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This second volume of The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy features over a quarter million words of fiction by some of the genre's greatest authors, as selected by Rich Horton, a well-known and well-received contributor to many of the field's most respected magazines.


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This second volume of The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy features over a quarter million words of fiction by some of the genre's greatest authors, as selected by Rich Horton, a well-known and well-received contributor to many of the field's most respected magazines.

30 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a thick reprint of short stories published elsewhere, from lots of big names in the field. My rating is based on the average rating I gave to each individual story -- overall, it's a very good collection, with only six out of the thirty stories that I gave a rating of less than 4. It's a sci-fi and fantasy collection, but the majority of stories are science fiction, and only a couple that I'd call straight fantasy. My preferences tend to be more towards sci-fi, so keeping that in mind, h This is a thick reprint of short stories published elsewhere, from lots of big names in the field. My rating is based on the average rating I gave to each individual story -- overall, it's a very good collection, with only six out of the thirty stories that I gave a rating of less than 4. It's a sci-fi and fantasy collection, but the majority of stories are science fiction, and only a couple that I'd call straight fantasy. My preferences tend to be more towards sci-fi, so keeping that in mind, here are the stories which I gave 5 stars: The Island by Peter Watts. This is a hard-SF story about a spaceship crew building a wormhole network for the post-humans who have forgotten about them. After really enjoying Watts's novel Blindsight, I will have to start looking for more from him. The Endangered Camp by Ann Leckie. Alternate universe in which dinosaurs evolved to sentence and begin space exploration. Necroflux Day by John Meaney. A weird horror-punk sort of sci-fi/fantasy story about a world where souls are an energy source. This Peaceable Land, Or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe by Robert Charles Wilson. Set in an alternate history in which the American Civil War never happened. As real-world Southern apologists are so fond of claiming, this led to the eventual death of slavery as it became economically unfeasible, but not in the humane and peaceful manner that those pro-Confederate fantasists imagine. Crimes and Glory by Paul McAuley. A good-old fashioned space adventure, with a law enforcement officer pursuing a mad genius across solar systems. Glister by Dominic Green. A group of roughnecks on a space colony trying to escape, some really alien fauna. Wife-Stealing Time by R. Garcia y Robertson. A sort of pulp space adventure with American Indian tribes living on Barsoom, granting hunting licenses to offworlders who come to hunt the native wildlife. Mongoose by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. This tale of a "pest control specialist" working on a space station has nods to Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft; both his "pet" and the vermin it hunts are strange, other-dimensional creatures. Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance by John Kessel. A monk of an ancient religious order has to steal something that will free their planet from a conquering empire. Lots of high-tech adventure and ancient artifacts.

