Prime Books inaugurates a new annual series with this excellent anthology that focuses on mid-length fiction–novellas. The new series stands as an offshoot to their established and successful series The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Rich Horton that features mostly short stories.
This collection is impressive in both consistency of quality and diversity of range. Due to the longer lengths, only 9 novellas made the anthology, but even the honorable mentions that didn’t make this volume are excellent and worth hunting down: “Grand Jete (The Great Leap)” by Rachel Swirsky was included in the afore-mentioned Horton edited anthology of mostly shorts, John Langan’s “Children of the Fang” and Lavie Tidhar’s “Kur-A-Len” were both in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015, ed. Paula Guran [Prime Books].
I read, rated and reviewed each of the inclusions. Four earned top marks in my eyes:
Seth Chambers’ In Her Eyes [5 stars] is a crass-yet-smart supernatural urban fantasy in which a museum curator has a relationship with a shape-shifter.
Patrick Rothfuss’ The Lightning Tree [5 stars] is a clever and moving romp with one of the secondary characters from his The Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy series. This spot could have just as easily gone to another novella based on a character from this series that also came out last year, the poetic The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
John P. Murphy’s Claudius Rex [5 stars] is a speculative fiction detective story in which a PI and his AI team up to best the bad guys.
James S. A. Corey’s The Churn [5 stars] is a dystopian sci-fi prequel to the Expanse series. While the heart of the series is off-Earth expansionist, this novella focuses on a character born without privilege on a wasted Earth.
Also included are:
Nancy’s Kress’ Yesterday’s Kin–4 stars
Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen’s Where the Trains Turn–3 stars
Mary Rickert’s The Mothers of Voorhisville–3 stars
Genevieve Valentine’s Dream Houses–3 stars
K. J. Parker’s The Things We Do For Love–2 stars
This anthology is highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]