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Hardcover Year's Best SF4 Book

ISBN: 0739403516

ISBN13: 9780739403518

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Book Overview

Travel to the Farthest Reaches of the Imagination Acclaimed editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell is back with his fourth annual high-powered collection of the year's most inventive, entertaining,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Not Free SF Reader

A good, solid, Year's Best entry, with a 3.80 average. Don't really care at all about Beatles alternate history, though. The Baxter story was the low point. On the other side, I thought Mark S. Geston's 'The Allies' was great, and the Chiang and Swanwick and Brin are excellent. Hartwell says in his intro, there were 60-70 or maybe 100 really good SF stories published. Year's Best SF 04 : Market Report - Alexander Jablokov Year's Best SF 04 : A Dance to Strange Musics - Gregory Benford Year's Best SF 04 : The Year of the Mouse - Norman Spinrad Year's Best SF 04 : The Day Before They Came - Mary Soon Lee Year's Best SF 04 : This Side of Independence - Rob Chilson Year's Best SF 04 : The Twelfth Album - Stephen Baxter Year's Best SF 04 : Story of Your Life - Ted Chiang Year's Best SF 04 : Whiptail - Robert Reed Year's Best SF 04 : The Eye of God - Mary Rosenblum Year's Best SF 04 : Rules of Engagement - Michael F. Flynn Year's Best SF 04 : Radiant Doors - Michael Swanwick Year's Best SF 04 : Unravelling the Thread - Jean-Claude Dunyach Year's Best SF 04 : That Thing Over There - Dominic Green Year's Best SF 04 : The Allies - Mark S. Geston Year's Best SF 04 : My Pal Clunky - Ron Goulart Year's Best SF 04 : Life in the Extreme - David Brin Year's Best SF 04 : Near Enough to Home - Michael Skeet Year's Best SF 04 : A Game of Consequences - David Langford Year's Best SF 04 : State of Nature - Nancy Kress Year's Best SF 04 : Maneki Neko - Bruce Sterling Parental smilodon hideout help. 4 out of 5 Zap pow intrusion response broadcast communication. 4 out of 5 Disney Mao Panda threat. 3.5 out of 5 Aliens an AI shoe-in for arrival. 3 out of 5 Scrap planet. 3.5 out of 5 Beatle debris. 2.5 out of 5 Predicting language. 4.5 out of 5 Colouring the cackleberries. 3.5 out of 5 Gateway descent deception. 4 out of 5 Louie, louie, oh, boy, the way you're suiting... 3.5 out of 5 Future Ownership fightback. 4.5 out of 5 Knotty story. 3 out of 5 Super race jizzimistic implementation. 4 out of 5 Alien war deurbanisation unextinction uplifting dog day destruction Sixth Ship return discovery, we Mind. 5 out of 5 Dogbot showbiz. 3.5 out of 5 Rocket club dolphin rescue uplifting hobby change. 4.5 out of 5 New civil war power. 3.5 out of 5 Quantum solar thermostat boo-boo possibilities. 4 out of 5 Wealthy minority enclave rejection. 4 out of 5 Network of favors. 4 out of 5 4.5 out of 5

List of Stories

Market Report (Alexander Jablokov)A Dance to Strange Musics (Gregory Benford)The Year of the Mouse (Norman Spinrad)The Day Before They Came (Mary Soon Lee)This Side of Independence (Rob Chilson)The Twelfth Album (Stephen Baxter)Story of Your Life (Ted Chiang)Whiptail (Robert Reed)The Eye of God (Mary Rosenblum)Rules of Engagement (Michael F. Flynn)Radiant Doors (Michael Swanwick)Unraveling the Thread (Jean-Claude Dunyach)That Thing Over There (Dominic Green)The Allies (Mark S. Geston)My Pal Clunky (Ron Goulart)Life in the Extreme (David Brin)Near Enough to Home (Michael Skeer)A Game of Consequences (David Langford)State of Nature (Nancy Kress)Maneki Neko (Bruce Sterling)

A fresh crop

Excellent short stories and fresh writing styles combine to make for an outstanding book. I look forward to seeing longer works of fiction from some of the authors who contributed to this collection.

Solid anthology of recent short SF

I'd rate this one "good" though not "excellent". Several fine stories, a lot of OK ones, a couple of clunkers.High points:"Maneki Neko", by Bruce Sterling. I enjoy Sterling's novels, but sometimes I wish he'd just write short stories... he's that good. This one, about a world where informal Net networks are starting to dominate our behavior, is excellent. "Story of Your Life", by Ted Chiang. One of the best stories I've ever read about communicating with aliens, combined with a heartbreakingly poignant tale of human loss. "Rules of Engagement", by Michael Flynn. I'm not a big military SF fan, but this was a good little combat story with an unusual point, set in what's obviously a well-worked out future."That Thing Over There", by Dominic Green. Definitely the best treatment of the yeti/Abominable Snowman legend that I've ever read. And it makes it very clear just what was so abominable about them... "The Radiant Doors", by Michael Swanwick. A deeply creepy story about time-travelling refugees from an unspeakable future. Swanwick does an excellent job of depicting horror by glimpses. (Unfortunately, this otherwise excellent story is marred by a stupid ending; as in much of his work, Swanwick sacrifices logic for effect. Still, worth reading for its unpleasant answer to the "leisure question" -- what will we do when the machines are doing all the work for us?"A Dance to Strange Musics", by Gregory Benford. Typical Benford, with utterly forgettable characters and large blocks of explication (will Benford ever learn how to tell us stuff without making it really obvious that he's Telling Us Stuff?). But I still enjoyed this, perhaps because it managed to compress most of the content on one of Benford's rather flabby novels into a mere 35 pages or so. I disagree with the story's main idea -- I don't think that humanity would be awed and moved by meeting a superior intelligence that doesn't actually *do* much of anything -- but it's still a good read, with some really novel worldbuilding.Low points:"The Year of the Mouse", by Norman Spinrad. Someday, someone will manage to explain to me why Spinrad is supposed to be a major voice in our field. Anyhow, you can skip this story, a silly wish-fulfillment fantasy about Disney taking on"The Allies", by Michael Geston. Overlong and clunky ecological morality tale. Geston has been writing SF since the 1960s, but this reads like a novice effort. Avoid."The Twelfth Album", by Stephen Baxter. An Alternate History (AH) story about the Beatles. Of interest only to hardcore Beatles fans."Near Enough to Home", by Michael Skeet. Another AH story, about Canada. Not that bad, but not remotely worth including in the "year's best" IMO. It's hard to write a really interesting AH story, to be sure... "Life in the Extreme", by David Brin. Very minor piece about the earliest days of Uplift. Not bad, but disappointing -- if it wasn't Brin, one doubts whether t

No ifs ands or buts, the best of the year.

Once again, Hartwell has delivered one of the best anthologies of the year. With only one exception (Unraveling the Thread), all the stories in this volume are pure sf. And each story is great. Hartwell has selected stories from all over the globe. The US, Canada, Britain, and France are all represented. From novellas like "The Allies" and "Story of Your Life," to shorts like "State of Nature," there is something here for everybody. The best stories in the volume are "The Day Before They Came" by Mary Soon Lee, "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, "Whiptail" by Robert Reed, "The Allies" by Mark S. Geston, "State of Nature" by Nancy Kress, and "Maneki Neko" by Bruce Sterling. One step down includes "This Side of Indepence," "Radiant Doors," "My Pal Clunky," and "A Game of Consequences." But as I said, all the stories here are good. Try them out. You won't be disappointed.
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