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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection (Year's Best Science Fiction) Hardcover – 30 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Griffin,U.S.; 24th edition (30 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312363345
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 5.4 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,407,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL COLLECTION: "For a broad and eclectic overview of SF and its varieties, Dozois's huge anthology remains essential." -Gary K. Wolf, "LOCUS Magazine"" ""Gardner Dozois is of course the granddaddy of the annual anthology...His housebrick of a collection is the closest thing the field has to a single 'canon-forming' volume." -"Strange Horizons "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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Format: Hardcover
For this collection Gardner Dozois selected SF stories which he considered as best amongst those published in 2006. The one from previous year was bad - but either 2006 was a better year or maybe Gardner Dozois was more inspired, because this anthology is way, WAY better than the horror from 2005.

As in earlier anthologies, for this one Gardner Dozois selected stories which he considered as the best or most important of the given year. This collection includes also a overview of what happened in SF (largely understood) in 2006 and at the end there is also the very useful section of "honourable mentions" - stories which couldn't be selected for this collection because of lack of space (and this is already a HUGE book!), but which were also of good quality.

Most stories are good, honest, solid stuff, with no less than six being VERY GOOD: "Where the golden apples grow", "Dead men walking" (the BEST in this collection), "Yellow card man" (SECOND BEST), "The Pacific mystery", "Okanoggan Falls" and "The town on blighted sea". On another hand for my personal taste there were also four real stinkers: "Julian: a Christmas story" (the most clichéd and predictable), "The house beyond your sky" (the worse), "The highway men" (the most stupid) and "Every hole is outlined" (the sickest).

That being said, I cannot rate this collection five stars, mostly because of a generally depressed and pessimistic mood in most of those stories. There is not even one amongst them in which we could find at least an ounce of exhilarating joy that is usually associated (at least for me) with the exploration of new possibilities, new horizons, new discoveries, new knowledge; in fact there is virtually no joy associated with anything.
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Format: Hardcover
These 28 stories from 2006 are well-written, well-chosen and well-documented. The volume begins with a comprehensive summary of important events in the SF genre during 2006. The stories that follow are introduced by concise author bios, descriptions of major publications and intriguing story previews. All as Dozois readers have come to expect.

My six favorite stories are:

Alastair Reynolds' "Signal to Noise" stands out first of all as a story outside his usual high-tech, far-future universe. A near-future researcher sends a colleague to an alternate timeline where his recently-deceased wife is still alive. And their time together is limited.

Robert Reed's "Good Mountain" feels like a darker, more surreal version of a Frank Herbert Dune novel. Our characters flee disaster by riding a giant worm and intrigue against one another as their world warps beyond their experience or understanding.

Mary Rosenblum's "Home Movies" introduces a member of one of the world's newest professions, a trained rememberer who stores experiences to be sold and lost completely to her employer. Until she experiences some things worth remembering.

Greg Egan's "Riding the Crocodile" is space opera at its high-tech, futuristic best. A long-lived couple tire of existence and set themselves a near-impossible task as a culmination of their mortal spans. After much toil, they decide upon an ending.

Ken MacLeod's "The Highway Men" takes us to a bleak future in the United Kingdom filled with conflict and uncertainty--the kind of setting in which men become heroes.

Alastair Reynolds' "Nightingale" smuggles us along as a carefully-picked assault team works to bring a war criminal to justice. Any mission the whole team can walk away from is a success, is it not?

This book is good reading and highly recommended. There are few more rewarding ways to spend your time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x90a38e40) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9086db10) out of 5 stars Strongest collection in years! 27 July 2007
By Brad Shorr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"I, Row Boat," by Cory Doctorow. In this homage to Asimov, a battle of wits between a sentient coral reef and a sentient rowboat raises mind-bending questions about the nature of intelligence in a digitized future. B

"Julian: A Christmas Story," by Robert Charles Wilson. A gloomy future America reverts to 19th century conditions thanks to the excesses of science and the deficiencies of religion. C

