fine work. I enjoyed most of these stories very much. Although there were some that didn't work for me, there are none which I regret the time spent reading. I always appreciate well-written introductions with author bios, brief descriptions of their other work, and web addresses that point to more information. This volume met this expectation well--as I have come to expect from these editors. I had to do some winnowing to get my favorites down to these five:

Ken MacLeod's "A Case of Consilience" is a rare beast--a science fiction short story that treats religion with respect without sinking into either sarcasm or apology. A missionary's message that seems to go unheard by an alien fungal intelligence is accepted, slowly digested and finally understood.

Neal Asher's "Mason's Rats" describes a farmer's high-tech war with unwelcome invaders. And reminds us that winning allies can be as important as winning battles.

Paul McAuley's "Rats of the System" is space operate in the most complementary sense. Along with the action, readers learn about transcendent intelligences and two very different cultures' ways of dealing with them.

Bud Sparhawk's "Bright Red Star" describes the last mission of a squad of specialized commandos who will sacrifice their lives to keep human colonists from being captured and horribly used by an alien enemy. This is a particularly well-written story.

Alastair Reynolds' "Beyond the Aquila Rift" gives me one more reason to consider him a favorite author with a story outside of his usual universe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Another great year of SF stories 23 Jun 2006
By David Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my review of the 2004 Year's Best SF, I mentioned the dearth of hard SF stories in that year. Year's Best SF 11 rectifies that situation somewhat. I'm still not the biggest fan of hard SF, which is why this year's edition was a bit of a chore for me. It still had a lot of strong stories in it, but I had to struggle at times. Fans of harder SF who were disappointed in last year's edition will probably find this one much better. With stories by Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, as well as some good examples by Matthew Jarpe and Ken MacLeod, there is lots of SF action.

The only real problem with this edition, however, is the numerous examples of the short-short stories from "Nature" magazine. I find it admirable that "Nature" would be including short SF stories in their magazine, but I don't think any of them were so good that they needed to be included in a "best of" collection. A couple of them were decent (I loved Greg Bear's "Ram Shift Phase 2", where a robot reviews a book by a fellow robot in a typically pretentious review style). Being a "review," it definitely called for that short length, and it was perfect. Others, however, were not nearly as good, and I think they probably took space away from a couple (or at least one) other good stories.

Still, there were some wonderful stories in this year's edition. I'm a big rat fan, so the two rat stories ("When the Great Days Came" by Gardner Dozois and "Mason's Rats" by Neal Asher) were exceptionally fun. Dozois' story is told from the point of view of a rat making his way across the big city on the night when the great comet hits. It's a "night in the life" of the rat, and it's told wonderfully. The ending is perfect as well, with the realization that no matter what happens to him, his species will survive. "Mason's Rats" is the story of a futuristic farmer with a rat problem. Not only are they infesting his crops, but they're beginning to learn how to use weapons. It doesn't matter what sort of robotic help he might get; sometimes, the two-legged rats are worse than the four-legged variety.

While those two stories are the ones I had the most affinity with, I would say that the best story in the whole collection is "I, Robot," by Cory Doctorow. It's an homage to Asimov (even down to the name), where a society that is fully dependent on robots. A detective who isn't a fan of working with robots has some troubles of his own. His ex-wife defected to the other side immediately after they split up, leaving his daughter with him. But his daughter seems to be misbehaving as well, mixing herself up in things that are way over her head. The detective discovers that things are a lot worse than he thinks, especially when he discovers what his wife has been up to with his daughter. This is a fairly long story, over fifty pages in the book, and it's worth every page of it. The setting leaps off the page and Doctorow's prose perfectly fits the genre. Being my favourite story in this year's book, it's probably fitting that it also ends it. It definitely makes me want to go out and check his other work.

Other strong stories were "The Edge of Nowhere" by James Patrick Kelly (where a young woman librarian in a virtual world is asked for a unique book by three dogs that appear to be products of the virtual intelligence behind their world), "Oxygen Rising" by R. Garcia y Robertson (where a human mediator between "Greenies" and the humans they are trying to wipe off of a planet gets involved with a sinister plot to destroy the planet so it can't be used by anybody else), and "Girls and Boys, Come Out to Play" by Michael Swanwick (where a man and dog, investigators for the British government, go to Greece to track down some statues, only to find some experiments in pheromones and the recreation of Greek Gods).

