The Year's Best SF 5 (Year's Best SF (Science Fiction)) Mass Market Paperback – 14 Dec 2000
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An anthology of the finest science fiction stories of the past year features the work of both new and established writers.
Top Customer Reviews
This anthology doesn't have the yearly review and "honourable mentions" list offered by Dozois. It is also less voluminous than Dozois mastodons and more focused on short stories, instead of novellas. Still, there is twenty five stories to discover here and some of them are honest - and one or two are even REAL good. Also, only three of them figured also in Dozois selection (they are marked below with letters GD) therefore it is still economically sound to purchase both of those 1999 anthologies - but with only a handful of really good stories, really, you should not expect any fireworks here...
"Everywhere" by Geoff Ryman - possibly the weakest and certainly the weirdest story in the collection, about a future world in which artificial intelligence rules the world and manages lives of all people, talking to them through their watches. I read it and I completely couldn't understand what it was REALLY about and what the ending meant. (GD)
"Evolution Never Sleeps" by Elisabeth Malartre - well, as the title suggests, this is a story about an acceleration of evolution in one particular area. Not particularly original as the same thing was told many times earlier - and better - but still, not bad. I read it aloud to my two chipmunks - they adored and asked for more...Read more ›
Of course, there are some good stories in here. A competant editor could hardly gather together 25 tales and disappoint with them all but the truth is that less than a dozen of them are better than average for current SF and that hardly counts as "year's best" even if you take into account the fact that there is no overlap with Gardner Dozois' book which presumably gets first choice with the authors.
I think that the best story here is Steven Baxter's "Huddle" which tells of a future Earth stricken in an ice age and populated by people genetically engineered to survive the bitterly cold conditions. Perhaps it is a sign of the times but all of the best stories here deal with the alteration of humans in order to deal with the pressures of life in the future. Terry Bisson's "Macs" introduces the ides of creating clones of criminals just so that they may be killed by the families of their victims while Curt Wohleber's "100 Candles" and Tom Purdom's "Fossil Games" are set in futures in which it is normal for people to be extensively altered and those who have no, or few, alterations feel increasingly excluded from their worlds.
If you are the kind of fan who just cannot get enough short SF then this is worth getting as you will find some interesting stories but otherwise, you might as well give this a miss and hope for a better effort next year.