"Tin Marsh," by Michael Swanwick. "The Shining" goes to Venus. Two weary prospectors, one well past the end of his rope, battle the elements, each other, and insanity. B

"The Djinn's Wife," by Ian McDonald. Against the exotic backdrop of Delhi, a disastrous romance flares up and out between a famous dancer and a diplomat who happens to be an ethereal artificial intelligence. B+

"The House Beyond Your Sky," by Benjamin Rosenbaum. A haunting glimpse behind the curtain reveals that being the Creator ain't all it's cracked up to be. B

"Where the Golden Apples Grow," by Kage Baker. The stark, inhospitable terrain of Mars almost comes alive as two stranded young colonists struggle to get home. B+

"Kin," by Bruce McAllister. Elegant vignette about a boy and a roach-like alien assassin explores the mysteries of personal relationships and the nature of good and evil. B

"Signal to Noise," by Alastair Reynolds. Albeit touching and romantic, the plot doesn't quite measure up to the fascinating premise of a man who crosses over into a parallel universe to reconnect with his dead wife. B

"The Big Ice," by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold. A frozen ocean of ice plays host to a scorching battle of wits between two politically powerful sibling rivals. B

"Bow Shock," by Gregory Benford. Frustrated astrophysicist on verge of losing bid for tenure observes an object in space that grows curiouser and curioser. Masterful blend of science, subtlety, sensitivity and suspense. A+

"In the River," by Justin Stanchfield. Unfathomable (no pun intended) squid-like aliens welcome a genetically altered human scientist aboard their six-kilometer long, liquid-filled ship. B

"Incarnation Day," by Walter Jon Williams. Some things never change. In a future society where parents raise virtual children, a rebellious digital teenager plays a high stakes game of chicken with her controlling mother. B

"Far as You Can Go," by Greg Van Eekhout. In a broken down future world, a scavenger and his profoundly human robot companion risk what little they for a place in the sun. Simultaneously tender and terrifying. A

"Good Mountain," by Robert Reed. A richly textured portrait of the distant future, in which worried travelers hope to outrun the fire and earthquakes that are consuming what little is left of their world. A

"I Hold My Father's Paws," by David D. Levine. Several stories herein explore genetic engineering, but this one goes whole hog, as Americans change species for reasons ridiculous and--at least in one case--sublime. B

"Dead Men Walking," by Paul J. McAuley. Rousing adventure pits one genetically engineered assassin against another on a prison in a remote corner of the solar system. B

"Home Movies," by Mary Rosenblum. Memory seller strikes deal with a manipulative client, forcing her to make a supremely difficult choice. B

"Damascus," by Daryl Gregory. Creepy, well-constructed story about a bizarre religious cult gives new meaning to the concept of forced conversion. B+

"Life on the Preservation," by Jack Skillingstead. "Groundhog Day" with scant uplifting tonic and a cataclysmic twist. B+

"Yellow Card Man," by Paolo Bacigalupi. Squalid Bangkok is particularly hellish for its former Chinese masters, and I felt every ounce of pain and humiliation while accompanying a fallen tycoon on his way to rock bottom. A+

"Riding the Crocodile," by Greg Egan. A virtually immortal couple's efforts to contact a mysterious life form span hundreds of thousands of years. Long tunnel, precious little cheese. C

"The Ile of Dogges," by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. Queen Elizabeth's censor gets a supernaturally rude awakening. C

"The Highway Men," by Ken MacLeod. Frozen Scotland, ravaged by terrorist-inspired war and global climate shift, receives a glimmer of hope from an unlikely hero. Highly effective use of local idiom. A

"The Pacific Mystery," by Stephen Baxter. In 1950, victorious Nazis attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an immense aircraft, and encounter something unexpected in any alternate universe. A

"Okanoggan Falls," by Carolyn Ives Gilman. When alien conquerors occupy a Wisconsin hamlet, the line between friend and foe becomes blurred. Superlative plot and characters, with a perfect ending. A+

"Every Hole Is Outlined," by John Barnes. Mathematicians aboard an interstellar cargo ship encounter ghosts. C

