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Edited by Gardner Dozois

St. Martin's Press


625pp/$29.95/July 2000

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Once again, Gardner Dozois has dipped into the pages of the science fiction magazines and anthologies of the last year in order to give the reader an amazing glimpse into the world of modern science fiction.  For readers familiar with Dozois's anthologies and the field of science fiction, the collection remains at Dozois's high standards, providing an overview of the field and a selection of stories which demonstrate how broad the definition of science fiction can be.  For people with only a casual interest in science fiction or who think the genre is simply "that Buck Rogers stuff," Dozois's collection is an eye-opening and enlightening work.

Judging from Dozois's selection, the hot new subgenre seems to be stories which are time-related.  Several of the stories deal with time or parallel universes, ranging from James Patrick Kelly's "1016 to One," which tells the story of a young boy who meets a time traveler on the verge of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to Kage Baker's "Son Observe the Time," a story set in the world of "the Company" about a group trying to preserve treasures believed lost during the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Of course, not all of the stories in this year's collection fall into this sub-category, and there are a wide variety of stories so all readers will be able to find at least one story which they would expect to enjoy.  Just as Asimov's, the magazine Dozois edits, features stories which range from hard science fiction to stories bordering on fantasy, so, too, does The Year's Best Science Fiction 17.  Representing the thirtieth anniversary of the first lunar landing, several of the stories are reprinted from Robert Crowther's Moon Shots, an anthology of Moon-related tales.  Constance Ash's anthology Not of Woman Born is also represented by two stories.

Most of the works, however, come from the major science fiction magazines, which may be an indicator of the strengths of those magazines, but may also be seen as a weakness of other outlets for science fiction.  The question shouldn't be whether science fiction is dying, perhaps, but whether or not it has really managed to break out of the ghetto.

Once again, Dozois has managed to encapsulate not only the year in fiction, but also the year in the business of science fiction.  His position as the editor of Asimov's gives him an insight into the types of stories being written in addition to the stories being published.  

Author Story
David Marusek The Wedding Album
James Patrick Kelly 1016 to One
Robert Reed Winemaster
Alastair Reynolds Galactic North
Eleanor Arnason Dapple:  A Hwarhath Historical Romance
Stephen Baxter People Came from Earth
Richard Wadholm Green Tea
Karl Schroeder The Dragon of Pripyat
Chris Lawson Written in Blood
Frederik Pohl Hatching the Phoenix
M. John Harrison Suicide Coast
Sage Walker Hunting Mother
Ben Bova Mount Olympus
Greg Egan Border Guards
Michael Swanwick Scherzo with Tyrannosaur
Robert Silverberg A Hero of the Empire
Paul J. McAuley How We Lost the Moon, A True Story by Frank W. Allen
Charles Sheffield Phallicide
Walter Jon Williams Daddy's World
Kim Stanley Robinson A Martian Romance
Tanith Lee The Sky-Green Blues
Hal Clement Exchange Rate
Geoff Ryman Everywhere
Mike Resnick Hothouse Flowers
Sean Williams Evermore
Robert Grossbach Of Scorned Women and Causal Loops
Kage Baker Son Observe the Time

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