A collection of the best science fiction prose written in 2006 from some of the genre's greatest authors, including James Patrick Kelly, Wil McCarthy, Susan Palwick, Tom Purdom, Robert Reed, Michael Swanwick, James Van Pelt, Howard Waldrop, Alastair Reynolds, Ian McDonald, Mary Rosenblum, Stephen Leigh, and Joe Haldeman.
"Good collection, uneven narration"
A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it. Then, one night, an ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can’t quite place. How he goes about bringing his visions to life---and what happens afterward---makes for one of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.
Meet U. - a corporate anthropologist secreted in the basement of a large consultancy. U. spends his time toiling away at a great, epoch-defining public project that no one, least of all its own creators, understands. Besieged by data, confronted at every turn by the fact of his own redundancy, U. grows obsessed with the images.
"A glossy weft surface but a dull warped back."
As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe's enigmatic wife allow her to remain? A subversively brilliant study of love, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.
"Interesting and different"
Meet U. - a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their 'corporate anthropologist' to help decode and manipulate the world around them - all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing.
"I really thought this was it..."
Serge Carrefax spends his childhood at Versoie House, where his father teaches deaf children to speak when he's not experimenting with wireless telegraphy. Sophie, Serge's sister and only connection to the world at large, takes outrageous liberties with Serge's young body - which may explain the unusual sexual predilections that haunt him for the rest of his life. After recuperating from a mysterious illness at a Bohemian spa, Serge serves in World War I as a radio operator....
"Delightful, then just odd and interesting"
Traumatised by an accident that involves something falling from the sky and leaving him eight-and-a-half million pounds richer, our hero spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting memories and situations from his past. But, when this fails to quench his thirst for authenticity, he starts reconstructing more and more violent events, including hold-ups and shoot-outs.
C follows the short, intense life of Serge Carrefax, a man who – as his name suggests – surges into the electric modernity of the early 20th century, transfixed by the technologies that will obliterate him. Born to the sound of one of the very earliest experimental wireless stations, Serge finds himself steeped in a weird world of transmissions, whose very air seems filled with cryptic and poetic signals of all kinds.
An essay from Things I've Learned From the Women Who've Dumped Me.