"The Town on Blighted Sea," by A.M. Dellamonica. Sick goings-on between the vanquished and their squid "allies" in a human refugee camp. C

"Nightengale," by Alistair Reynolds. By far, the most amazing character in this page-turner about adventurers invading a deserted hospital ship to retrieve a war criminal is ... the ship itself! A+
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9086dd5c) out of 5 stars Best Collection in a While 6 Aug. 2007
By Jack M. Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous review - this is the best Dozois collection in some time. Some of the highlights: "The Djinn's Wife" deals with a future India, where a young superstar marries a man who isn't actually real; Paolo Bacigalupi's "Yellow Card Man" involves a formerly successful Chinese businessman struggling to stay alive in a future Bangkok; "Incarnation Day" by Walter Jon Williams shows us what may happen if adults have the ultimate say on whether or not a child reaches maturity; Robert Charles Wilson's "Julian: A Christmas Story" is my favorite, a story set in the near future with two boys from very different types of families; Robert Reed's "Good Mountain" takes us so far into the future we see a group of people who may literally be outrunning the destruction of the Earth.

Alastair Reynolds has two stories here. "Signal to Noise" is silly and uninteresting, but "Nightingale" is a fantastic space opera with a devestating shot of horror for a finale. John Barnes' "Every Hole is Outlined" ends up being a tender, but odd, love story. There is much to enjoy in this collection. I suggest you get this book and do just that.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9086df9c) out of 5 stars An excellent volume of the series 4 Sept. 2008
By Stephen Dobie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A better-than-average edition of this series. Although there was not too much that really amazed me, almost everything in the book was a very good story with nothing I totally disliked.

My favorites:
"The Djinn's Wife" - Ian McDonald
"Incarnation Day" - Walter Jon Williams
"Riding the Crocodile" - Greg Egan

Least favorite:
"The Big Ice" - Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold
"Okanoggan Falls" - Carolyn Ives Gilman
"Every Hole Is Outlined" - John Barnes