  2. 4 out of 5

    J

    Steven Gould, "A Story, with Beans" - I generally like weird stories of the near future where you have a disparity between elite technology and those left behind. This left me wanting more, in a good way. B Theodora Goss, "Child-Empress of Mars" - Somewhat fun riff on the Victorian Martian fantasy genre. B- Peter Watts, "The Island" - Pretty much any story that reimagines the possibility of what alien sentience and the myriad forms it could take usually captures my interest, but this one is a cut Steven Gould, "A Story, with Beans" - I generally like weird stories of the near future where you have a disparity between elite technology and those left behind. This left me wanting more, in a good way. B Theodora Goss, "Child-Empress of Mars" - Somewhat fun riff on the Victorian Martian fantasy genre. B- Peter Watts, "The Island" - Pretty much any story that reimagines the possibility of what alien sentience and the myriad forms it could take usually captures my interest, but this one is a cut above the rest. Excellent. Saying anything more would ruin it. A Robert Kelly, "The Logic of the World" - One of those stories that has an interesting enough premise and world-building but didn't fully develop the way I'd hoped. B- Holly Phillips, "The Long Cold Goodbye" - A chilling little vampire tale. But it seems a bit stale. C- Ann Leckie, "The Endangered Camp" - NOW we're talkin! Slam bang adventure with dinosaurs in spaceships. You can't get better than dinosaurs in spaceships! I hope Ms. Leckie continues this in novel form, I would love to read more. A Alex Irvine, "Dragon's Teeth" - A very clever little dragon story. I approve. B+ Sara Genge, "As Women Fight" - One of the worst short stories I've had the misfortune to read in quite some time. Nothing about this story made sense and it came across as melodramatic soap opera nonsense. And no, the transgender theme didn't influence my grade. If anything, I wanted a much better commentary on the idea of gender change and this just came across as silly. F Lucius Shepard, "Sylgarmo's Proclamation" - A gorgeous adventure tale, done as part of a collection giving homage to Jack Vance. Dark fantasy sci-fi is a genre that is hard to pinpoint for a writer in just the right way. But you can never go wrong with Lucius, I adore everything he writes, this included. A Jo Walton, "Three Twilight Tales" - Wonderful intersplice of fairy tale, with good narration and pace. B+ John Meaney, "Necroflux Day" - I WANTED to like this story. But it's one of those stories that is absolutely RUINED by the surprise ending. It just made no sense, and there was almost a Soylent Green element to it, but on so many levels this just came across as an amateurish stunt to top off what could have been a good story. D+ Paul Park, "The Persistence of Memory; or, This Space for Sale" - An ingenious point of view story where reality bends only just so slightly enough to make the impact that much bigger. Fans of the film "Memento" should definitely check this story out. A- Robert Charles Wilson, "This Peaceable Land; or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe" - A sad, but well written, almost elegiac alternate history story that tends to linger long after you read it. B+ Jay Lake, "On the Human Plan" Not that memorable a story. Not awful, entirely. Far future scifi is a hard gambit because an author has to imagine a lot MORE in terms of change. It's just that none of the changes are quite explained and it's all guesswork. Some authors, like Gene Wolfe, can make this work. But not this story, it just succeeded in inundating me with a bunch of unnecessary prose all mooshed together. D John Langan, "Technicolor" - An ingeniously told story, done in a collection that has homages to Edgar Allan Poe. I can't quite describe anything in this story without giving away the plot, but slow reveal was, to me, ingenious. I'll admit, I didn't see that one coming, but everything adds up neatly, and although it wasn't something Poe would have thought of, the delight taken by the main narrator in his actions is right up there with the best of Poe's characters. A Eugene Mirabelli, "Catalog" - This is one of those rare short stories that perfectly and totally captures the feeling of a dream, and I'm not sure quite to make of it other than I loved literally every second of reading it. A+ Paul McAuley, "Crimes and Glory" - One of the most ingenious science fiction detective stories I've read in a while. Brilliant all the way through. All I will say is a mystery regarding wormholes is gripping and I think that juggling well written hard sci fi while writing a believable cop character is no easy feat. A+ Rachel Swirsky, "Eros, Philia, Agape" - It took me a while to digest this story. The word I would use to describe it is "delicate" because every nuance of emotion is described in such an ethereal, but sharply concise way. It's a story of love, artificial intelligence, and independence, and a meditation of sorts. Beautiful, but it could have used a little more resolution. B+ Nir Yaniv, "A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor" A short little take on "The Little Prince" that is both poetic and slightly surprising. B+ Dominic Green, "Glister" This is just one of those stories whose mood is difficult to describe. It didn't quite capture me, it felt like segments of a nightmare sort of patched together in the form of bleak near future scifi, but there's something haunting about it. B- Damien Broderick, "The Qualia Engine" - An interesting enough premise, but I felt it was bogged down by uninteresting characters. B- Catherynne M. Valente, "The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew" - One of the most visually compelling stories here, from the rush of images that seem like paintings or movie stills that I just cannot get out of my head, this story also has a totally interesting mix of silent film stars travelling to other planets. What a gorgeous alternate history/Solar System tour. I desperately want more. A- R. Garcia y Robertson, "Wife-Stealing Time" I was not feeling this story for several reasons, but I appreciate the effort of trying to rev up my engines with barbarian science fiction, which is one of my favorite subgenres. Parts of this story just irritated me by not explaining several key elements, and I felt exasperated by the end. C+ Nancy Kress, "Images of Anna" - Nancy Kress is a good writer. I think her ability to write dialogue is better than most sci fi writers and it has such a natural quality to it. Which is why it pains me to say this one didn't do it for me. I've also seen similar plots from other authors done in a more interesting fashion. C- Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, "Mongoose" - I love being surprised by a story with a main character or narrator that I would never think I would sympathize with. I fell hook, line and sinker for this incredibly thoughtful, and sadly touching post apocalypse story. A+ Margo Lanagan, "Living Curiosities" - I love her other work but this didn't really do it for me. I honestly don't remember it so I'll leave it unrated. Toiya Kristen Finlay, "The Death of Sugar Daddy" - An odd story about fate, with the poverty stricken South as background. Intriguing for some of the visual images towards the end that are stuck in my mind and some good characterization. B- Kelly Link, "Secret Identity" - Holy CRAP can Kelly Link ever write an original short story. Easily the best narrator from this anthology, this story is funny, charming, has an original world with its own rules and laws, and utterly kept me guessing with every page where it would go next. Incredible. It's my favorite story by her so far, period. A+ Genevieve Valentine, "Bespoke" - A twist on the Ray Bradbury story "The Sound of Thunder", quietly told time travel story from the POV of a seamstress. C John Kessel, "Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance" - Far future epic story centering around rare literature. Well I'm a sucker for all those things. B+

