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The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection
edited by Gardner Dozois
St. Martin's Press, 704 pages

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection
Gardner Dozois
Gardner Dozois was the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine for many years and is the editor of the annual anthology series The Year's Best Science Fiction, as well as many other anthologies. He has won more than 10 Hugo Awards as the year's best editor, and 2 Nebula Awards for his own short fiction. His short fiction appears in Geodesic Dreams: The Best Short Fiction of Gardner Dozois. He is the author or editor of better than 70 books, including the anthologies The Good Old Stuff and The Good New Stuff. He's also edited such theme anthologies as Dinosaurs! and Dog Tales!. He lives in Philadelphia.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Escape from Earth
SF Site Review: One Million A.D.
SF Site Review: Galileo's Children
SF Site Review: Strangers
SF Site Review: Future Sports
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction, Eighteenth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Space Soldiers
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction: 17th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Solar System
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Werewolves
SF Site Review: Future War
SF Site Review: The Good Old Stuff
SF Site Review: Nanotech
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Detectives
SF Site Review: Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection

A review by Sandra Scholes

Long running compilation books of the best science fiction writing don't come any better than this. Gardner Dozois's thirtieth annual collection has the very best SF authors explore new worlds with many different settings and outcomes and raises several questions about what is out there in the universe, the truths of aliens, and the reality of these tales as the award-winning authors write about them. Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley, and Andy Duncan are some of the well-known authors who try to answer the questions that are on all our minds on the universe and those deep, dark parts.

Gardner Dozois has had a rather interesting career in editing anthologies. There are those he has edited himself, those he has co-edited with Sheila Williams and Jack Dann, and also the non-fiction of James Tiptree, Jr. In The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois has amassed short stories that have been published before by other notable magazines such as Asimov's, Eclipse Online, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Interzone and Lightspeed.

There are reasons why Dozois chose the fiction in this book, the stories are just as memorable as the writers.

"The Man," by Paul McAuley

Cho Ziyi and Jung Ching come across a mysterious man in the middle of a flux storm who is half naked and in need of help, yet he doesn't appear a normal human at all as his eyes are marked with cog-like pupils. Ziyi believes the man is someone he has seen in the papers, but isn't sure he is that man now. People known as the Jackaroo promised that human people would have a new start at a life on another planet, and thinks he might have had a run-in with them. He also wonders that, if he was a human, he wouldn't have survived such a harsh storm. Page by page, the mystery is unveiled, but in doing so, Ziyi by being close to him risks all to protect the man as there are those who would seek to take him away and use him for their own ends.

"The Memcordist," by Lavie Tidhar

A man works his way through memories of places he has been to find the woman he loves. He only remembers her through a certain scent he keeps noticing, and still searches for her even though it has been in vain so far. This story is an emotive one, certainly evocative of places that could be and of familiar smells of other cultures on distant planets.

"The Finite Canvas," by Brit Mandelo

Jada comes to Molly out of need for another design marking one of her latest contract killings, and in return, she tells her the story of her life. The markings that are already on her body are designs that have been cut into her flesh, not tattooed as she has felt the pain of the other person's death and subsequent loss. Jada tells her of her partner, Eten, whom she grew to love, and what horrors they had seen together. She doesn't see everything they do as great, she looks back over her past without rose-tinted glasses, but she doesn't feel any remorse or sadness at what she has done after a kill. Eten, though, did and that is what set him apart from her. When she finds out Eten has betrayed her and the crime syndicate, she has to end his life, but in doing so, will she feel any emotion? This story shows the dark side of people's psyche and that everyone has their price no matter what.

"Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, The Potter's Garden," by Paul McAuley

His other story "The Man," also featured in this anthology, though this one has four other stories within it that make up the whole. They show the Outer Solar System after an interplanetary war and the aftermath of the colonists trying to pick up the pieces from the recent devastation. Macy Minnot was from Earth and sent out to work on the construction project on Callisto, but became caught up in a political scandal. She wanted to spend a Christmas she would never forget, but gets something totally unexpected. Each of the stories is told one after the other as part of a longer one and serves to link the stories together right up until the end.

"Astrophilia," by Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn is famous for writing the Kitty novels where the heroine is a werewolf and a radio personality who runs a late night show for supernatural creatures. This short story isn't based in that universe, but is just as enjoyable. Stella is caught in an uncertain future where she has to decide whether she wants to stay in the place she has grown up or go somewhere else she might be more appreciated. Stella is a good weaver, maybe one of the best as far as her friends are concerned, and as she has to make a new life with Toma and Andi, she hardly realises that there could be more trouble there. This is, at times, an unsettling story, but well written and with a good ending.

"Old Paint," by Megan Lindholm

This story is set in the far future and looks at how a family who has hardly anything copes with the technology of the future. Suzanne finds out that she has had something most of their life in the form of an abandoned car that has more to it than she imagined. Ben, her boyfriend wants her to sell it, but Suzanne refuses as it reminds her of better times she had with her family before it all broke up. It illustrates what an inanimate object can do for a person's life and how that life plays with Suzanne.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra is currently posting on Twitter as @sandrareviewer and finding that there are too many people on there to chat to when she could be writing. When she has chance, she writes for The British Fantasy Society, Fantasy Book Review and Quail Bell Magazine.

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