"I Row-Boat" - Cory Doctorow 4/5
An intelligent rowboat has to deal with a belligerent intelligent coral reef. Humorous post-singularity story.
"Julian: A Christmas Story" - Robert Charles Wilson 3.5/5
Two teens start to learn about the past in a post-apocalyptic future that suppresses knowledge of science.
"Tin Marsh" - Michael Swanwick 4/5
Venus miners get cabin fever. Entertaining action.
"The Djinn's Wife" - Ian McDonald 5/5
An Indian dancer marries an AI. Very good story in an interesting setting.
"The House Beyond Your Sky" - Benjamin Rosenbaum 3/5
A denizen of a house at the end of the universe, interacts with some of the inhabitants. Interesting.
"Where the Golden Apples Grow" - Kage Baker 3.5/5
On Mars, a boy from a farm colony and one who grew up with truckers share an adventure. Fun story.
"Kin" - Bruce McAllister 3/5
A boy hires an alien hitman.
"Signal to Noise" - Alastair Reynolds 4/5
People are able to temporarily switch into the bodies of their doubles in very similar parallel timelines. A man uses this to visit his wife, who just died in his own timeline. Good ideas about identity.
"The Big Ice" - Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold 2/5
A near-immortal member of the galactic ruling class is transformed by alien biological traces in an ice sheet.
"Bow Shock" - Gregory Benford 4/5
Academic politics and personal life conflict with a scientist's study of fast-moving neutron stars.
"To the River" - Justin Stanchfield 3.5/5
A woman is surgically altered in order to communicate with aquatic aliens. Good, but a little melodramatic.
"Incarnation Day" - Walter Jon Williams 4.5/5
In the outer solar system, children are raised as computer simulations and then incarnated into physical bodies when they come of age. Nice concept with some thought about what it takes to be considered a person.
"Far As You Can Go" - Greg Van Eekhout 3/5
A teenager and his robot friend try to find the ocean in an environmentally degraded future.
"Good Mountain" - Robert Reed 4/5
Disaster strikes a world where the inhabitants live on a continent made of floating vegetation. Great, original setting.
"I Hold My Father's Paws" - David D. Levine 3/5
A man has himself transformed into a dog in order to avoid the stresses of life.
"Dead Men Walking" - Paul J. McAuley 3.5/5
A bioengineered soldier attempts to blend in on a Uranus colony after a war.
"Home Movies" - Mary Rosenblum 4/5
A woman who creates surrogate memories for rich clients faces a difficult assignment. Good concept.
"Damascus" - Daryl Gregory 4/5
A blood-borne brain disease creates feelings of religious ecstasy. A scary, realistic story.
"Life on the Preservation" - Jack Skillingstead 4/5
Modern Seattle is preserved in a repeating time bubble in a post-apocalyptic world. Interesting concept.
"Yellow Card Man" - Paolo Bacigalupi 3/5
A refugee struggles to survive in Bangkok in a post-oil world. Good story, but with a very limited sf element.
"Riding the Crocodile" - Greg Egan 4.5/5
A couple attempts to contact the enigmatic aliens at the center of the galaxy as the last achievement of their lives. Great portrayal of a far-future civilization.
"The Ile of Dogges" - Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette 3/5
Time travelers attempt to rescue a lost play by Ben Johnson.
"The Highway Men" - Ken MacLeod 3.5/5
Conscripted highway workers meet up with a community living outside the system in a decaying future Britan., Fun but fairly typical MacLeod.
"The Pacific Mystery" - Stephen Baxter 4/5
Alternate history is a world where the Pacific contains a fold in space-time. Good, original concept.
"Okanoggan Falls" - Carolyn Ives Gilman 3/5
The citizens of a small town try to save it from occupying aliens who wish to build a mine there. I didn't find the aliens convincing.
"Every Hole Is Outlined" - John Barnes 3/5
Starship crews see ghosts about between the stars. Has an interesting culture, but the story never really makes sense.
"The Town on Blighted Sea" - A. M. Dellamonica 3/5
The losers from an alien-backed war on Earth deal with being refugees on an alien world.
"Nightingale" - Alastair Reynolds 4/5
A mercenary group is hired to extract a war criminal from an abandoned hospital ship. Good suspense with a nasty ending.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9087c318) out of 5 stars Above Average Dozois SF Collection 11 May 2010
By John M. Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These 28 stories from 2006 are well-written, well-chosen and well-documented. The volume begins with a comprehensive summary of important events in the SF genre during 2006. The stories that follow are introduced by concise author bios, descriptions of major publications and intriguing story previews. All as Dozois readers have come to expect.

My six favorite stories are:

Alastair Reynolds' "Signal to Noise" stands out first of all as a story outside his usual high-tech, far-future universe. A near-future researcher sends a colleague to an alternate timeline where his recently-deceased wife is still alive. And their time together is limited.

Robert Reed's "Good Mountain" feels like a darker, more surreal version of a Frank Herbert Dune novel. Our characters flee disaster by riding a giant worm and intrigue against one another as their world warps beyond their experience or understanding.

Mary Rosenblum's "Home Movies" introduces a member of one of the world's newest professions, a trained rememberer who stores experiences to be sold and lost completely to her employer. Until she experiences some things worth remembering.

Greg Egan's "Riding the Crocodile" is space opera at its high-tech, futuristic best. A long-lived couple tire of existence and set themselves a near-impossible task as a culmination of their mortal spans. After much toil, they decide upon an ending.

Ken MacLeod's "The Highway Men" takes us to a bleak future in the United Kingdom filled with conflict and uncertainty--the kind of setting in which men become heroes.

Alastair Reynolds' "Nightingale" smuggles us along as a carefully-picked assault team works to bring a war criminal to justice. Any mission the whole team can walk away from is a success, is it not?

This book is good reading and highly recommended. There are few more rewarding ways to spend your time.
HASH(0x9087c0cc) out of 5 stars Good, solid collection, way better than the one from 2005 - but the general mood is pessimistic and humourless... 28 April 2014
By Maciej - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For this collection Gardner Dozois selected SF stories which he considered as best amongst those published in 2006. The one from previous year was bad - but either 2006 was a better year or maybe Gardner Dozois was more inspired, because this anthology is way, WAY better than the horror from the previous year.

