Gathering together some of the best names in science fiction and fantasy, this anthology honors a smattering of the best short stories and novellas that emerged in the previous year. The genres range from historical fiction to futuristic science fantasy, from folklore to urban fantasy.
Fully 11 of the 27 tales, I rated 4 or 5-stars. The best of the best are the four that I gave 5-stars:
–Sam J. Miller, the sole author with more than one included tale, wrote two of the best tales. “Calved” tells a very human story of an immigrant father trying to understand his culturally savvy and acclimated son set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world. Miller’s “Ghosts of Home” depicts a different angle on dysfunctional family dynamics as a mother and daughter find themselves on opposite sides of the American Housing Market Collapse in a supernatural urban fantasy in which the houses have spirits that bond with their owners.
–Vonda N. McIntyre’s “Little Sisters” is an off-world science fiction that bends gender and sexuality in a brutal dystopian tale of violence and exploitation.
–Usman T. Malik’s novella, The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, blends urban fantasy with a supernatural folktale to explore the generational effects of immigration as a Pakistani-American goes in search of the Old World family history that’s eluded him.
I’ve rated all of the included stories:
Bacigalupi, Paolo–“City of Ash”–4 stars
Bear, Elizabeth–“The Heart’s Filthy Lesson”–4 stars
Ford, Jeffrey–“The Winter Wraith”–4 stars
Leckie, Anne–“Another Word for World”–4 stars
Muir, Tamsyn–“The Deepwater Bride”–4 stars
Robson, Kelly–Water of Versailles–4 stars
Valentine, Genevieve–“Blood, Ash, Braids”–4 stars
Bear, Greg–“The Machine Starts”–3 stars
Gaiman, Neil–“Black Dog”–3 stars
Hopkinson, Nalo & Nisi Shawl–“Jamaica Ginger”–3 stars
Ings, Simon–“Drones”–3 stars
Kiernan, Caitlin R.–“Dancy vs. the Pterosaur”–3 stars
McDonald, Ian–“Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan”–3 stars
Sulway, Nike–“The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club”–3 stars
Valente, Catherynne M.–“The Lily and the Horn”–3 stars
Wilson, Kai Ashante–“Kaiju maximus: ‘So Various, So Beautiful, So New'”–3 stars
Wong, Alyssa–“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”–3 stars
Jones, Gwyneth–“Emergence”–2 stars
Link, Kelly–“The Game of Smash and Recovery”–2 stars
Reed, Robert–“The Empress in Her Glory”–2 stars
Reynolds, Alastair–“A Murmuration”–2 stars
Robinson, Kim Stanley–“Oral Argument”–2 stars
Ryman, Geoff–“Capitalism in the 22nd Century, or A.I.R.”–2 stars