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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 6

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The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science F The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major �best of” anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than thirty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery. Content "The Case of Death and Honey" by Neil Gaiman "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu "Tidal Forces" by Caitlín R Kiernan "Younger Women" by Karen Joy Fowler "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne M. Valente "All That Touches The Air" by An Owomoyela "What We Found" by Geoff Ryman "The Server and the Dragon" by Hannu Rajaniemi "The Choice" by Paul McAuley "Malak" by Peter Watts "Old Habits" by Nalo Hopkinson "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K. J. Parker "Valley of the Girls" by Kelly Link "Brave Little Toaster" by Cory Doctorow "The Dala Horse" by Michael Swanwick "The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece" by M Rickert "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu "Steam Girl" by Dylan Horrocks "After the Apocalypse" by Maureen F. McHugh "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle "Relic" by Jeffrey Ford "The Invasion of Venus" by Stephen Baxter "Woman Leaves Room" by Robert Reed "Restoration" by Robert Shearman "The Onset of a Paranormal Romance" by Bruce Sterling "Catastrophic Disruption of the Head" by Margo Lanagan "The Last Ride of the Glory Girls" by Libba Bray "The Book of Phoenix" by Nnedi Okorafor "Digging" by Ian McDonald "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson "Goodnight Moons" by Ellen Klages


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The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science F The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major �best of” anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than thirty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery. Content "The Case of Death and Honey" by Neil Gaiman "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu "Tidal Forces" by Caitlín R Kiernan "Younger Women" by Karen Joy Fowler "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne M. Valente "All That Touches The Air" by An Owomoyela "What We Found" by Geoff Ryman "The Server and the Dragon" by Hannu Rajaniemi "The Choice" by Paul McAuley "Malak" by Peter Watts "Old Habits" by Nalo Hopkinson "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K. J. Parker "Valley of the Girls" by Kelly Link "Brave Little Toaster" by Cory Doctorow "The Dala Horse" by Michael Swanwick "The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece" by M Rickert "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu "Steam Girl" by Dylan Horrocks "After the Apocalypse" by Maureen F. McHugh "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle "Relic" by Jeffrey Ford "The Invasion of Venus" by Stephen Baxter "Woman Leaves Room" by Robert Reed "Restoration" by Robert Shearman "The Onset of a Paranormal Romance" by Bruce Sterling "Catastrophic Disruption of the Head" by Margo Lanagan "The Last Ride of the Glory Girls" by Libba Bray "The Book of Phoenix" by Nnedi Okorafor "Digging" by Ian McDonald "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson "Goodnight Moons" by Ellen Klages