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Although there are plenty of decent stories in this 30-story anthology, there's not a lot to get excited about. The most enjoyable piece is Kelly Link's "Secret Identity," in which a creepy hotel rendezvous between a 15-year-old girl and her 30-something online paramour gets sidetracked when the guy doesn't show and the hotel turns out to be hosting a superhero convention. Eugene Mirabelli's "Catalog" stood out by being short and sweet: a graphic artist who yearns to meet the sweater-wearing wom Although there are plenty of decent stories in this 30-story anthology, there's not a lot to get excited about. The most enjoyable piece is Kelly Link's "Secret Identity," in which a creepy hotel rendezvous between a 15-year-old girl and her 30-something online paramour gets sidetracked when the guy doesn't show and the hotel turns out to be hosting a superhero convention. Eugene Mirabelli's "Catalog" stood out by being short and sweet: a graphic artist who yearns to meet the sweater-wearing woman on p. 30 of last year's L. L. Bean catalog somehow finds himself living in print ads, children's books, and magazine spreads. The contributions from veteran authors Robert Charles Wilson ("This Peaceable Land; Or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe," about a US where the Civil War never happened) and Lucius Shepard ("Sylgarmo's Proclamation", a far-future sword and sorcery and dying planet tale) are solid, as always. I wasn't especially impressed with Peter Watts' "The Island," a novelette about a woman's effort to prevent the construction of a hyperspace bypass that would kill an enormous space amoeba, but it did win a Hugo award. In each of these volumes, Horton provides a list of one hundred or so stories that are "recommended reading". Like Horton's brief introduction to each volume, this is a valuable feature. I couldn't resist checking out Leonard Richardson's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Dinosaurs", which was more fun than anything that actually made it into the volume.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cyd

    Child-Empress of Mars Theodora Goss Charming story that is beautifully written. Excellent world building. 4.0 The long, cold goodbye Holly Phillips An allegory of sorts. Reminded me of the Titantic. The narrator, Berd has returned home for one last visit. Everyone is having one last party before the ice arrives. Nothing is obvious which makes it fun to put the pieces together. 4.0 The endangered camp Ann Leckie Inane, straightforward story.. A mother hen(actual chicken on a spaceship) protects her ch Child-Empress of Mars Theodora Goss Charming story that is beautifully written. Excellent world building. 4.0 The long, cold goodbye Holly Phillips An allegory of sorts. Reminded me of the Titantic. The narrator, Berd has returned home for one last visit. Everyone is having one last party before the ice arrives. Nothing is obvious which makes it fun to put the pieces together. 4.0 The endangered camp Ann Leckie Inane, straightforward story.. A mother hen(actual chicken on a spaceship) protects her chick. The rest is a spoiler, so, all i can say is "upwardly mobile" would be an understatement. 1.0 Dragon's Teeth Alex Irvine Pages 4-6, two plot holes. Yet, the story has potential. Then ends with a cliffhanger. Reads like a couple chapters out of a large book. 2.0 Images of Anna Nancy Kress Professional photographer does photoshoot of a woman named Anna with strange results. Conventional fiction tinged by fantasy. 3.5 Mongoose Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear My favorite so far. Fantasy/Sci-fi with well-defined characters plus action! Little to no philosophizing. 4.5 Events preceding the Helvetican Renaissance Intriguing novella about an ordinary man who finds redemption and love while setting his country free from oppressive rulers. Plus a HEA. 4.5 The other anthology stories I DNF or skimmed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Geir