As in earlier anthologies, for this one Gardner Dozois selected stories which he considered as the best or most important of the given year. This collection includes also a overview of what happened in SF (largely understood) in 2006 and at the end there is also the very useful section of "honourable mentions" - stories which couldn't be selected for this collection because of lack of space (and this is already a HUGE book!), but which were also of good quality.

Most stories are good, honest, solid stuff, with no less than six being VERY GOOD: "Where the golden apples grow", "Dead men walking" (the BEST in this collection), "Yellow card man" (SECOND BEST), "The Pacific mystery", "Okanoggan falls" and "The town on blighted sea". On another hand for my personal taste there were only four stinkers: "Julian: a Christmas story" (the most clichéd and predictable), "The house beyond your sky" (the worse), "The highway men" (the most stupid) and "Every hole is outlined" (the sickest).

That being said, I cannot rate this collection five stars, mostly because of a generally depressed and pessimistic mood in most of those stories. There is not even one amongst them in which we could find at least an ounce of exhilarating joy that is usually associated (at least for me) with the exploration of new possibilities, new horizons, new discoveries, new knowledge; in fact there is virtually no joy associated with anything. It sounds almost as all modern SF was written by a bunch of terminal cancer patients for a public made of masochists enjoying chronic depression ...

Linked to the previous point, there is also an almost absolute lack of humour in those series; only in "Okanoggan falls" the author seems to be able to find some merriment in life - even if the story is of course about a crushing disaster (what else?).

A rather good surprise is that in at least two stories there is a discreet but nevertheless clear sympathy for Christianism - even if in other stories, when they mention religion at all, Christianism is the one that is bashed, disparaged or at least very ostensibly boycotted... Still, two stories sympathetic to Christian religion in a Gardner Dozois anthology, that is quite an event...

Below, more of my impressions about every story, with some limited SPOILERS:
---------------------------------------------------------------
"I row-boat" by Cory Doctorow - in a future world mostly abandoned by humans who "downloaded" into virtual realities, an intelligent row-boat meets a coral reef, which just recently became intelligent and fully conscious... A story maybe more appealing to informatics obsessed geeks than to the average Joe (like me), but still a GOOD, honest read, with especially an interesting view on religious debates amongst AIs...)))

"Julian: a Christmas story" by Robert Charles Wilson - a dystopian novella about a young homosexual aristocrat living in America which, once capitalism destroyed the world by exhausting natural resources, reverted to a kind of economy and society similar to XIX century United States, except that it is an authoritarian theocracy; this was in fact just the first chapter of a novel author wanted to write and which he later published in 2010 under the title "Julian Comstock", so this thing has no real ending; it includes of course an obligatory dump on Christianity and Christians... Ultimately, a rather BAD, clichéd, quite predictable thing.

"Tin marsh" by Michael Swanwick - on Venus, in a not so distant future, two prospectors looking for minerals have a disagreement and as result all hell breaks loose; an interesting story, which asks maliciously this question: "When great capitalist companies take away large portions of freedom from people who work them - is it ALWAYS a bad thing?" GOOD story.

"The djinn's wife" by Ian McDonald - a kind of sequel to "Little goddess", which figured in the previous year's collection, this thing is a kind of cyberpunk situated in futuristic India; as the title indicates this is about a young woman, a traditional dancer, who is being courted by a, well, kind of djinn... In fact it is ALMOST the same story as "Little goddess - but still, it is quite original and well written. GOOD story.

"The house beyond your sky" by Benjamin Rosenbaum - it was a very ambitious attempt to write something about an entity (a man?, an alien? a god?, an AI? - your guess is as good as mine...) who creates universes. Sadly, the result is a pretentious, chaotic and incomprehensible mess. NOT GOOD - AVOID.

"Where the golden apples grow" by Kage Baker - this is a VERY GOOD story about colonization and terraforming of Mars; two very different boys, who were already born on Mars, will meet and go through a perilous journey... A well written, solid "old style " SF story by the greatly regretted Kage Baker, who left us in 2010 aged barely 57...