30 review for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 6

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I got this from NetGalley, and it comes out March 6. If you enjoy short stories or science fiction/fantasy, you should definitely read this! I had a few favorite authors with stories in this volume, but surprisingly (to me), those stories weren't my favorite. They were still great, but others really stood out: The friendship/romance in Steam Girl by Dylan Horrocks - so touching! The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter was thought provoking about humanity's place in the universe. That sounds so somb I got this from NetGalley, and it comes out March 6. If you enjoy short stories or science fiction/fantasy, you should definitely read this! I had a few favorite authors with stories in this volume, but surprisingly (to me), those stories weren't my favorite. They were still great, but others really stood out: The friendship/romance in Steam Girl by Dylan Horrocks - so touching! The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter was thought provoking about humanity's place in the universe. That sounds so somber, but this story was. Woman Leaves Room by Robert Reed is just a twist on a concept that I don't want to give away, but is definitely an experiment in cognition. The Onset of a Paranormal Romance by Bruce Sterling started slow for me but by the end I wanted to reread the entire story again, and did. There are two sections, Lover A, and Lover B. Nothing is how you assume. Goodnight Moons by Ellen Klages was cute, about a child born in space. My favorite story - The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu. Anyone who loves Catherynne Valente would love this story. It was beautiful to imagine in my head.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    **** The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, (A Study in Sherlock) Actually read this one twice in a row, because it was fun to revisit the details... There may be many Holmes stories set in the famed fictional detective's 'retirement,' but, not being a huge Holmes fan, it unavoidably reminded me of the only other one I've read, Michael Chabon's 'Final Solution.' This story is a follow-up/sequel to the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Creeping Man." If I'd read that **** The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, (A Study in Sherlock) Actually read this one twice in a row, because it was fun to revisit the details... There may be many Holmes stories set in the famed fictional detective's 'retirement,' but, not being a huge Holmes fan, it unavoidably reminded me of the only other one I've read, Michael Chabon's 'Final Solution.' This story is a follow-up/sequel to the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Creeping Man." If I'd read that first, it would likely have been better - but this is still an extremely well-crafted story. The elderly Holmes is bored with solving murders and dealing with cases of death. When his brother passes away, he turns his phenomenal brain to a new mystery - the mystery of life. His researches take him to rural China, and an encounter with a crotchety beekeeper. ** The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, (Clarkesworld, 4/11). I didn't care for this story much, but I am clearly in the minority, as I think this is the third anthology I've come across that included it. The first time, I wrote: " I feel like maybe I missed something here. Or maybe the 'something' just wasn't there. I liked the set-up, the conflict between the two insect species and the revolutionary faction amongst the bees. But I didn’t feel that it all pulled together." *** Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, (Eclipse Four) More horror than sci-fi, this reminded me a bit of Kathe Koja's 'The Cipher.' In both stories, a mysterious black hole appears, threatening to suck in all around it... Here, the atmosphere of threat and loneliness is built up quite well, and it's also quite effectively creepy - but the ending wasn't quite strong enough, for me. *** Younger Women, Karen Joy Fowler, (Subterranean, Summer 2011) You can read this for free here: http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine... I'm guessing this is a response to 'Twilight' - and exploration into the question of why the hell an ancient-but-attractive vampire would want to hang around high schools and date 15-year-olds - from the perspective of a middle-aged mother with her own issues. Well-crafted and relevant. *** White Lines on a Green Field , Catherynne M. Valente, (Subterranean, Fall 2011) This story takes the coyote/trickster legend and transposes it onto a year at a Midwestern high school. Valente does a really great job of capturing the dangerous ambiguity of Coyote's nature - but I felt like if I were more interested in the mythology of American High School as a concept, I would've appreciated this piece more. **** All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, (Lightspeed Magazine, 4/11) Excellent alien-contact story. You can read it for free, here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... The alien Vosth are a sort of micro-organism based hive mind. They are capable of parasitically colonizing human bodies, taking them over. But they have agreed not to do so on this planet, as long as humans maintain airlocks and wear environmental suits. Most in the colony have taken this in stride, but the narrator is a rather emotionally disturbed, paranoid person who insists on wearing an enviro-suit at all times. The narrator may also be the one who pivots the fulcrum of human-Vosth relations. **** What We Found, Geoff Ryman, (F&SF, 9-10/11) Previously read in 'Nebula Awards Showcase 2013' - at that time, I wrote: "This story does contain a science-fiction concept: What if the act of observing scientific facts causes those ‘facts’ to ‘wear out’ and change? But mostly, it’s a story about a man (an African scientist from a modest background) dealing with a family history of mental illness that has torn generations apart. Vividly, sensitively and believably written." ** The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi, (Engineering Infinity) I've read Rajaniemi's 'Quantum Thief,' and felt that I might have appreciated it more if I was much more geeky about math. This story, I felt like I would appreciate more if I were much more geeky about computer programming and networking. There are a lot of references that I don't fully get, not being educated in his fields, and as pure fiction, the storytelling just isn't winning me over. I'm feeling like his work is for people other than me. *****The Choice, Paul McAuley, (Asimov‘s, 1/11) I really loved McAuley's Confluence series, but then read a couple of other books by him that I didn't really care for that much. However, this story is a winner. Definitely recommended for any fans of Paolo Bacigalupi's 'Shipbreaker' - it has that same setting of young people trying to make it and get ahead in a rough, climate-change-decimated future. However - this story also has aliens. And it's great. *** Malak, Peter Watts, (Engineering Infinity) Timely and interesting story of AI. When programmers start to experiment with giving a battle drone a 'conscience,' they're seemingly more interested in the decisions that will be made, rather than heeding those decisions. But a machine may make choices that humans might not contemplate. It's a bit hard to get into a story told from a machine's point of view, but the ending's a kicker. *** Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson, (Eclipse Four) Ghosts haunt the mall where they died. (Knowing someone who worked in a mall for a while, you might be surprised how many people DO die in malls.) Not bad; probably my favorite thing I've read by Hopkinson. **** A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, K. J. Parker, (Subterranean, Winter 2011. ) I believe this is the second story I've read by Parker, and I'm very impressed. The Renaissance-ish fantasy setting is rich and enjoyable, but the meat of the story is in the complex relationship between two renowned composers, as their fortunes shift. Definitely going to seek out more from this author. (Just ordered two more books!) **** Valley of the Girls, Kelly Link, (Subterranean, Spring 2011) This story grew on me. The first time through, I found myself not liking it as much as most of Link's work, and I kind of slid over some essential details. Then, I got to the end... and went back to the beginning, and started right over to get all those details in. It's an exploration of the consequences of celebrity, the meaning of identity... and it's also just plain creepy. Excellent. *** Brave Little Toaster, Cory Doctorow, (TRSF) Cute piece, with disturbing over tones. About adapting (or not) to life with modern technology. **** The Dala Horse, Michael Swanwick, (Tor.com, 7/11) Quite nice. An almost-retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in a post-apocalyptic setting redolent of Scandinavian mythology and techno-magic. A little girl is sent away by her parents to escape unknown danger, on a perilous journey to her grandmother's house. *** The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, M Rickert, (F&SF, 9-10/11) A strange tale that explores death, grief, and how we deal with those who play the undertaker's role. *****The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu, (F&SF, March/April 2011) Previously read as part of the 'Nebula Awards Showcase 2013.' What I wrote: "'The Paper Menagerie' is the first work of fiction, of any length, to have swept the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards." I cried. OK, usually when I say "I cried" I mean one tear escaped my eye... This story made me cry a whole bunch of tears. A story of the disconnect between parents and children, the gap between cultures, and magical origami. **** Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks, (Steampunk!) It's a theme written many times before, but this is a particularly nice take on it. (It's very, remarkably similar to Zilpha Keatley Snyder's 'The Changeling,' and also reminded me of Bridge to Terabithia, and many other stories I read when I was younger.) A new girl comes to town, and introduces a nerdy boy to to a world of imagination. But her own reality might not be all that magical. Or might it? A delicate sense of ambiguity enhances the spot-on depiction of the feeling shared by all those who feel that they don't truly belong in this world. **** After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh, (After the Apocalypse) Second read (previously read in McHugh's collection of the same title.) "In the classic format of the post-apocalyptic story, and mother and daughter on the road through the wasteland. Hard and nasty choices are made. It’s about strength, weakness, necessity, self-interest – the ties that bind; or fail to bind. As usual, McHugh looks unflinchingly at what people will do; discarding the pretty myths we might tell ourselves about ourselves along the way." *** Underbridge, Peter S. Beagle, (Naked City) A frustrated professor, unable to find a permanent, tenured position, discovers that a concrete troll under a Seattle bridge, created as an art project, actually comes to life at night - and has a nervous breakdown. Masterfully written, but quite depressing (and lacking sympathetic characters). *** Relic, Jeffrey Ford, (The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities) Speaking of unsympathetic characters... there's this odd and rather unpleasant story. A hermit lives in a remote shrine, with the relic of his saint, and gives occasional sermons. The story is very carefully designed so that everyone in it, when introduced, seems pleasant and innocent - but as more is revealed, they are shown to be venal or worse. It's well done - but not particularly enjoyable. *** The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter, (Engineering Infinity) A lack-of-first-contact story. What if aliens showed up and turned out to have neither benign nor hostile intentions toward us? What if they weren't interested in us at all? *** Woman Leaves Room, Robert Reed, (Lightspeed Magazine, 3/11) An abandoned, unfinished AI persists down the ages. Not bad, but the ending was a little falsely sentimental for my taste. *** Restoration, Robert Shearman, (Everyone’s Just So So Special) In some kind of bizarrely fascistic future existence, the true nature of which is never made clear, an Assistant is sent by the Curator to work at the Art Gallery. Into a deceptively simple weird tale, a lot is woven in: totalitarianism, identity and loss, the nature of memory, the ethics of art restoration, the two-sided nature of the study of history, and the idea that it is written by the victor. *** The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling, (Flurb, Fall-Winter 2011) The first bit feels a bit like a 'set' dialogue. with the characters acting as puppets for the author's thoughts - but the second part got me intrigued enough that I really wanted to find out what was going to happen with these characters. And then - it ends! Sorry, but this is not a short story. It might be the first chapter of a novel - but it's not. You can read this for free here, if you want to be frustrated: http://www.flurb.net/12/12sterling.htm *** Catastrophic Disruption of the Head, Margo Lanagan, (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Vol. 1) An adult retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Tinderbox" (remember the dogs with eyes the size of dinner plates?) Set during an unspecified South Asian (?) war - Vietnam (?) - the soldier protagonist is a thoroughly awful person, and the story explores the ways in which war erodes a person's moral sense. *** The Last Ride of the Glory Girls, Libba Bray, (Steampunk!) On a colony planet which seems an awful lot like the Old West (to the point of having a Pinkerton's Detective Agency), a small group of female outlaws is raising havoc with their banditry. A reluctant detective is sent to infiltrate the band. I really wanted to know more about the backgrounds of the characters and their planet. I found the narrator's ultra-religious background fascinating, and her emotional issues compelling. The steampunk stuff seemed kind of draped-on-top, and unnecessary. **** The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book) , Nnedi Okorafor, (Clarkesworld, 3/11) You can read this for free, here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/okora... Excellent story, and a must for any fans of the 'mutant' theme. People who are bio-experiments are studied, locked up in a skyscraper. They've never known freedom, to miss it - but the instinct toward freedom is too strong to be denied. *** Digging, Ian McDonald, (Life on Mars) Interested in the idea of terraforming Mars? Like Kim Stanley Robinson's 'Red Mars' trilogy, but maybe looking for something a little more succinct? Check out this story, which has some really original and interesting ideas about how such an endeavor might work out (or not). *****The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson, (Asimov’s, 10-11/11) Already read (in Nebula Awards Showcase 2013) - and you can read for free, here: http://www.asimovs.com/2011_10-11/exc... A beautiful and romantic fantasy novella of an engineer who arrives to build a bridge over a river of poisonous mist, and the ferrywoman whose life has been devoted to crossing that treacherous expanse. Evocative, thoughtful, and bittersweet *** Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages, (Life on Mars) OK, y'know, if this happened to me, my primary emotion would be furious anger at my husband, and that's not even mentioned. Also, I have to say, euthanasia is an option. That probably makes me a bad person, but so be it. It's not a bad story, however. Average... 3.42, rounds up to 4 because that's how I feel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Panegyres

