I'd give this collection 5 stars for the stories since I love science fiction short stories, but the collection is mislabeled. The Best of Asimov's should have way more than 4 stories. The leading Hartwell & Dozois annual best of anthologies have 20+ stories, many of which appeared first in Asimov's. For this grand title of best of 2002, I'd say we deserved at least 10 stories, 12 would probably be truly representative since every year Asimov's has many stories nominated for numerous awards and the collection should contain those stories.
But to be balanced this collection is priced the same as the bi-monthly F&SF magazine Audible publishes and this volume has more than an hour more of content, which makes it more of a bargain.
Most importantly, the stories we do get are outstanding.
Kristen Iversen gives an intensely personal story of growing up next to Rocky Flats, a factory that made fusion bomb triggers and living with plutonium pollution. Iversen makes a great case that Rocky Flats is America's Chernobly catastrophe that was covered up by the U.S. government.
I found Full Body Burden equal to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
I'm recommending this book to all my friends because it's a beautiful coming of age story set at the end of the world. The perfect combination of literary and science fiction.
I've been reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since the mid-1960s and listening to these 2003 stories on my tiny solid state computer while on my afternoon walks is truly a science fictional experience. The reading performances were excellent and made the stories vivid and three dimensional. I had only read "The Lightning Bug Wars" before listening to this collection -- I can't find time to read like I used to, so Audible has helped finish another five stories from these issues and I'm very grateful. If Audible offered complete monthly issues I'd be able to "read" F&SF from cover-to-cover.
I enjoyed every story, each distinctively different, colorful and dramatic. Short stories work perfectly for walks because I can finish them in one or two outings. I've gotten all the F&SF issues that Audible has offered so far and have loved the diversity of stories.
When I read my monthly F&SF I often start stories and don't finish them. I didn't skip over any of these audio stories and enjoyed them all. Listening helps me get into each story way better than reading. Hearing these stories captures my attention with ease that reading often fails to do.
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