Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The science fiction and fantasy fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories to captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major “best of” anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than thirty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery.
Thoughts: Anthologies like that are always hard to judge and rate critically without rating each individual story contained within. Some are good, some less so, and the reasons why vary from story to story. This is the problem I ran into here, and it’s the biggest reason that it took me so long to read from beginning to end. The majority of the stories contained within this volume are fantastic, creative and original and of the sort that keeps you glued to your chair and turning pages. Then there are the others, definitely in the minority but still there, that have strange pacing and feel very chaotic and removed from what’s happening and in general just drag on and on. Those stories were the ones that made it very easy to put the book down and hard to pick it up again, knowing that I still had more of that story to read, and I didn’t feel that it was right or fair to just skip it and not get the full flavour of what the book was trying to convey.
There were thankfully only a few stories like that, but they really did their part to drag down my enjoyment of the rest.
That being said, the stories that were good were good! From the creativity of trickster gods attending high school, to a tale of magical paper animals that illustrate a regretful coming-of-age and denial of heritage, to the implications of the first child born on Mars, so many of these stories were a sheer delight to read, and I loved each second I spent within the world in their pages. Plenty of them evoked a sense of regret at the end, in that the story was over and I wouldn’t be able to continue to tale and find out more.
I was definitely introduced to a good few authors whose work I want to look into, and that was the biggest and best thing that I took away from this. Kij Johnson, Nnedi Okorafor, Dylan Horrocks… This book even made me want to give K J parker another chance, and seeing as how I was rather unimpressed with my introduction to his works, that says a lot for the story that he has in this compilation.
In spite of a couple of what I consider to be duds, overall I’d have to rate this book as one that I will ultimately end up rereading at some point in the future, which means that it’s more than good enough for me to want to keep it around. Very enjoyable! Anyone who’s looking for a good way to find new fantasy and sci-fi authors would do well to grab a copy of this book.
(Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.)