    As expected, Jonathan Strahan delivers another wonderful anthology here. 2011 must have been an especially great year because many of the jewels in this Volume are spectacular. Every story deserved its place, although I personally warmed less to the two shorter stories, only because I enjoy being immersed in the world of a story for a lengthier period of time. Also, a couple of the futuristic stories related more to scientific ideas and possible future realities rather than what I emotionally co As expected, Jonathan Strahan delivers another wonderful anthology here. 2011 must have been an especially great year because many of the jewels in this Volume are spectacular. Every story deserved its place, although I personally warmed less to the two shorter stories, only because I enjoy being immersed in the world of a story for a lengthier period of time. Also, a couple of the futuristic stories related more to scientific ideas and possible future realities rather than what I emotionally connect with when reading: relationships and characters. A few I perceived as very strong out of a fine selection include: 'All That Touches the Air' by An Owomeyela, 'A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong' by K.J Parker, 'The Dala Horse' by Michael Swanwick, 'The Corpse Painter's Masterpiece' by M Rickert, 'The Paper Menagerie' by Kevin Liu, 'After the Apocalypse' by Maureen F. McHugh, 'Underbridge' by Peter S. Beagle, 'Relic' by Jeffrey Ford. 'The Invasion of Venus' by Stephen Baxter, 'The Catastrophic Disruption of the Head' by Margo Lanagan, and 'The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from the Great Book)' by Nnedi Okorafor. The novella 'The Man Who Bridged the Mist' is a strong and gentle moving story of engineering, love and change. I liked the unrushed feel to this story, which mirrors the lengthy time a bridge takes to build. And then there are a few in this anthology which I'll add to my list of all-time great stories. All masterpieces of the short story genre that I expect to stay with me for a very long time: 'White Lines on a Green Field' by Catherynne M. Valente is a wild, magical, animalistic portrayal of leaving year. The especially strong, evocative narrative voice howls out to readers in a tale of mythical and symbolic wonder. 'What We Found' by Geoff Ryman is another diamond. The work immerses the reader into the strong socio-cultural world of a Nigerian family. It successfully explores class and cultural rivalry, along with gender and family power relationships, all within the various substructures of Nigerian society. I'm on the hunt now for more of Ryman's work. 'Old Habits' by Nalo Hopkinson is a work that I've read before (along with 'Tidal Forces' by Caitlin R. Kiernan) in the anthology Eclipse Four, also edited by Strahan. This has to be one of the most underrated stories of our time. Set in the consumerist setting of a shopping mall, those who have died there only feel–in a sensory manner– when they relive their deaths each day, which they aptly label 'being on the clock'. These damned souls also occasionally prey on one another to sense briefly what it is to be 'human'. Entrapped within the mall, the characters come from a variety of marginalised societal groups. Can the gay protagonist (a loving father with a witty sense of humour) step out of this purgatorial comfort zone into the dark unknown outside of the mall; and by doing so take his own leap of faith to be a better being? Utterly fantastic. 'Steam Girl' by Dylan Horrocks is a stunningly beautiful and emotional story about escapism and friendship. Horrocks pulled me in and never let me go. Pathos and pothos abound here. It also has this especially insightful line on the narrative craft: 'Some writers write to escape from reality. Others write to understand it. But the best writers write in order to take possession of reality, and so transform it.' 'Restoration' by Robert Shearman is a fresh and cynical story that reminded me of George Saunders at his offbeat best. A couple are lost to time but not to love as they restore enormous paintings portraying single years in history. A quirky, ingenious tale by a superb writer. And there are plenty more worthy works I haven't mentioned in this brief review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Best review here is Althea Ann’s: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Best review online, http://bestsf.net/the-best-science-fi... TOC: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?5... — but not in the as-published order! I’d read a number of these stories previously. These are the new-to-me stories I found most impressive. Highlights •The Case of Death and Honey [Sherlock Holmes], Neil Gaiman. Holmes finds an immortality(?) potion in China. Bees are involved. Chinese stuff is a lot more interesting th Best review here is Althea Ann’s: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Best review online, http://bestsf.net/the-best-science-fi... TOC: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?5... — but not in the as-published order! I’d read a number of these stories previously. These are the new-to-me stories I found most impressive. Highlights •The Case of Death and Honey [Sherlock Holmes], Neil Gaiman. Holmes finds an immortality(?) potion in China. Bees are involved. Chinese stuff is a lot more interesting than the Sherlock. 3.5 stars • All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, online at http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic.... Cool story about living with a colonial alien intelligence that likes to take over humans. 4.5 stars. • Brave Little Toaster by Cory Doctorow. What if the Internet of Things gets seriously out of hand? 3.5 stars. •The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling. Novel excerpt from his (then) WIP novel “Love Is Strange." The excerpt is fun, but it just . . . stops. I put the novel on the TBR list. 3.5 stars. • Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks. Two misfits in high school. Bittersweet story, nicely done. 3.3 stars. • Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages. The first baby on Mars came as a big surprise. Short & sweet, 3.5 stars. ============== First-rate stories, not reread this time •"The Man Who Bridged the Mist", Kij Johnson. Winner of both the Hugo & Nebula awards for best novelette. I first read this in the Dozois Year’s Best, and here’s Althea’s description: “A beautiful and romantic fantasy novella of an engineer who arrives to build a bridge over a river of poisonous mist . . .” 4.5 stars. Other reprints: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cg... • "Malak" by Peter Watts. Heavily-armed AI warbird is developing a conscience. Sort of. https://rifters.com/real/shorts/Peter... 4 stars • "The Invasion of Venus" by Stephen Baxter. Two inexplicable alien civilizations. 4 stars. Not online. •"The Dala Horse" by Michael Swanwick. Russian-themed science-fantasy. Check out the great Julie Dillon art: http://www.tor.com/2011/07/13/the-dal... 4+ stars, science-fantasy. • "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong", K. J. Parker. See Althea for a description. 4+ stars. Online at https://subterraneanpress.com/magazin... Note: I read all the SF (I think) and all the high-rated/award-nominated fantasy in the anthology. I may go back and read some of the other stories sometime. . . . Or not, as I'm (generally) lukewarm re fantasy (unless I'm not). My 3.5+ star rating is just for the stories discussed here.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Earl Biringer

