The year’s best science fiction, 2018, edited by Gardner Dozois

I am a big fan of science fiction short story anthologies. But this edition, The year’s best science fiction, 2018, edited by Gardner Dozois, proved disappointing. I did not read all of the stories (almost 670 pages), but started with earlier ones and authors I recognized. I jumped first to Robert Reed, a sci-fi author I really enjoy, but his story was quite disappointing and seemed a bit incoherent. Nancy Kress and Maureen McHugh delivered good solid stories, but . A style I enjoy (think leGuin) was nicely replicated in a story “The Road to the Sea,” by Lavie Tidhar. I liked a story by R.S. Benedict, “My English Name” about identity transformation. “An Evening with Severyn Grimes,” by Rich Larson was a somewhat entertaining action cyber-thriller… Same for “Vanguard 2.0” by Carter Scholz, which took a small idea an captured it nicely, but I prefer Maureen McHugh’s insistence that small characters do not have to be paired with billionaires and emperors to make a story interesting. Just let the small character be a small character. Michael Swanwick and Linda Nagata do that, in “Starlight Express” and “The Martian Obelisk,” respectively, though the overwhelming emotions that leads to the final acts (in each story) are not well-developed, in my opinion. Naomi Kritzer did a better job in “Waiting out the end of the world in Patty’s Place cafe.” “Night Passage” by Alistair Reynolds was a nice story about living with a decision that was not really yours to make; living as a survivor, I guess.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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