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The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy

edited by Jack Dann

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-451-46015-4
Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Title notwithstanding, a collection of the 2004 Nebula winners, chosen by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Dann brings together two of the winning pieces of short fiction and excerpts from the winning novella (Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”) and novel (Elizabeth Moon’s The Speed of Dark). The Nebula for short story went to Karen Joy Fowler’s “What I Didn’t See,” and the novella winner was Jeffrey Ford’s “The Empire of Ice Cream.” There is a good selection of the other finalists, including Richard Bowes’s “The Mask of the Rex,” James Van Pelt’s “The Last of the O-Forms,” Carol Emshwiller’s “Grandma,” Molly Gloss’s “Lambing Season,” Cory Doctorow’s “Onzored” and Harlan Ellison’s “Goodbye to All That.” Also featured are works by the 2005 Author Emeritus, Charles L. Harness (“Quarks at Appomattox”), and the newly elected Grand Master, Robert Silverberg (“Sundance,” from 1969), as well as appreciations of those two writers by George Zebrowski and Barry N. Malzberg. The volume attempts to give a broader picture of the current state of SF by including a summary of the year’s films, the winners of the Rhysling Award for SF poetry, and provocative essays by participants in several current movements in the field, including “New Weird,” “New Space Opera” and the “InterstitialArts Foundation.” And in a look back at a seminal force in the history of popular fiction, Barry Malzberg recalls his years working at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, an experience that Malzberg portrays as verging on surreal.

Dann’s introduction and story notes are knowledgable, graceful and to the point: here’s another for the fan’s bookshelf.