    Individual stories rated as follows: 5* - A classic. 4* - A really good story, recommended reading. 3* - A decent story 2* - Not a good story, something seriously inhibited any enjoyment 1* - Unreadable and/or a complete waste of time Gaiman, Neil: The Case of Death and Honey 2* I understand this one was written specifically for a themed anthology, but it is just too rough and disjointed to work. Yu, E. Lily: The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees 3* I almost unfairly docked this one a star becau Individual stories rated as follows: 5* - A classic. 4* - A really good story, recommended reading. 3* - A decent story 2* - Not a good story, something seriously inhibited any enjoyment 1* - Unreadable and/or a complete waste of time Gaiman, Neil: The Case of Death and Honey 2* I understand this one was written specifically for a themed anthology, but it is just too rough and disjointed to work. Yu, E. Lily: The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees 3* I almost unfairly docked this one a star because the volume leads off with two separate stories about bees in the orient. That is the editor’s fault, though, not the author’s. Kiernan, Caitlin R.: Tidal Forces 2* Maybe I just didn’t get it, but this really made no sense to me. The extended “house-of-cards” metaphor does nothing but disrupt whatever narrative flow might be there. Fowler, Karen Joy: Younger Women 2* NOTE TO WORLD: PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE VAMPIRES! It’s played out, people! Valente, Catherynne M.: White Lines on a Green Field 2* No clue what this was supposed to be. Owomoyela, An: What Touches the Air 3* Ryman, Geoff: What We Found 3* Rajaniemi, Hannu: The Server and the Dragon 3* McAuley, Paul: The Choice 3* Watts, Peter: Malak 4* I’m a sucker for a well-written story about sentience/morality emerging from computers, and this one is better written than most. Hopkinson, Nalo: Old Habits 3* Parker, K. J.: A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong 3* Link, Kelly: Valley of the Girls. 2* Another one that just left me wondering “Why?” Doctorow, Cory: The Brave Little Toaster 3* Swanwick, Michael: The Dala Horse 3* Rickert, M.: The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece 2* A disjointed… something. Liu, Ken: The Paper Menagerie 4* Liu is a damn fine writer. One of the most moving stories I’ve read recently. Horrocks, Dylan: Steam Girl 3* McHugh, Maureen F.: After the Apocalypse 3* Beagle, Peter S.: Underbridge 4* Beagle’s another damn fine writer. Pretty standard plot becomes worthwhile in his hands. Ford, Jeffrey: Relic 4* Another type of story that I’m a sucker for is “nascent myth” type of thing. This is a good example. Baxter, Stephen: The Invasion of Venus 3* Reed, Robert: Woman Leaves the Room 3* Shearman, Robert: Restoration 3* Sterling, Bruce: The Onset of a Paranormal Romance 2* NOTE TO WORLD: PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE PARANORMAL ROMANCES! It’s played out, people! Lanagan, Margo: Catastrophic Disruption of the Head 2* I don’t even know what to say about this mess – it’s like the author had an idea but had no clue what to do with that idea. Bray, Libba: The Last Ride of the Glory Girls 3* Okoafor, Nnedi: The Book of Phoenix 3* McDonald, Ian: Digging 1* I rated this story a one-star in my review of a previous collection. Tried to reread it just to make sure. Yes, I'm still sure. Johnson, Kij: The Man Who Bridged the Mist 3* Klages, Ellen: Goodnight Moons 3*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    The stories I liked I liked a LOT and the ones I didn't I just skipped after a few pages--so overall, a really fun read. Anthologies are always going to be a mixed bag and this one had more winners than losers. I'll look for more collections in this series. The stories I liked I liked a LOT and the ones I didn't I just skipped after a few pages--so overall, a really fun read. Anthologies are always going to be a mixed bag and this one had more winners than losers. I'll look for more collections in this series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donald Armfield

