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The thirteenth in David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer's Year's Best SF series was hard to find, even as a used paperback--there is no Kindle version. I found several of the 25 stories enjoyable, but the collection as a whole had less sparkle than I've grown used to reading the other fourteen books. Perhaps this book is cursed, somehow.

If this faint praise makes you reluctant to pick up the thirteenth book, let me try to entice you. Here are the five shortest stories in the book. It's a minimal investment of your time to try one or two of them. Maybe you will be hooked. Or trapped, somehow.

Tony Ballantyne's "Aristotle OS" is about upgrading the main character's computer, if not his expectations.

Peter Watts' "Repeating the Past" is about the emotional cost of playing video games. There's some sort of moral lesson there, too, if you can put your finger on it.

Robyn Hitchcock's "They Came from the Future" is a poem, for crying out loud--it's hard to know what it's about. It's hard to even keep the tenses straight.

Tim Pratt's "Artifice and Intelligence" is about coping with the world's first machine intelligence. It poses a challenge.

John Hemry's "As You Know, Bob" seems to be about Bill's continual fascination with Jane's breasts, as much as it is about anything. Like Hartwell and Cramer, I find that it reminds me of "The Nine Billion Names of God." No, not that one. The other one.

You might as well read the collection; you've probably invoked the curse already by reading this review. If it matters, my favorite stories were Gene Wolfe's "Memorare" and Kage Baker's "Plotters and Shooters." They can speak to you for themselves. If you find yourself spending time with them.
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on 22 December 2015
Superb Stories great Anthology Series
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