"Kin" by Bruce McAllister - a 12-years old human boy contacts a terrifying alien creature willing to present to it a business proposition; a GOOD, surprising story - but with a rather poor ending

"Signal to noise" by Alastair Reynolds - a good story (be it SF or not) should not leave the reader indifferent but call for a reaction (other than yawning if possible); well, this tale of loss and grieving in two alternate realities certainly is a GOOD story, because even if I found it partly depressing and partly unsettling, it certainly is something you don't read casually or forget easily...

"The Big Ice" by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold - the Big Ice is a unique geological formation on a distant planet; its many mysteries fascinate the scientists including a woman named Vega, who is the hero/narrator of this story - and maybe a little bit more than that... It is an AVERAGE honest story, even if the politics of this future world seem quite absurd...

"Bow shock" by Gregory Benford - a novella about an astronomer whose career just took a big hit and whose personal life is also unstable - and he can't efficiently cope with it because he developed an obsession with one of many objects he is studying... Not a masterpiece, but a GOOD honest story, even if I saw the solution of the "mystery" coming already on the page five...

"In the river" by Justin Stanchfield - an interesting story about the First Contact and the price a female scientist pays for successfully communicating with aliens who came to visit us, on the distant edge of Solar System. A honest AVERAGE story.

"Incarnation day" by Walter Jon Williams - after a couple of weaker stories which Gardner Dozois still selected for his previous collections, Walter Jon Williams is back on the track with this story about a horrible brave new world in which children are not born, but first created as software, before being downloaded into fully grown bodies at 18... A GOOD story, albeit once again, if religion still exists in this future and the Buddhism does very well, the Christianism is of course totally extinct...

"Far as you can go" by Greg Van Eekhout - a strange, but well written thing, about a kind of devastated world in which two unlikely friends go for an adventure; it doesn't have a real beginning or a real ending - it is all about atmosphere; still, a GOOD story.

"Good mountain" by Robert Reed - a novella clearly inspired by Jack Vance's classical "Blue world" novel and also probably in part by "Dune" and the purple-worm monster from Dungeons and Dragons...))); on a metal-poor world of floating islands the population faces an unprecedented cataclysm... A GOOD story, harmed however by a very disappointing ending...

"I hold my father's paws" by David D. Levine - in a future world people can regress and become animals, in both body and mind, if they wish so...; a freakishly weird and very disturbing story, but it is definitely a very original thing, which shakes the reader very strongly indeed. I rate it as GOOD because of the wallop it packs, even if I really cannot say that I liked it.

"Dead men walking" by Paul J. McAuley - in a distant future, after some horrible war between outer planets separatists and Earth-based government, the dissidents are locked up in a concentration camp on Ariel (on of the moons of Uranus); the narrator of this story is dying, even if he is NOT EXACTLY a human; he also has only little time to register his final message and expects no rescue... ; surprisingly, although NOT EXACTLY human, the narrator lets us believe that he is a Christian... Albeit not very long, this is a VERY GOOD story - in fact THE BEST in the collection.

"Home movies" by Mary Rosenblum - inspired at least in part by a both a classical Francis Scott Fitzgerald short story (I am not saying which one to avoid spoilers), this tale about a woman who lives and registers experiences for the benefits of other people is a GOOD, honest thing and in fact one of the best cyber-punk stories I ever read.

"Damascus" by Daryl Gregory - a woman joins a secret cult which practices possibly the most abject, the most hateful and the most nightmarish perversion of Christian's teachings... ; later, she becomes the leader of an even more extreme fraction of this cult...; an extremely shocking and very sad thing, but nevertheless a GOOD, solid story, with a surprisingly respectful treatment of REAL Christian beliefs...

"Life on the preservation" by Jack Skillingstead - well written but freakishly weird story about a girl from the future (or is she from an alternate reality?) who comes to our times (our reality?) to destroy the world (or may be to save it?). Nothing is very clear here and I cannot say that I understood everything in this story but is well written. An AVERAGE, honest thing.