    Tidal Forces: play your cards a bizarre tale of two lesbian lovers. Dreams coming true, shadows lurking. Caitlin Kiernan will Peel your eyes over to look for the galaxy in them. Old Habits by Nalo Hopkinson six million ways to die choose one. A mall worker struts throughout the mall without bumping into no one. A tie he should of never brought. A ghost story for mall rats. Valley of the girls by Kelly Link Looking for faces lost or trapped in a pyramid next to a dead person. Maybe you will see the Tidal Forces: play your cards a bizarre tale of two lesbian lovers. Dreams coming true, shadows lurking. Caitlin Kiernan will Peel your eyes over to look for the galaxy in them. Old Habits by Nalo Hopkinson six million ways to die choose one. A mall worker struts throughout the mall without bumping into no one. A tie he should of never brought. A ghost story for mall rats. Valley of the girls by Kelly Link Looking for faces lost or trapped in a pyramid next to a dead person. Maybe you will see the spirits at night. A sex tape, unicorns and one hell of a fantasy story. Cory Doctorow's Brave Little Toaster is hilarious talking appliances and a refrigerator that does online shopping. Check this Author's home page out. The Dala Horse by Michael Swanwick is a Dora Explorer episode with an eerie twist. Ken Liu's Paper Menagerie got me chocked up. A sad story of a boy whose mother made him paper animals that come to life and at the end learns he should of treated his mother better. Margo Lanagan's Catastrophic Disruption of the Head a great start of story but gets tedious and boring near end. I would like to thank Night Shade Books for giving me the chance to read this anthology before it hits stores. Found some new authors to follow and some stories that took all levels of Sci-fi and fantasy to new worlds of enjoyment. From bizarre worlds, strange people, laughter and some sobs. Jonathan Strahan put together an all star cast. Above are the ones I enjoyed the most.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wil C. Fry

    As with any anthology, the reader won't connect with every story; some will seem like space-fillers and others will be gems enjoyable to discover. For me, this one contained too few gems and too many that I simply didn't enjoy. There are 31 stories in this 589-page book. For a handful, I couldn't even tell why they were included -- there seemed to be zero elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Quite a few others, either I never understood what was happening, or nothing ever happened. Som As with any anthology, the reader won't connect with every story; some will seem like space-fillers and others will be gems enjoyable to discover. For me, this one contained too few gems and too many that I simply didn't enjoy. There are 31 stories in this 589-page book. For a handful, I couldn't even tell why they were included -- there seemed to be zero elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Quite a few others, either I never understood what was happening, or nothing ever happened. Some, it seemed, were simply poorly written. I'm surprised this book won awards.The stories I did enjoy include: All That Touches The Air, by An Owomoyela; The Server And The Dragon, by Hannu Rajaniemi; Malak, by Peter Watts; The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu; and Digging, by Ian McDonald.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Some great stories here, some mediocre stories here. My favorites were "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne Valente, "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K.J. Parker, and "The Dala Horse" by Michael Swanwick. Some great stories here, some mediocre stories here. My favorites were "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne Valente, "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K.J. Parker, and "The Dala Horse" by Michael Swanwick.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kaiju Reviews

