Not, as you might anticipate from the subtitle, a major retrospective, but a second “best from” (following 1989’s 40th Anniversary “best from”). This time, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction’s current editor, Van Gelder, and its long-serving previous editor, Ferman, have assembled 21 stories from 1993 through 1998. At the top of the list are two Nebula Award—winning yarns, Bruce Holland Rogers’s “Lifeboat on a Burning Sea” and Esther M. Friesner’s “A Birthday.” Also on the agenda: Terry Bisson’s short comic-horror masterpiece, “Partial People” (“lips and eyes stuck under theater seats like gum”), strange alien invasions (John Crowley, Gene Wolfe), politics (Robert Reed), fairy tales (Rachel Pollack), and alternate history (Maureen F. McHugh). Add top-notch entries from such luminaries as Bruce Sterling, Harlan Ellison, Tanith Lee, Bradley Denton, Michael Blumlein, Paul Di Filippo, Kate Wilhelm, Ray Bradbury, and Ursula K. LeGuin, and it’s obvious why F&SF has thrived while competitors have vanished. Eloquent, scintillating, often sublime.