    This is overall a useless collection. Not only are most of the stories pointless, but they also have superfluous padding, which is fine for the Wheel of Time series, but short stories are supposed to be short, as in don't make the story longer than your idea is. It took me months to plow through this book. There are some points of light in the dark void, earning the book overall 2 stars from me: Crimes and Glory by Paul McAuley - Dat sweet ironic twist at the end. A painter, a sheep and a boa cons This is overall a useless collection. Not only are most of the stories pointless, but they also have superfluous padding, which is fine for the Wheel of Time series, but short stories are supposed to be short, as in don't make the story longer than your idea is. It took me months to plow through this book. There are some points of light in the dark void, earning the book overall 2 stars from me: Crimes and Glory by Paul McAuley - Dat sweet ironic twist at the end. A painter, a sheep and a boa constrictor by Nir Yaniv - It's short, it's sweet. All short stories should be! Mongoose by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear - Although it starts with a barrage of "new words" - a scourge of bad SF that probably annoyed me more than it should at this point, it actually turns into a good and clever story with action. Pleasant surprise.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a really excellent anthology. The stories are all well-crafted and original. There were a few that didn't really do it for me, but most of them knocked my socks off. My favorites were Ann Leckie's "The Endangered Camp," Jo Walton's "Three Twilight Tales," Robert Charles Wilson's "This Peaceable Land," Rachel Swirsky's "Eros, Philia, Agape," Damien Broderick's "The Qualia Engine," Catherynne M. Valente's "The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew," Sarah Monette's & Elizabeth Bear's "Mongoose," T This is a really excellent anthology. The stories are all well-crafted and original. There were a few that didn't really do it for me, but most of them knocked my socks off. My favorites were Ann Leckie's "The Endangered Camp," Jo Walton's "Three Twilight Tales," Robert Charles Wilson's "This Peaceable Land," Rachel Swirsky's "Eros, Philia, Agape," Damien Broderick's "The Qualia Engine," Catherynne M. Valente's "The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew," Sarah Monette's & Elizabeth Bear's "Mongoose," Toiya Kristen Finley's "The Death of Sugar Daddy," and Kelly Link's "Secret Identity." When your "favorites" make up about half the anthology, you know you've got a winner, and I'll definitely be looking for others in this series. Highly recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tad Deshler

    There were some good stories in this collection, but overall the book was a bit uneven, given that some of the stories were a bit incomprehensible. It can be challenging to throw readers into a different world in a short number of pages. I found myself in several instances just wishing I could move on to the next story, but I'm compulsive enough that I read them all.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Besha

    This is such a solid collection, but I most loved Peter Watts, Sara Genge, Rachel Swirsky, Robert Charles Wilson, Damien Broderick, Genevieve Valentine, and John Meaney. This also has the distinction of having the only Kelly Link story I've ever actually enjoyed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This has been a huge and revealing undertaking for me. I borrowed this book to look at a Kelly Link story after I read that she had just been granted a huge literary grant. Then I read a few more stories at random and remembered that I just don’t get short stories and SciFy short stories in particular. So I read Goodreads reviews, thanks to all of you, and other reviews and reread the stories I had already read and they started to make sense and I even started to enjoy them. Most I have had to r This has been a huge and revealing undertaking for me. I borrowed this book to look at a Kelly Link story after I read that she had just been granted a huge literary grant. Then I read a few more stories at random and remembered that I just don’t get short stories and SciFy short stories in particular. So I read Goodreads reviews, thanks to all of you, and other reviews and reread the stories I had already read and they started to make sense and I even started to enjoy them. Most I have had to read more than once. Then I discovered this was huge. My library borrowing was an ebook and I didn’t realise at the beginning that there are 30 stories and one is over 80 pages long and many are 40 pages long. But they kept on getting better and better. I am still going to reread some. But I am ready to share some of my reactions. A Story with Beans. Steven Gould Read twice and ok enough but I didn’t really enjoy it either time. D Child Empress of Mars. Theodora Goss. I saw a copy with charming illustrations which gave me the help I needed. B+ The Island Peter Watts Built up a bit of excitement towards the end but didn’t engage me. C The Logic of the World. Robert Kelly. Charming traditional fantasy about a knight and a wise dragon. B The Long Cold Goodbye. Holly Phillips. I loved this end of the world as the sun dies story. A The Endangered Camp Ann Leckie. I utterly misunderstood this first time around. When I was told it was about dinosaurs it all fell into place. So quite witty but I wasn’t completely engaged. C+ Dragon’s Teeth Alex Irvine. Another traditional fantasy. B- As Women Fight Sara George. This was boring and horrible and as far as I could see pointless. F Sylgarmo’s Proclamation. Lucius Shepard. Trad style fantasy and I enjoyed it a lot. B+ Three Twilight Tales. Jo Walton. Utterly charming fairy tale with adult sensitivities. A- Necroflux Day John Meaney. Not much enjoyment. C- The Persistence of Memory or This Space for Sale. Paul Park. I honestly don’t remember this much. C This Peaceable Land or The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Robert Charles Wilson. I love alternative history and this is a great idea of an America in 1890 that didn’t have a civil war but when slavery died out anyway in unhappy circumstances. B On the Human Plan Jay Leckie I cant remember it but I gave it a C- at the time. Technicolor John Langan. Tribute to Poe and this was the only absolute page turner. Loved it! A+ Catalogog Eugène Mirabelli. Slight but sweetish. C+ Crimes and Glory Paul McAuley. Much enjoyment A Eros, Philia, Agape Rachael Swirsky. A story about love. A woman, a robot and a bird. C+ A Painter, a Sheep and a Boa Constrictor Nir Yankv. I’m back to not sei g the point of some SciFy short stories D Glister Dominic Green Enjoyed. B The Qualia Engine Damien Broderick. Super intelligent people. I didn’t enjoy it. D The Radiant Car thy Sparrows Drew Catherynne M Valente. Best ever title and from Sappho I discover. I enjoy steam punk and I enjoyed the unusual format and world and lots of things about this. Needed at least two readings, maybe more. A- Wife Stealing Time R Garci Y Robertson. Unusual setting with Native American overtones and insensitive tourists bit I didn’t get the humour. C Images of Anna. Nancy Cress Interesting with a solid human theme of photographs reflecting more than just a physical image. B+ Mongoose Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. Loved this Lewis Carrol inspired hunt for dangerous creatures in space ships. Living Curiosities Margo Lanagan. Great setting in a fun fair with vulnerable people as exhibits who engage us with their humanity. A The Death of the Sugar Daddy Toiya Kristen Finley. An end of the world scenario in a poor black American setting. I was not engaged. Secret Identity. Kelly Link. OK B- Bespoke. Genevieve Valentine. Time travel with no actual time travel. Two women who have a firm making clothes for for time travellers. And a reference to a time traveler killing a dog and noticing a dearth of mice in their own time. Butterfly effect but with the delightful bespoke business in the foreground. B Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance John Kessel A bit of a fun romp of action adventure. B-

