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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection (Year's Best Science Fiction (Paperback)) [Paperback]

Gardner Dozois
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 July 2010 Year's Best Science Fiction (Paperback)
The thirty-two stories in this collection imaginatively take us far across the universe, into the very core of our beings, to the realm of the gods, and the moment just after now. Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents, including: John Barnes, Elizabeth Bear, Damien Broderick, Karl Bunker, Paul Cornell, Albert E. Cowdrey, Ian Creasey, Steven Gould, Dominic Green, Nicola Griffith, Alexander Irvine, John Kessel, Ted Kosmatka, Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, Rand B. Lee, Paul McAuley, Ian McDonald, Maureen F. McHugh, Sarah Monette, Michael Poore, Robert Reed, Adam Roberts, Chris Roberson, Mary Rosenblum, Geoff Ryman, Vandana Singh, Bruce Sterling, Lavie Tidhar, James Van Pelt, Jo Walton, Peter Watts, Robert Charles Wilson, and John C. Wright. Supplementing the stories are the editor's insightful summation of the year's events and a lengthy list of honorable mentions, making this book both a valuable resource and the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination, and the heart.

Product details

  • Paperback: 642 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Griffin,U.S.; 27th edition (5 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312608985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312608989
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.7 x 4.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,715,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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 time he received the Hugo Award for Best Editor fifteen times.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this before you buy this book 17 Sep 2010
By John Tierney VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Note that this is exactly the same book as "The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 23" which is available in paperback at under 8 at the time of writing. I've bought both by mistake. The book is an annual treat - my 4-star rating is a (prehaps pessimistic) guess prior to reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Year's Harvest of Science Fiction 8 Jun 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Gardner Dozois offers his collection of the best science fiction stories from 2009. As in previous anthologies, he treats readers to a chapter-length summation of developments in the field during 2009, a set of well-chosen stories, and a list of "Honorable Mentions" for further reading. I enjoyed all 32 stories as well as the value-added material.

My five favorite stories are described below.

Alexander Irvine's "Seventh Fall" takes us on the road with a traveling minstrel who earns his way through a post-apocalyptic world performing old plays. He looks for books from the past and for pieces of his own past without much hope of finding either.

Dominic Green's "Butterfly Bomb" takes us to an isolated planet where an old man lives alone with his granddaughter. When a slave ship steals her away, he calls on skills from his youth to attempt a desperate rescue.

Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Mongoose" provides an over-the-shoulder view as a professional exterminator and his companion battle a troublesome infestation on board a space station. It shows us what a Pip and Flinx story might be like if written for adults.

Albert Cowdrey's "Paradiso Lost" is an old soldier's letter to the son of a comrade-in-arms about the adventures of his youth and the roots of his cynicism. It has a similar tone to Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.

James Van Pelt's "Solace" tells two stories linked by a candleholder owned at different times by the main character of each. In the past a young man survives a snowstorm while faithfully standing his post.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Year's Harvest of Science Fiction 1 Aug 2010
By John M. Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gardner Dozois offers his collection of the best science fiction stories from 2009. As in previous anthologies, he treats readers to a chapter-length summation of developments in the field during 2009, a set of well-chosen stories, and a list of "Honorable Mentions" for further reading. I enjoyed all 32 stories as well as the value-added material.

My five favorite stories are described below.

Alexander Irvine's "Seventh Fall" takes us on the road with a traveling minstrel who earns his way through a post-apocalyptic world performing old plays. He looks for books from the past and for pieces of his own past without much hope of finding either.

Dominic Green's "Butterfly Bomb" takes us to an isolated planet where an old man lives alone with his granddaughter. When a slave ship steals her away, he calls on skills from his youth to attempt a desperate rescue.

Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Mongoose" provides an over-the-shoulder view as a professional exterminator and his companion battle a troublesome infestation on board a space station. It shows us what a Pip and Flinx story might be like if written for adults.

Albert Cowdrey's "Paradiso Lost" is an old soldier's letter to the son of a comrade-in-arms about the adventures of his youth and the roots of his cynicism. It has a similar tone to Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.

James Van Pelt's "Solace" tells two stories linked by a candleholder owned at different times by the main character of each. In the past a young man survives a snowstorm while faithfully standing his post. In the future a young botanist endures the challenges and confusion of repeated awakenings during a colony ship's many centuries of travel.

This collection is highly recommended. My only disappointment was that I had already read five of the stories in David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer's Year's Best SF 15. The editors of both books are equally responsible for the overlap, but my disappointment falls on this collection because the Kindle version was released so much later in the year.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2009: Not amazing, but still worthwhile 20 Jan 2011
By Michael Lichter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If I had been asked to read all of the short science fiction published in English in 2009 and pick the "best" 30 or so pieces, how many of my choices would have been the same as those made by Gardner Dozois for "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 27th Annual Collection"? Well, Dozois selected three stories from his "New Space Opera 2" collection to include in the "Year's Best": "Utriusque Cosmi" by Robert Charles Wilson, "Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance" by John Kessel, and "The Island" by Peter Watts. While Wilson's story is impressive for its scope and craftsmanship and Watts' fairly conventional piece did win the 2010 Hugo for best novelette, all of the three were among my *least* favorite selections from "New Space Opera 2". Based on the evidence at hand, I wouldn't have picked any of the same stories. Hm.