I can't really point to any of the stories as "bad," though some of the "Nature" ones didn't really appeal to me. Even the hard SF stories were pretty good, just not my favourite. 2005 was a much better year than 2004, and Year's Best SF 11 definitely shows that. If you want to sample some great short stories, definitely pick this one up.

David Roy
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not Free SF Reader 1 Feb 2008
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The editors certainly seem enamored of the rather short stories found in Nature magazine, and again I think that may hamper a rating, including lots of them, although it certainly adds to a variety. 31 stories here, which is more than the equivalent Dozois volume, although the book is probably only 55% of the length, or something like that.

As such, a standard type edition of one of these Hartwell and Cramer volumes, with a 3.79 average. Only three standouts in the 31, McAuley, Reynolds and Doctorow. However, only 2 average stories, despite all the short pieces, so rather well done there, so along with the Year's Best SF 10 they have done a fine job avoiding stories of not much interest.

Apart from actual real natural disasters, they mention one anthology - Constellations by Peter Crowther, in the introduction, which would appear to have a lot of British SF talent in it, with stellar based stories the theme.

With all that, pretty much a 4.75 I think, and given this scale, may as well be a 5 given the consistency.

Year's Best SF 11 : New Hope for the Dead - David Langford
Year's Best SF 11 : Deus Ex Homine - Hannu Rajaniemi
Year's Best SF 11 : When the Great Days Came - Gardner R. Dozois
Year's Best SF 11 : Second Person, Present Tense - Daryl Gregory
Year's Best SF 11 : Dreadnought - Justina Robson
Year's Best SF 11 : A Case of Consilience - Ken MacLeod
Year's Best SF 11 : Toy Planes - Tobias S. Buckell
Year's Best SF 11 : Mason's Rats - Neal Asher
Year's Best SF 11 : A Modest Proposal - Vonda N. McIntyre
Year's Best SF 11 : Guadalupe and Hieronymus Bosch - Rudy Rucker
Year's Best SF 11 : The Forever Kitten - Peter F. Hamilton
Year's Best SF 11 : City of Reason - Matthew Jarpe
Year's Best SF 11 : Ivory Tower - Bruce Sterling
Year's Best SF 11 : Sheila - Lauren McLaughlin
Year's Best SF 11 : Rats of the System - Paul McAuley
Year's Best SF 11 : I Love Liver: A Romance - Larissa Lai
Year's Best SF 11 : The Edge of Nowhere - James Patrick Kelly
Year's Best SF 11 : What's Expected of Us - Ted Chiang
Year's Best SF 11 : Girls and Boys Come Out to Play - Michael Swanwick
Year's Best SF 11 : Lakes of Light - Stephen Baxter
Year's Best SF 11 : The Albian Message - Oliver Morton
Year's Best SF 11 : Bright Red Star - Bud Sparhawk
Year's Best SF 11 : Third Day Lights - Alaya Dawn Johnson
Year's Best SF 11 : RAM Shift Phase 2 - Greg Bear
Year's Best SF 11 : On the Brane - Gregory Benford
Year's Best SF 11 : Oxygen Rising - R. Garcia y Robertson
Year's Best SF 11 : And Future King - Adam Roberts
Year's Best SF 11 : Beyond the Aquila Rift - Alastair Reynolds
Year's Best SF 11 : Angel of Light - Joe Haldeman
Year's Best SF 11 : Ikiryoh - Liz Williams
Year's Best SF 11 : I Robot - Cory Doctorow

EGAN electronic eternal existence expensive.

4 out of 5

Baby deity a bother, makes me want to kill some

4 out of 5

Rat's eye armageddon.

3.5 out of 5

Zen and the art of personality maintenance.

4 out of 5

Soldier Unit.

4 out of 5

Genetic message.

3.5 out of 5

I dread to blow off my head.

4 out of 5

James Herbert book, and the natives are arming, if not as numerous.

3.5 out of 5

Not much left.

3 out of 5

Brane-assisted painter time-snatch.

3.5 out of 5

Kid stasis.

