To keep up to date with the most buzzworthy and cutting-edge science fiction requires sifting through countless magazines, e-zines, websites, blogs, original anthologies, single-author collections, and more - a task accomplishable by only the most determined and voracious fans. For everyone else, Night Shade Books is proud to introduce the inaugural volume of The Best Science Fiction of the Year, a new yearly anthology compiled by Hugo and World Fantasy award-winning editor Neil Clarke, collecting the finest that the genre has to offer, from the biggest names in the field to the most exciting new writers.
The best science fiction scrutinizes our culture and politics, examines the limits of the human condition, and zooms across galaxies at faster-than-light speeds, moving from the very near future to the far-flung worlds of tomorrow in the space of a single sentence. Clarke, publisher and editor in chief of the acclaimed and award-winning magazine Clarkesworld, has selected the short science fiction (and only science fiction) best representing the previous year's writing, showcasing the talent, variety, and awesome "sensawunda" that the genre has to offer.
Neil Clarke is the award-winning publisher and editor in chief of Clarkesworld magazine, winner of three Hugo Awards for Best Semiprozine, and the editor of the 2014 cyborg-themed original anthology Upgraded. Clarke lives in Stirling, New Jersey.
©2016 Neil Clarke (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
"This inclusive collection starts with Neil Clarke's introduction about the state of short science fiction in 2015. Each story begins with a brief author biography, with additional titles. Narrating duties are skillfully shared by Amy Tallmadge and Jeremy Arthur. 'The Murmuration' by Alastair Reynolds is movingly told by Arthur, who inhabits the story's scientist and his mixed emotions as he observes how starlings react to a sparrow hawk drone that they think is real. Yoon Ha Lee's 'The Cold Inequalities,' narrated by Tallmadge, is a passionate defense of books in the midst of a battle between librarians on an archive ship. The standout is 'Today I Am Paul,' by Martin L. Shoemaker. Arthur expertly portrays the android that cares for Paul's mother, Mildred, in her final days. Arthur's android touchingly 'pretends' to be Paul and significant others in Mildred's life to comfort her in this bittersweet story. Everyone should find something to enjoy in this varied collection." (AudioFile magazine)
I don't know if it was just the editor's taste that has the anthology loaded so heavily with this brand sometimes frustrating sometimes imaginative unrealized conclusions, or that this style is in court. But I hope it played no part in story selection. What bothers me most about the hanging conclusions in many of these cases is that the authors felt it necessary to drone on about emotional quandaries faced by characters. When, if left unspoken, the reader could be left free to imagine these conflicts given the context. I don't understand why they choose to make such excessive explanations of obvious character dilemmas when they felt no need to fully flesh the finish. It is not that I dislike hanging conclusions, it is just that I don't like hearing/reading them repeatedly and with no clear device to make the conclusion exceptionally suspect. It just seems lazy.
I think not. I know it's a matter of taste, but 90% of these stories were not to my liking. Not enough hard SF. And with all respect to the writers, who work so darned hard, I found their prose weak. The last two stories, however, were excellent, with muscular writing.
Anyone, I think. Either I know nothing about word pronunciation, or the narrators/producers were lazy in not determining pronunciations before recording . See: arboreal, archipelago, etc.
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