    This is a good collection. First and foremost, the good and great stories far outnumber the mediocre to 'what the hell' stories. Strahan seems more motivated by quality than some of the other best of editors out there that may be more inclined to put in edgier high concept stuff. Though, to be honest, I say that only because the other collection from this year that I read has stories in it that simply shouldn't be there, and I can't explain why they are... and Strahan doesn't put them in here... This is a good collection. First and foremost, the good and great stories far outnumber the mediocre to 'what the hell' stories. Strahan seems more motivated by quality than some of the other best of editors out there that may be more inclined to put in edgier high concept stuff. Though, to be honest, I say that only because the other collection from this year that I read has stories in it that simply shouldn't be there, and I can't explain why they are... and Strahan doesn't put them in here... so we're aligned on that I guess. Anyway. Many of these are some of the best stories I've read. The Man Who Bridged the Mist, A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, The Paper Menagerie, Relic, those are my 4.5 or higher stories. I can't tell you when I've read a collection with that many. And many of the rest are 3.5s or 4s. With only a handful of stinkers, and none that made me throw the book across the room. And, I should mention. This physical copy is a pleasure to read. The print is larger so that a 100 page story is 100 pages, not 20. There's something punishing about reading a really long story that takes up only a few pages, it's like I deserve more pages to turn or something! Okay, that's probably more about my OCD than anything else, but thanks for being an easier book to read Volume 6 of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, I appreciated it... Good stuff. Worth digging up. And the stories I listed (especially the Man Who Bridged the Mist and Birdsong) worth a kindle read if you can't find a physical copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    This was a good anthology. But I'm struggling to identify what made it different. All of the stories were readable. They flowed together in interesting ways--e.g., the first two stories had bees in them. While the tone varied, they all seemed to have an element of magic to them: with the exception of Maureen McHugh's "After the Apocalypse," which was horrific, although probably not on the level you'd expect. Whew. I think the thing that set these stories apart was that they were put together in a This was a good anthology. But I'm struggling to identify what made it different. All of the stories were readable. They flowed together in interesting ways--e.g., the first two stories had bees in them. While the tone varied, they all seemed to have an element of magic to them: with the exception of Maureen McHugh's "After the Apocalypse," which was horrific, although probably not on the level you'd expect. Whew. I think the thing that set these stories apart was that they were put together in a way that allowed you to savor them. Maybe that's a dumb thing to say. Shouldn't all anthologies do that? But no--some anthologies are show-offs. Some of chaotic. This is like a good mix tape, where every song is good, and underneath the whole tape you pick up on what the mixer meant: "I have a crush on you," that kind of thing. In this case, the underlying meaning was, "I just want you to sit back and savor these, the contrasts between them, their similarities." Anyway, good stuff, will pick up more from this editor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    I have liked the previous 5 of this series so well that I stopped reading the Dozois collection and made this my annual. I was very disappointed with volume 6 however. Paralleling a discussion on Charles Stross's blog, there was a real lack of big ideas. Many of the stories have a very small SF element that could easily be dispensed with without harming the tale. The longer works chosen for inclusion were for the most part extremely tedious affairs. Even the opening story by Gaiman is a cheapy-- I have liked the previous 5 of this series so well that I stopped reading the Dozois collection and made this my annual. I was very disappointed with volume 6 however. Paralleling a discussion on Charles Stross's blog, there was a real lack of big ideas. Many of the stories have a very small SF element that could easily be dispensed with without harming the tale. The longer works chosen for inclusion were for the most part extremely tedious affairs. Even the opening story by Gaiman is a cheapy-- Gaiman does Sherlock Holmes. Which while reasonably entertaining does nothing to advance the human experience. It's weird as well that this is Strahan's longest introduction yet, where he talks about how well SF is doing, and even foregoes his usual complaints about how much work the collection is. Is this the problem? Is too much of the work being handed off to someone else with editorial skills less superb?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    The entire collection was worth reading if only for one story: "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K.J. Parker. Near to my heart both as a musician and because it is a brilliantly written piece of short fiction. Other standouts: "Tidal Forces" by Caitlín Kiernan, "The Brave Little Toaster" by Cory Doctorow, "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle, and "Digging" by Ian McDonald. The entire collection was worth reading if only for one story: "A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong" by K.J. Parker. Near to my heart both as a musician and because it is a brilliantly written piece of short fiction. Other standouts: "Tidal Forces" by Caitlín Kiernan, "The Brave Little Toaster" by Cory Doctorow, "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle, and "Digging" by Ian McDonald.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    a group of mostly very well written short stories. For some reason, I found "the man who bridged the mist" - almost a novella - particularly good. a group of mostly very well written short stories. For some reason, I found "the man who bridged the mist" - almost a novella - particularly good.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ria Bridges

    Anthologies like that are always hard to judge and rate critically without rating each individual story contained within. Some are good, some less so, and the reasons why vary from story to story. This is the problem I ran into here, and it’s the biggest reason that it took me so long to read from beginning to end. The majority of the stories contained within this volume are fantastic, creative and original and of the sort that keeps you glued to your chair and turning pages. Then there are the Anthologies like that are always hard to judge and rate critically without rating each individual story contained within. Some are good, some less so, and the reasons why vary from story to story. This is the problem I ran into here, and it’s the biggest reason that it took me so long to read from beginning to end. The majority of the stories contained within this volume are fantastic, creative and original and of the sort that keeps you glued to your chair and turning pages. Then there are the others, definitely in the minority but still there, that have strange pacing and feel very chaotic and removed from what’s happening and in general just drag on and on. Those stories were the ones that made it very easy to put the book down and hard to pick it up again, knowing that I still had more of that story to read, and I didn’t feel that it was right or fair to just skip it and not get the full flavour of what the book was trying to convey. There were thankfully only a few stories like that, but they really did their part to drag down my enjoyment of the rest. That being said, the stories that were good were good! From the creativity of trickster gods attending high school, to a tale of magical paper animals that illustrate a regretful coming-of-age and denial of heritage, to the implications of the first child born on Mars, so many of these stories were a sheer delight to read, and I loved each second I spent within the world in their pages. Plenty of them evoked a sense of regret at the end, in that the story was over and I wouldn’t be able to continue to tale and find out more. I was definitely introduced to a good few authors whose work I want to look into, and that was the biggest and best thing that I took away from this. Kij Johnson, Nnedi Okorafor, Dylan Horrocks… This book even made me want to give K J Parker another chance, and seeing as how I was rather unimpressed with my introduction to his works, that says a lot for the story that he has in this compilation. In spite of a couple of what I consider to be duds, overall I’d have to rate this book as one that I will ultimately end up rereading at some point in the future, which means that it’s more than good enough for me to want to keep it around. Very enjoyable! Anyone who’s looking for a good way to find new fantasy and sci-fi authors would do well to grab a copy of this book. (Book received in exchange for an honest review.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Kirk

