"The Best Science Fiction of the Year #7," edited by Terry Carr, brings together 9 tales of varying lengths; the longest of the bunch could really qualify as novellas. The book also includes a short essay, "The Science-Fiction Year," by Charles N. Brown. This essay looks back at the year 1977 in film and literature.One of the best pieces in the collection is John Varley's "Lollipop and the Tar Baby," the story of a clone, traveling on a ship in deep space, who encounters a most amazing entity: a sentient black hole. This is a suspenseful tale that presents a compelling vision of humanity's future. Also impressive is Raccoona Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution," a chilling sci-fi/horror tale about an epidemic of murders of women by men. (Note: "Raccoona Sheldon" is a pseudonym of the author better known as James Tiptree Jr.). I also liked Vonda McIntyre's "Aztecs," about physiologically altered starship pilots who are evolving into their own unique subculture.The other stories in the book are Spider and Jeanne Robinson's "Stardance," Michael Bishop's "The House of Compassionate Sharers," Lee Killough's "Tropic of Eden," Bruce McAllister's "Victor," Lisa Tuttle's "The Family Monkey," and Fritz Leiber's "A Rite of Spring" (this last story contains a particularly memorable depiction of a number-and-word game played by two characters). The collection as a whole is uneven, but the best of the stories make it worthwhile.
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