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Mass Market Paperback Year's Best SF 9 Book

ISBN: 006057559X

ISBN13: 9780060575595

Year's Best SF 9

(Part of the Year's Best SF (#9) Series and Year's Best SF Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

The Future Boldly Imagined From Breathtaking New Perspectives The world as we will know it is far different from the future once predicted in simpler times. For this newest collection of the finest short form SF to appear in print over the preceding year, acclaimed editors and anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have gathered remarkable works that reflect a new sensibility. Courageous and diverse stories from some of the finest authors...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Best Year's Best SF in Years

I have been reading Year's Best book from Year's Best SF 3. I was somewhat disappointed with stories in SF 7 and 8, but SF 9 delivers extremely interesting and thoughtful stories. I really enjoyed stories by Gene Wolfe, George Benford, and my favorite "Four Short Stories" by Joe Haldeman. Buy and read this book, you will not be disappointed.

Butler, Swanwick, and others deliver some great tales

"Year's Best SF 9," edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, collects 20 stories into a 500 page anthology. The stories range in length from 6 to 71 pages. Some of the highlights are as follows. "Amnesty," by Octavia E. Butler: looks at relations between humans and a radically different intelligent species of communal life forms that have invaded Earth. This story deals with issues of power, control, language, and communication; it is as penetrating and thought-provoking as Butler's other great works. "Birth Days," by Geoff Ryman: explores human reproduction, homosexuality, and biological research and experimentation. "Ej-Es," by Nancy Kress: a very moving story about a team investigating a seemingly failed human colony; the story addresses themes of disease, communication, cultural difference, and the human brain. "Rogue Farm," by Charles Stross: a funny tale about a farming couple defending their property against a mutant creature; this story is full of bizarre dialogue and images. "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons," by John Varley: an entomologist is enlisted to discover the meaning behind an invasion of the Earth by weird, butterfly-collecting aliens. This story refers to and cleverly builds on the ideas in the science fiction classic "Flatland." Also worthy of note--"The Day We Went Though the Transition," by Ricard de la Casa and Pedro Jorge Romero: a time travel story with a Spanish setting. This story also deals with terrorism. "A Night on the Barbary Coast," by Kage Baker: a colorful, highly entertaining tale about a pair of time-traveling cyborgs--who also happen to be father and daughter--on an adventure in 19th century San Francisco. "The Madwoman of Shuttlefield," by Allen M. Steele: a story of life in a human colony on a distant planet. This is a full-bodied, richly evocative tale that covers many aspects of life in the colony--food, architecture, government, etc. Steele creates memorable characters and powerfully drawn human relationships. But my favorite piece in the anthology is the brilliant "Coyote at the End of History," by Michael Swanwick. This cluster of five short fable-like tales, reminiscent of Native American animal trickster tales, tells about Coyote and his relations with the "Star People." Sort of like folk tales from a distant future, these Coyote tales are ironic, deliciously funny, and surprisingly poignant. Overall, "Year's Best SF 9" is a wonderfully diverse and mind-expanding anthology. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with the science fiction genre in the first place. This collection offers excellent examples of why the short story is such an ideal format for science fiction.