"Yellow card man" by Paolo Bacigalupi - a sequel to "The calorie man" which figured in the previous collection (and which I didn't like at all...); an ethnic Chinese refugee, chased from Malaysia by Muslim fanatics, tries to survive in the most appalling misery in a nightmarish reality of future Thailand, after the world as we know it ended. It is a very tough, in fact a pretty nightmarish thing, but still, this is a VERY GOOD story, a rare case in which the sequel is better than the original...

"Riding the crocodile" by Greg Egan - I usually don't like this author AT ALL, but here, he really delivered an interesting story, about two immensely powerful, quasi-immortal and very bored humans, who go on a quest in hope to find some new sense to their lives. The ending is somehow weak - in fact there is no real ending - but still, a GOOD story.

"The ile of dogges" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette - a short, clever story about time travel and also the censorship and repression in times of Queen Elizabeth, an "enlightened" monarch, worshipped nowadays by the politically correct crowd, but who in reality was as cruel and ruthless as her monstrous dad... A GOOD story.

"The highway men" by Ken MacLeod - a talented writer, Ken MacLeod is also a quite extreme left-winged radical, therefore it is quite logical, that this story is in the same time very well written and abysmally stupid, beginning with an outlandishly ridiculous explanation how World War III started, continuing with global warming "climate disaster" hysteria and ending with the old dream of all Marxist revolutionaries - a violent uprising thanks to which all frustrated losers can wantonly murder anybody who displeased them or who fared better than them in life (or simply to whom they owe money...) Well written, but I HATED it!

"The Pacific mystery" by Stephen Baxter - in an alternate reality III Reich and Japan control the Old World, with Great Britain reduced to the role of a German vassal and USA barricaded in Americas...; an absolutely enormous German flying battleship, "Reichsmarschall Herman Goering", is send on an exploration mission to Pacific, which in this reality was NEVER BEFORE crossed! The story was certainly influenced by Harry Turtledove writings, but it made me think also a little of the old classics "Robur the Conqueror" (1886) by Jules Verne, "The war in the air" (1908) by H. G. Wells and especially "The temple" (1920) by H. P. Lovecraft. A VERY GOOD story!

"Okanoggan Falls" by Carolyn Ives Gilman - Earth was conquered by aliens and one day the inhabitants of Okanoggan Falls, Wisconsin, receive an order to evacuate their town, which will be demolished. The wife of the mayor decides to approach alien commanding officer, hoping that leniency can be shown to her beloved home place... This is I believe the only story in the collection containing some humour - it is also written in a very lively, pleasant and witty style, with some highly adorable misandry (female equivalent of misogyny)... A VERY GOOD story!

"Every hole is outlined" by John Barnes - in a very distant future the crew of an interstellar cargo must replace a deceased member. It seems that the usual way to do it is to buy a young girl on one of countless "slaver worlds"... Not only the initial premise is shockingly stupid, but later author simply didn't know what to make with this story so he went full Warp Factor 5 into the weird and supernatural... I DIDN'T LIKE IT - read at your own risk.

"The town on blighted sea" by A. M. Dellamonica - this story takes place in a huge refugee camp, build by aliens for human political refugees, more precisely the people who lost in an Earth-wide, devastating civil war (in which both sides were supported by different alien backers)... A crime is committed and the victim is a local alien - therefore measures have to be taken. A VERY GOOD story.

"Nightingale" by Alastair Reynolds - in a distant future a group of mercenaries try to board a space "Flying Dutchman" (a huge specimen too), looking for an arch-infamous war criminal on the run for; well written adventure/action story, with some distant echoes from classical westerns, war movies and also some clear influences from "2001:Space Odyssey", "War games" and "Alien 4" (but no, NO xenomorphs here); the ending, usually always the most critical spot, well, I guess everybody will appreciate it differently - but it is not bad at all, unlike in so many other modern SF stories; a GOOD , solid, honest story
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CONCLUSION: a GOOD, honest, solid collection, well worth buying, reading and keeping. Enjoy!
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