    It's always hard to assign a star value to a collection of short stories, particularly a collection from as diverse a field of authors as this collection. That being said, I really enjoyed the majority of stories collected here. Some, were, of course, much more to my liking than others, but overall, I was impressed by the imagination and writing found within. I don't read enough short stories in my life, but I am particularly delighted to see that the genres of sci-fi and fantasy are producing won It's always hard to assign a star value to a collection of short stories, particularly a collection from as diverse a field of authors as this collection. That being said, I really enjoyed the majority of stories collected here. Some, were, of course, much more to my liking than others, but overall, I was impressed by the imagination and writing found within. I don't read enough short stories in my life, but I am particularly delighted to see that the genres of sci-fi and fantasy are producing wonderful collections.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lbech

    Some stories were fantastic, some were ho-hum. I loved Ken Liu, Stephen Baxter, Peter S. Beagle, Kid Johnson, An Owomoyela, K. J Parker. Others were just not my thing. But every volume is worth it. I'm just starting nine now and I find Strahan's collections to be the best I've read. Some stories were fantastic, some were ho-hum. I loved Ken Liu, Stephen Baxter, Peter S. Beagle, Kid Johnson, An Owomoyela, K. J Parker. Others were just not my thing. But every volume is worth it. I'm just starting nine now and I find Strahan's collections to be the best I've read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Like most anthologies, this book had stories that grabbed me and stories that were more of a slog to get through. Overall i enjoyed this book and had fun poking around at all the current tips of stories.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Blumberg

    Excellent selection of stories Most were mesmerizing, a few confusing. I can't wait to read them again! My favorites all drew me in and ended too soon. Excellent selection of stories Most were mesmerizing, a few confusing. I can't wait to read them again! My favorites all drew me in and ended too soon.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Replogle

    Such a good collection, tho several I've read before in other places. The hazards of Sci Fi magazine subscriptions, I guess. Still I found some new authors to follow. Such a good collection, tho several I've read before in other places. The hazards of Sci Fi magazine subscriptions, I guess. Still I found some new authors to follow.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    Good collection Interesting group of stories although towards the end a lot of similarities in the plots. It was a good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    herb gonzalez

    Slow Year

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Lots of great short stories So many great writers. Worth a long read. For many of these writers this was breakthrough work. Very enjoyable and

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 6 from Nightshade Books review Edited by: Jonathan Strahan 4 out of 5 stars Disclosure: I received a free eBook ARC galley from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review Synopsis from Goodreads: The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 6 from Nightshade Books review Edited by: Jonathan Strahan 4 out of 5 stars Disclosure: I received a free eBook ARC galley from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review Synopsis from Goodreads: The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major "best of" anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than thirty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery.  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Introduction, Jonathan Strahan  The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, (A Study in Sherlock)  The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, (Clarkesworld, 4/11)  Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, (Eclipse Four)  Younger Women, Karen Joy Fowler, (Subterranean, Summer 2011)  White Lines on a Green Field , Catherynne M. Valente, (Subterranean, Fall 2011)  All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, (Lightspeed Magazine, 4/11)  What We Found, Geoff Ryman, (F&SF, 9-10/11)  The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi, (Engineering Infinity)  The Choice, Paul McAuley, (Asimov‘s, 1/11)  Malak, Peter Watts, (Engineering Infinity)  Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson, (Eclipse Four)  A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, K. J. Parker, (Subterranean, Winter 2011. )  Valley of the Girls, Kelly Link, (Subterranean, Spring 2011)  Brave Little Toaster, Cory Doctorow, (TRSF)  The Dala Horse, Michael Swanwick, (Tor.com, 7/11)  The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, M Rickert, (F&SF, 9-10/11)  The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu, (F&SF, March/April 2011)  Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks, (Steampunk!)  After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh, (After the Apocalypse)  Underbridge, Peter S. Beagle, (Naked City)  Relic, Jeffrey Ford, (The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities)  The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter, (Engineering Infinity)  Woman Leaves Room, Robert Reed, (Lightspeed Magazine, 3/11)  Restoration, Robert Shearman, (Everyone’s Just So So Special)  The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling, (Flurb, Fall-Winter 2011)  Catastrophic Disruption of the Head, Margo Lanagan, (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Vol. 1)  The Last Ride of the Glory Girls, Libba Bray, (Steampunk!)  The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book) , Nnedi Okorafor, (Clarkesworld, 3/11)  Digging, Ian McDonald, (Life on Mars)  The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson, (Asimov’s, 10-11/11)  Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages, (Life on Mars) My Thoughts: One can’t say a lot about an anthology, not without taking up pages and pages of notes. However, I’ll comment on some of the stories that stuck in my head. Obviously, being as I am a Sherlock Holmes fan, I loved Neil Gaiman’s theory about why Holmes really retired to be a beekeeper in “The Case of Death and Honey.” Catherynne M. Valente has a wickedly sharp sense of humor, which comes through in her story utilizing the Coyote mythos, “White Lines on a Green Field.” “All That Touches The Air,” by An Owomoyela was an interesting take on the whole alien planet/human settler meme, asking the question ,“what if there were already a dominant species on the planet?” Nalo Hopkinson’s “Old Habits,” about ghosts in a mall, left me with goosebumps. “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls” was an excellent example of a Weird West tale, a genre I am finding that I quite like. I should point out that I didn’t love all the stories. I couldn’t even finish Peter S. Beagle’s story, because of bad things to do with a cat; I just quit reading it right there. “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head” just didn’t make much sense to me. There were a few that didn’t really make an impact on me one way or the other. But overall the stories were good. Taking into account that this was an ARC, the editing started out pretty good but was deteriorating fast by the end, which was sort of strange. I’m guessing that will be fixed by the final edition. At any rate, for fans of sci-fi and fantasy this anthology will be a must-read – jam-packed full of great stuff.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bernard

    A solid anthology The best is "A Small Price for Birdsong" but many of the collected stories are excellent - high fantasy, hard sci-fi, steam punk. A solid anthology The best is "A Small Price for Birdsong" but many of the collected stories are excellent - high fantasy, hard sci-fi, steam punk.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alytha