4 out of 5

A Better Way would be Highly Fantastic.

4 out of 5

Physics commune advances.

4 out of 5

Supercomputing antimeat plot.

4 out of 5

Transcendent hunter-killer chase experiment.

4.5 out of 5

Escape organ.

3 out of 5

Bad dogs and old stories.

4 out of 5

Simon already Says.

4 out of 5

Godmaking and removal, squid variety included.

3.5 out of 5

Star wrapping investigation.

3.5 out of 5

Sometimes it is just old directions.

4 out of 5

Conflict kill choices.

3.5 out of 5

Human revival project.

3.5 out of 5

Robot review parody.

3.5 out of 5

Counter-Earth trip.

3.5 out of 5

Greenie peace preferred.

4 out of 5

Programmed government's Arthurian overlord.

3.5 out of 5

Lost In Space.

"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how
vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is.

4.5 out of 5

Thrilling Wonder Stories alien xmas deal.

4 out of 5

Kappa bad kid bit minder.

3.5 out of 5

Baby arrival brings brainy Big Brother bot researcher's defection and later reunion desires in multiple.

4.5 out of 5
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
too many too short stories 22 July 2006
By Thomas D. Gulch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It seems that Hartwell took one too many of the nano short stories

from the magazine 'nature' for this book. They are cute and clever,but a one page story from Ted Chiang? Come on, get real.

Most of the stories are good to very good, especially 'shelia',

'on the brane','oxygen rising'. It seems some of the stories are

begining to suffer from the rudy ruckner school of protoplasmic

farm tractors, something that stross and doctorow have been mucking around in for awhile. For some reason these 'organic fiction'novels have as much of a tendency to sicken one as to excite one. I enjoyed the majority of the book, I just wish

this tendency to publish really short stories would lighten up a

bit.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtfully-Collected Set of Science Fiction Stories 28 Jan 2010
By John M. Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have done fine work collecting these 31 stories from authors who have also done some fine work. I enjoyed most of these stories very much. Although there were some that didn't work for me, there are none which I regret the time spent reading. I always appreciate well-written introductions with author bios, brief descriptions of their other work, and web addresses that point to more information. This volume met this expectation well--as I have come to expect from these editors. I had to do some winnowing to get my favorites down to these five:

Ken MacLeod's "A Case of Consilience" is a rare beast--a science fiction short story that treats religion with respect without sinking into either sarcasm or apology. A missionary's message that seems to go unheard by an alien fungal intelligence is accepted, slowly digested and finally understood.

Neal Asher's "Mason's Rats" describes a farmer's high-tech war with unwelcome invaders. And reminds us that winning allies can be as important as winning battles.

Paul McAuley's "Rats of the System" is space operate in the most complementary sense. Along with the action, readers learn about transcendent intelligences and two very different cultures' ways of dealing with them.

Bud Sparhawk's "Bright Red Star" describes the last mission of a squad of specialized commandos who will sacrifice their lives to keep human colonists from being captured and horribly used by an alien enemy. This is a particularly well-written story.

Alastair Reynolds' "Beyond the Aquila Rift" gives me one more reason to consider him a favorite author with a story outside of his usual universe. We learn a couple of things about how to help a space traveler who wakes up from "an unusually long hypersleep."

The collection does contain an unusually large number--ten of the thirty-one--of short science fiction stories that originally appeared in "Nature." I suppose this might irritate "Nature" subscribers who feel they aren't getting enough new material. I think all ten are good stories. None are among my favorites because a personal preference for longer stories. The editors' distribution of these stories among the longer stories has a positive effect on the reader's pacing through the collection. My favorite among these shorts is Peter Hamilton's "The Forever Kitten" for its sly wink at the difficulties of being a parent.

As always, I am grateful to be able read this collection on my iPhone Kindle app. Nothing beats reading great science fiction surreptitiously while in a meeting with other researchers, supposedly doing great science. I'm not sure it hurts the science all that much. It's a great collection. Enjoy it in your own way.
Years Best SF11 27 Dec 2013
By Robert Collinge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just getting back into science fiction after a long (25+ year) lapse. Some of the new stuff doesn't appeal to me, but this is old school,and I have enjoyed it greatly.
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