Year's Best SF 6
Year's Best SF 6
Science fiction as short fiction is perhaps my favorite form of the literary genre, and David G. Hartwell's Year's Best series is a collection -- full of humor, drama, style, and surprises -- that never disappoints. Here are just some of the high points in the Sixth Edition.
Leading off the collection is Paul J. McAuley's "Reef," a tightly written, hard SF story about scientists and ambition, as an experiment in genetics lost for years sparks a desperate act of rebellion in an unlikely heroine. An illustrious band of "dead" men wreak havoc at the dawn of the 31st century, vandalizing the tranquil paradise-on-earth mankind has finally created for himself in Robert Silverberg's "The Millennium Express."
Global warming has been solved (way too well), a new Ice Age is threatening and the engineers are coming to blows in Norman Spinrad's excellent "New Ice Age or Just Cold Feet?" Stephen Dedman's "The Devotee" is a first-rate hard-boiled SF that would make Robert Parker proud.
A superb story by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. Le Guin, highlights this volume. "The Birthday of the World" is an anthropological story told from the point of view of a young girl, the Daughter of God, who in time will become God herself. Le Guin creates an intriguing new race -- their myths, beliefs, and legends. Their way of life and the things they hold sacred are beautifully illustrated. Ambition challenges faith as the old world dies and a new one is born out of a close encounter.
Rounded out with fiction by Ken MacLeod, Joan Slonczewski, Greg Egan, Michael F. Flynn and Robert Sheckley, Year's Best SF 6 is, in a word, excellent. (Jim Killen)