Nevertheless, virtually all of the stories included in this volume are good or very good, and only one (John C. Wright's highly mannered mythpunk story "Twilight of the Gods") was truly unreadable. My observations and comments are as follows:

1. An unusually high proportion of the stories are either set in worlds that the authors have previously written about or appear to be designed mainly to set the scene for later stories. Paul J. McAuley's "Crimes and Glory," for example, concerns the theft of alien technology on the colony world Port of Plenty, about which McAuley has written previously, and refers to events in earlier stories set there. "Mongoose" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette takes place in the same universe of organic spaceships as 2008's "Boojum". Paul Cornell's "One of Our Bastards is Missing" is set in the same steampunkish alternate universe as his earlier "Catherine Drewe," where pre-WWI European colonial powers have mastered space travel and other advanced technologies. On the other hand, Alexander Irvine's "Seventh Fall", which follows a postapocalyptic search for a copy of "Hamlet" (evoking both "Davy" and "The Book of Eli"), reads more like the first chapter of a novel than a standalone story. Chris Roberson's "Edison's Frankenstein," takes place in an intriguing (and very race/culture/religion-conscious) steampunkish alternate world where power from "promethium" has made electricity irrelevant, but barely makes sense except as the first chapter of a novel.

2. A substantial fraction of the stories are set in developing countries in the near future. I often detect condescension, romanticism, and especially exoticism in these tales, which typically exploit the wonder in seeing, as Dozois says, "ancient customs and dazzlingly sophisticated high tech exist[ing] side by side." Lavie Tidhar's "The Integrity of the Chain", which is set in Laos, does little beyond drawing out this contrast. The other stories are less exoticist, especially "Infinities" by Vandana Singh, which centers on the friendship between two Indian mathematicians, one Muslim and one Hindu, during a period of communal violence, and "Three Leaves of Aloe" by Rand B. Lee, where the Indian setting is mostly irrelevant to the story of a mother contemplating the implantation of a behavior-modifying "nanny chip" in her unruly daughter. Geoff Ryman's "Blocked", which begins in Cambodia, is a poignant and unusual but frustratingly sketchy story narrated by an uplifted animal who marries a human woman and struggles to live up to his image of what a man should be. Ian McDonald's novella "Vishnu at the Cat Circus", arguably the best piece in the collection, is set in the same future India as his "River of Gods". While the cat circus is an annoying literary device (yes, there is a cat circus), this is a compelling story of rivalry between elite Indian siblings, one a gifted engineer who pursues technological augmentation of the human intellect, one a gene-modified genius who builds a behind-the-scenes career in politics, and the third an unmodified human who seeks to ensure that the common people don't get left too far behind. Concerns about the global poor being left behind are also central to Adam Roberts' story "Hair", which is much more attentive than McDonald's novella to the conflicting interests of rich and poor.

3. My favorites among stories not yet mentioned included John Barnes' "Things Undone," where the central characters are time cops in a socially backwards but scientifically advanced present; Maureen McHugh's "Useless Things," one of her typically subtle stories about a woman living in post-collapse New Mexico; and "Lion Walk" by Mary Rosenblum, in which a woman attempts to solve a set of murders that take place in a Jurassic Park-like setting.

4. Without getting into questions of story selection, there are a couple of things Dozois could do to improve these collections. First, he could provide more context when introducing individual stories (like, "this story is set in the universe that Bear and Monette introduced in 'Boojum'") and some indication of why he thought the stories were among the year's best. In this volume, Dozois' typical story introduction consists of a paragraph-long author bio and a single summary sentence. Second, Dozois could devote the first few pages of his volume introduction to some comments about the stories in the volume and some observations about general currents in the genre. In contrast, his introduction to this volume, "Summation: 2009", is a long (30 pp.), detailed account of doings in the industry, including lists of new anthologies, lists of sales figures, bulletins about new 'zines and old ones that are folding, box office figures for sci-fi movies, and obituaries for authors, editors, and actors associated with the field, and is unlikely to be interesting to any but industry insiders.

Bottom line: Although I might not have picked any of these stories as the best of the year had I read the hundreds of stories Dozois sifted through, this is nevertheless a worthwhile collection with several very good pieces and hardly any chaff.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As always, an excellent read and great value for your money 21 Aug 2010
By Erin Keiser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Every year I look forward to the new Year's Best Science Fiction coming out, and every year I am very happy with the new edition. This year was no different, and if anything I felt that this year was the best edition in 5 years.

My favorite story was Butterfly Bomb, but there were at least 10 stories in this year's edition that were memorable. I am a big fan of Space Opera, so I already had read Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance fromThe New Space Opera 2 but otherwise the stories were fresh and interesting.

There was much more varied plot lines this year than in years past, and it was good to see a few uplifting stories amongst the normal dystopian futures I have grown accustomed to reading in this anthology. All in all, this is a must have for science fiction lovers, and people looking for a great short story anthology.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moderately Good 5 July 2011
By Jack M. Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This year's stories were mostly OK; there were not too many standouts nor too many stinkers. Ian McDonald's Vishnu at the Cat Circus was, not surprisingly, the best of the collection. I just got the new ediiton and am looking forward to more good sci-fi.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rambling tales 11 Oct 2010
By Sandra W. Jaqua - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Many of the stories in this book were long-winded and pointless. Most were depressing. The few gems just didn't make up for the stories that you wished weren't there.
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