    A very uneven collection, with some really good stories, but unfortunately also a rather large number of really bad ones. Detailed review replaced by stars for those stories I still remember ;) Might have to reread this one at some point. the index: The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, ***** (Neil does Sherlock) The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, ***** (very out there, and utterly great) Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, * (utterly WTF pretentious crap) Younger Women, Karen A very uneven collection, with some really good stories, but unfortunately also a rather large number of really bad ones. Detailed review replaced by stars for those stories I still remember ;) Might have to reread this one at some point. the index: The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, ***** (Neil does Sherlock) The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, ***** (very out there, and utterly great) Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, * (utterly WTF pretentious crap) Younger Women, Karen Joy Fowler, *** (started out great as a Twilight parody, but turned out a bit disturbing) White Lines on a Green Field , Catherynne M. Valente, **** (a bit American-Gods-ish) All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, What We Found, Geoff Ryman, The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi, **** The Choice, Paul McAuley, Malak, Peter Watts, Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson, **** (sad ghost story) A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, K. J. Parker, *** (would have more if this was actually fantasy) Valley of the Girls, Kelly Link, *** (very creepy, in many ways) Brave Little Toaster, Cory Doctorow, *** (I can't help thinking that Doctorow is a bit pretentious...) The Dala Horse, Michael Swanwick, **** (not quite as good as he can do) The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, M Rickert, ** (started out well and then totally didn't make sense at the end) The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu, * (terribly sappy) Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks, **** (sweet story about two underdog kids) After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh, *** (The Road revisited) Underbridge, Peter S. Beagle, **** (that's the one with the troll, right? The troll actually exists!) Relic, Jeffrey Ford, The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter, Woman Leaves Room, Robert Reed, Restoration, Robert Shearman, The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling, Catastrophic Disruption of the Head, Margo Lanagan, The Last Ride of the Glory Girls, Libba Bray, ***** (really nice steampunk story) The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book) , Nnedi Okorafor, Digging, Ian McDonald, The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson, ***** (great story in an interesting world) Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages, ***** (sweet without being sappy)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Xarah

    Overall, I liked the majority of the stories. There were some, however, that either went above my head (technical) or I just couldn't get in to. I did find a number of the stories to be quite creative with interesting themes. I have found new authors to try out! My favorites stories in this collection include: "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu (What a creative story!) "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne M. Valente (Trickster Coyote) "The Choice" by Paul McAuley ( Overall, I liked the majority of the stories. There were some, however, that either went above my head (technical) or I just couldn't get in to. I did find a number of the stories to be quite creative with interesting themes. I have found new authors to try out! My favorites stories in this collection include: "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu (What a creative story!) "White Lines on a Green Field" by Catherynne M. Valente (Trickster Coyote) "The Choice" by Paul McAuley (I'm really starting to get more into his writing) "Old Habits" by Nalo Hopkinson (Ghosts) "Valley of the Girls" by Kelly Link (Anything remotely having to do with Ancient Egypt, I'm on it!) "The Corpse Painter's Masterpiece" by M. Rickert (Bittersweet and sad) "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu (Also bittersweet and sad, but very, very sweet at the same time) "Steam Girl" by Dylan Horrocks (Awesomeness)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    The Case of Death and Honey - Neil Gaiman I'm a bigger fan of Gaiman's graphic novels than his fiction but I really enjoyed this story of Sherlock Holmes in China - and there are bees! The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees - E. Lily Yu This was one fantastic story. A kind of fable. And written by an undergraduate student to boot. I am so looking forward to reading more by Yu. Tidal Forces - Caitlin R Kiernan After two great - and bee-related - stories, this one's scifi/fantasy component wa The Case of Death and Honey - Neil Gaiman I'm a bigger fan of Gaiman's graphic novels than his fiction but I really enjoyed this story of Sherlock Holmes in China - and there are bees! The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees - E. Lily Yu This was one fantastic story. A kind of fable. And written by an undergraduate student to boot. I am so looking forward to reading more by Yu. Tidal Forces - Caitlin R Kiernan After two great - and bee-related - stories, this one's scifi/fantasy component was a bit more subtle. But it was interesting. And complicated.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Like any anthology, some stories I really liked, others not so much - hence the 3 stars as a middle ground. However, I do think that many of the stories that I didn't much like were a question of the type of fiction I like, not that they were poorly written. Just not my type of story. Overall, I'd recommend the book - the stories are very diverse, so if you like sci/fi and fantasy, you're likely to find some stories you like. I've found a few authors to read more of and any time I find a couple Like any anthology, some stories I really liked, others not so much - hence the 3 stars as a middle ground. However, I do think that many of the stories that I didn't much like were a question of the type of fiction I like, not that they were poorly written. Just not my type of story. Overall, I'd recommend the book - the stories are very diverse, so if you like sci/fi and fantasy, you're likely to find some stories you like. I've found a few authors to read more of and any time I find a couple new authors, it's definitely a win!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Nice group. My favorites: Tidal Forces by Caitlin R. Kiernan All That Touches the Air by An Owomoyela The Server and the Dragon by Hannu Rajaniemi The Choice by Paul Mcauley Valley of the Girls by Kelly Link Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle Relic by Jeffrey Ford The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter Restoration by Robert Shearman The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor Goodnight Moons by Ellen Klages And two I had already read: The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu Woman Leaves Room by Robert Nice group. My favorites: Tidal Forces by Caitlin R. Kiernan All That Touches the Air by An Owomoyela The Server and the Dragon by Hannu Rajaniemi The Choice by Paul Mcauley Valley of the Girls by Kelly Link Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle Relic by Jeffrey Ford The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter Restoration by Robert Shearman The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor Goodnight Moons by Ellen Klages And two I had already read: The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu Woman Leaves Room by Robert Reed The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson

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