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3150125.html Thirty stories here; I had read three of them before, two of which I ranked bottom of their category in the 2010 Hugos but the third, Lucius Shepard's "Sylgarmo's Proclamation", I rather enjoyed. Most of them I enjoyed a lot more, with a particular shout to Robert Charles Wilson's "This Peaceable Land, Or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe", in which the American Civil War never happened and slavery is abolished by more unpleasant means; An https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3150125.html Thirty stories here; I had read three of them before, two of which I ranked bottom of their category in the 2010 Hugos but the third, Lucius Shepard's "Sylgarmo's Proclamation", I rather enjoyed. Most of them I enjoyed a lot more, with a particular shout to Robert Charles Wilson's "This Peaceable Land, Or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe", in which the American Civil War never happened and slavery is abolished by more unpleasant means; Anne Leckie's "The Endangered Camp", with spacefaring dinosaurs; R. Garcia y Robertson's "Wife-Stealing Time", set among barbarians on Barsoom; and best and creepiest of the bunch, Kelly Link's "Secret Identity" where a teenager's attempt to rendezvous with her much older lover turns into an unexpected encounter with superheroes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lashawn

    It's neat that I've met (and talked face to face) with 7 authors in this collection. I've also already heard half the stories on Escapepod or Podcastle. It was nice to read these stories and linger over the prose (such as Eros, Phillipe, Agape--read it on Tor, heard it on EscapePod, but reading it in print helped me catch nuances i missed. Same thing with Catherynne M. Valente's The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew). Stories that stuck with me: The Persistence of Memory by Paul Park: normally I hate It's neat that I've met (and talked face to face) with 7 authors in this collection. I've also already heard half the stories on Escapepod or Podcastle. It was nice to read these stories and linger over the prose (such as Eros, Phillipe, Agape--read it on Tor, heard it on EscapePod, but reading it in print helped me catch nuances i missed. Same thing with Catherynne M. Valente's The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew). Stories that stuck with me: The Persistence of Memory by Paul Park: normally I hate meta fiction, but this finally elevated it to an art form. Read it several times and something else revealed itself to me each time. Technicolor by John Langan: very spooky retelling of Poe's The Masque of the Red Death. Never realized colors could be so deadly. Or lectures for that matter. Wife-stealing Time by R. Garcia y Robertson: wry tale that combines friskyn females and hunting beasts The Death of Sugar Daddy by Toiya Kristen Finley: invoked memories of my childhood Mongoose by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette: Heard this one on Drabblecast. A delight to read in print. Secret Identity: if I was to ever get audio equipment, I would beg Podcastle to let me read this. Also, Kelly Link, Kelly Link.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Thurneysen