Another year, more great stories

One of these days, Kage Baker is going to get me into trouble. Not personally, of course (having never had the honour of meeting the lady), but her stories. See, the problem is that I'm such a big fan of hers that I now have to track down every thing she has written and at least read it. I happened upon this year's edition of Year's Best SF, the ninth, and saw that she had a story in it. Of course, this meant I had to buy it. However, doing this leaves me at the mercy of the rest of the stories. I'm not a big fan of hard SF stories, and I prefer fantasy to science fiction in any case. Will I have paid a lot of money (especially with Canadian prices) for a book that I only like 20 pages out of 500? Would this be the time that she's cost me more money then I want to spend?Thankfully, no. While I didn't care for every story in Year's Best SF 9, I did like them well enough to thoroughly recommend the book. At 500 pages, there's a lot of stories in here, varying from hard science fiction to near-future character-driven stories, and everything in between. While Baker's story, "A Night on the Barbary Coast," is among the best stories in the collection, I would have to say that the best is actually John Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons." Baker's story is another in the continuing adventures of The Company, where a bunch of immortal cyborgs try to make money for the time-traveling Dr. Zeus Corporation by harvesting soon to be extinct species of plants and animals, as well as other rare items that will eventually disappear. In this story, Joseph needs the botanist Mendoza to help him identify a rare fungus related to a quartz deposit that the Company wants in California. Their personal relationship has always been rocky, ever since Joseph forced her to sit and watch her English lover be burned at the stake, rather than intervene, in the 1550s. The story takes a nice twist at the end, but as ever Baker's strength is in the characterization, and the banter between the two protagonists. Mendoza is as anti-social as ever and Joseph is just as witty as he always is. It made me even more anxious for the next installment of the Company books.Varley's "In Fading Suns and Dying Moons" is the story of an unstoppable line of alien beings, humanoid and apparently holding hands, are sweeping across the country, and ultimately, the planet. They are harvesting the world's butterflies for some unknown reason. Dr. Richard Lewis, an insect expert, is called upon to see if he can figure out why they are doing this. Slowly, with the help of other people (including a mathematical specialist), what these aliens are doing dawns on them, with possibly horrific consequences. I found this story fascinating, with the alien scourge being very mysterious and intriguing. There were a couple moments where I laughed, but the ending left me very cold, but in a good way. I even shivered. Now *that's* getting the reader involved in the story!There are definite

Refreshment for a Post-Nebula Fan

What I like best about science fiction is its vast facility for plot, setting, tone, and characters--the essences of story-telling. I like my stories far-flung, imaginative, and well-crafted. That's what I like about this book. I virtually never hand out 5-star ratings, but for a good read at a value price, I think this collection's hard to beat... a star in the series and good on its own. For many years I read the Nebula Award winners as examples of the best science fiction had to offer. Over the past several years, though, I feel like the Nebulas have steadily gone downhill, and I've reluctantly stopped buying those anthologies. I've transferred my annual purchase allegiance to this series, and this is my favorite of the nine hands down. The tales by Joe Haldeman, John Varley, and Michael Swanwick alone are worth the price, and those in-between don't bore. In addition, Rick Moody's volume-ending novella is one of the best tales to spin off the elusive-reality themes that Philip Dick wove in "Palmer Eldritch" and "Ubik" that I've ever read, and that's high praise for me. Caveats: Not all stories worked for me (true for any anthology). Hartwell emphasizes that his selections are science-based, but hard science isn't a threshold requirement and I think he now simply means he doesn't include Fantasy (one here borders on magic realism). Finally, veteran SF readers will recognize most all the writers... in other words, the authors mostly have been around awhile, and few new or unfamiliar writers made the cut, as usual. But the $8 I spent on this was a bargain, and those who want an entertaining cross-section of the genre with bang for the buck will likely find more than a few stories to like here.

Best on this anthology series in years

This SF Years best is one of the best, David and KAtheren have put out in the past 3 years. I did not like last year, except for a couple of stories, such as "The Dog said Bow Wow" but this is good stuff.All stories were good Nancy Kress, Ballantino, Bear, Baxter disapoint me, i loved the way he writes "Timeships" ranks amongst my OLD time Favs.But hold your breath until you get to the end. A master writer but one who claims Genre is a librarian's problem. He is not known to write SF, nevertheless a good writer is a good writer in any context. Rick Moody is the name and the story is "Albertine Notes"what an incredible Time-Travel story, totaly different from anything else i have ever read. Has similarities to "Vanilla Skies" i think.Enjoy it, I did.Pay special attention to the Argentinian writer who just got translated after 20 years. She is top of the line, her story in a way similar to the famous classic "Forbidden Planet", though more romantic, well she is a woman after all so romance is got to be there.
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