THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION by Gardner Dozois

THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION

Eighteenth Annual Collection
edited by

KIRKUS REVIEW

In his strong anthology of last year’s best SF, editor Dozois leads with a dizzyingly well-done tale that at first seems clogged with excess detail, until you realize that the story is in the detail. John Kessel’s “The Juniper Tree” tells of a 21st-century colony on the Moon where gender roles are reversed and anyone is allowed to have sex with anyone, especially during the Sex Festival. Jack Baldwin brings his daughter Rosalind to the colony but finds adjusting hard; when their young boarder Carey ingenuously confesses that he’s having sex with Roz, Jack accidentally kills him. This leads to an event unique in SF literature this side of The Fly. Ursula K. Le Guin also creates a new society in “The Birthday of the World,” which reveals what happens when the world ends and starts anew with the barbarians taking over. In newcomer Alfred Cowdrey’s dark, hugely detailed “Crux,” 12 billion people have died, and a terrorist group called Crux, which believes in the absolute value of life, wants to bring them all back. Ian McDonald pens a chapbook sequel to his acclaimed novel Evolution’s Shore, taking as the wild premise of “Tendeléo’s Story” alien invaders who eat up Africa, digest it, and turn it into something utterly new. Within this new alien form we watch the coming-of-age of Tendeléo, born in 1995, the oldest daughter of the Pastor of St. John’s Church. Then comes the Chaga, a plant that grows almost faster than you can run from it: “The houses, the fields . . . they run like fat in a pan. We saw the soil itself melt and new things reach out of it like drowning men’s fingers.” Readers who want more can shop from a list of 200 honorable mentions.

Fancy runs wondrously amok here.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-27465-3
Page count: 640pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001




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