    The fact that it took several years to finish reading this book is the main reason behind the two star rating. I will be wary the next time a read a book synopsis that hypes how many words it has, as in "features over a quarter million words of fiction", especially if it is a collection of short stories. The were quite a few stories that I loved, for example "Mongoose" by SARAH MONETTE and ELIZABETH BEAR which takes place in a well thought out universe, with some true suspense and has some fun re The fact that it took several years to finish reading this book is the main reason behind the two star rating. I will be wary the next time a read a book synopsis that hypes how many words it has, as in "features over a quarter million words of fiction", especially if it is a collection of short stories. The were quite a few stories that I loved, for example "Mongoose" by SARAH MONETTE and ELIZABETH BEAR which takes place in a well thought out universe, with some true suspense and has some fun references to other great fiction. For example: "The bandersnatch that had killed the humans on the Jenny Lind had died with her reactor core and her captain." Now I definitely want to read some other stories in this universe/series. And there were some memorable and thought provoking stories such as Robert Charles Wilson's "This Peaceable Land Or The Unbearable Vision Of Harriet Beecher Stowe" a good one for history fans and alternate time travelers, and "Secret Identity" by Kelly Link, a good one for gamers and online addicts. But many of the stories were overly clever and overly verbose and I felt like I was just slogging through it. Another reviewer sums it up nicely when he says "don't make the story longer than your idea is"

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I had read several of these previously in another anthology, including the excellent "Eros, Philia, Agape" by Rachel Swirsky. The other standouts were: "Technicolor" by John Langan, a fun Poe pastiche in which a professor's lecture on The Masque of the Red Death takes some strange twists. "Catalog" by Eugene Mirabelli, in which a man with a crush on a catalog model finds himself suddenly in an alternate universe populated by centerfolds with staple navels and a gothy Maddy Usher, part-time waitr I had read several of these previously in another anthology, including the excellent "Eros, Philia, Agape" by Rachel Swirsky. The other standouts were: "Technicolor" by John Langan, a fun Poe pastiche in which a professor's lecture on The Masque of the Red Death takes some strange twists. "Catalog" by Eugene Mirabelli, in which a man with a crush on a catalog model finds himself suddenly in an alternate universe populated by centerfolds with staple navels and a gothy Maddy Usher, part-time waitress. "Secret Identity" by Kelly Link, in which a teen-age girl (who may be a born sidekick, or maybe a superhero) falls in love (or what she thinks is love) with an older man (who could be a superhero) she "meets" while playing a WoW-like game. "The Peaceable Land; Or, the Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Robert Charles Wilson, a vision of a United States that did not endure a civil war, and the horrible aftermath of slavery's slow death.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Res

    This was a good choice as a travel book (despite its heft). Some good stories and relatively few clunkers (there were four I couldn't finish, one because it bored me and three because their stylistic quirks got between me and the story in a way I couldn't get past), but the only one that really stood out for me was Robert Charles Wilson's AU "This Peaceable Land Or The Unbearable Vision Of Harriet Beecher Stowe."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Betsy Dion

    I read some of the stories in this book, but then I had to return it to the library. The stories I read were all okay, but none of them were particularly great. That is why I didn't have too much trouble returning it without finishing all of them. (If I had had more time, maybe I would have read them.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Vast number of stories were weird and reveled in using unexplained words so you never knew what the author meant. A three star nugget here or there, but they were scattered far too widely.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Derick

    Not impressed there are a handful of pretty decent stories. Science fiction has not impressed me thus far.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    a mixed bag

  19. 5 out of 5

    Climbedhighestmountain

    Several very good stories. Only skipped a few. If I had patience, I'd keep track of the authors I liked. But I don't and didn't.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Anthologies can be difficult, but this one is an excellent mix.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    LOTS OF GOOD STORYS

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Already read "The Island" by Watts.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave Farley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Denise Farrell

  25. 5 out of 5

    GeeBee

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jerry123

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steven A Baumgartner

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dshade69

  29. 5 out of 5

    c a t a l i n a

  30. 5 out of 5

    Craig

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