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In The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois produces another volume in the series that Locus calls 'the field's real anthology-of-record.' With a unique combination of foresight and perspective, Dozois continues to collect outstanding work by newcomers and established authors alike, reflecting the present state of the genre while suggesting In The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois produces another volume in the series that Locus calls 'the field's real anthology-of-record.' With a unique combination of foresight and perspective, Dozois continues to collect outstanding work by newcomers and established authors alike, reflecting the present state of the genre while suggesting its future directions. With the editor's annual summary of the year in the field, and his appendix of recommended reading, this book is indispensable for anyone interested in contemporary science fiction. Contents xiii • Summation: 1991 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Beggars in Spain • [Sleepless] • (1991) • novella by Nancy Kress 63 • Living Will • (1991) • novelette by Alexander Jablokov 79 • A Just and Lasting Peace • (1991) • shortstory by Lois Tilton 90 • Skinner's Room • (1991) • shortstory by William Gibson 98 • Prayers on the Wind • (1991) • novella by Walter Jon Williams 134 • Blood Sisters • (1991) • shortstory by Greg Egan 149 • The Dark • (1991) • shortstory by Karen Joy Fowler 163 • Marnie • (1991) • novelette by Ian R. MacLeod 185 • A Tip on a Turtle • (1991) • novelette by Robert Silverberg 204 • Übermensch! • (1991) • shortstory by Kim Newman 215 • Dispatches from the Revolution • (1991) • novelette by Pat Cadigan 231 • Pipes • (1991) • shortstory by Robert Reed 243 • Matter's End • (1989) • novella by Gregory Benford 276 • A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations • (1991) • novelette by Kim Stanley Robinson 302 • Gene Wars • (1991) • shortstory by Paul J. McAuley 308 • The Gallery of His Dreams • (1991) • novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch 346 • A Walk in the Sun • (1991) • shortstory by Geoffrey A. Landis 360 • Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria • (1991) • novelette by Ian McDonald 382 • Angels in Love • (1991) • shortstory by Kathe Koja 388 • Eyewall • (1991) • novelette by Rick Shelley 422 • Pogrom • [Home Front] • (1991) • shortstory by James Patrick Kelly 436 • The Moat • (1991) • shortstory by Greg Egan 446 • Voices • (1991) • shortstory by Jack Dann 454 • FOAM • (1991) • novelette by Brian W. Aldiss 471 • Jack • (1991) • novella by Connie Willis 511 • La Macchina • (1991) • shortstory by Chris Beckett 520 • One Perfect Morning, with Jackals • [Kirinyaga • 1] • (1991) • shortstory by Mike Resnick 527 • Desert Rain • (1991) • novella by Mark L. Van Name and Pat Murphy 571 • Honorable Mentions: 1991 • essay by Gardner Dozois


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In The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois produces another volume in the series that Locus calls 'the field's real anthology-of-record.' With a unique combination of foresight and perspective, Dozois continues to collect outstanding work by newcomers and established authors alike, reflecting the present state of the genre while suggesting In The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois produces another volume in the series that Locus calls 'the field's real anthology-of-record.' With a unique combination of foresight and perspective, Dozois continues to collect outstanding work by newcomers and established authors alike, reflecting the present state of the genre while suggesting its future directions. With the editor's annual summary of the year in the field, and his appendix of recommended reading, this book is indispensable for anyone interested in contemporary science fiction. Contents xiii • Summation: 1991 • essay by Gardner Dozois 1 • Beggars in Spain • [Sleepless] • (1991) • novella by Nancy Kress 63 • Living Will • (1991) • novelette by Alexander Jablokov 79 • A Just and Lasting Peace • (1991) • shortstory by Lois Tilton 90 • Skinner's Room • (1991) • shortstory by William Gibson 98 • Prayers on the Wind • (1991) • novella by Walter Jon Williams 134 • Blood Sisters • (1991) • shortstory by Greg Egan 149 • The Dark • (1991) • shortstory by Karen Joy Fowler 163 • Marnie • (1991) • novelette by Ian R. MacLeod 185 • A Tip on a Turtle • (1991) • novelette by Robert Silverberg 204 • Übermensch! • (1991) • shortstory by Kim Newman 215 • Dispatches from the Revolution • (1991) • novelette by Pat Cadigan 231 • Pipes • (1991) • shortstory by Robert Reed 243 • Matter's End • (1989) • novella by Gregory Benford 276 • A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations • (1991) • novelette by Kim Stanley Robinson 302 • Gene Wars • (1991) • shortstory by Paul J. McAuley 308 • The Gallery of His Dreams • (1991) • novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch 346 • A Walk in the Sun • (1991) • shortstory by Geoffrey A. Landis 360 • Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria • (1991) • novelette by Ian McDonald 382 • Angels in Love • (1991) • shortstory by Kathe Koja 388 • Eyewall • (1991) • novelette by Rick Shelley 422 • Pogrom • [Home Front] • (1991) • shortstory by James Patrick Kelly 436 • The Moat • (1991) • shortstory by Greg Egan 446 • Voices • (1991) • shortstory by Jack Dann 454 • FOAM • (1991) • novelette by Brian W. Aldiss 471 • Jack • (1991) • novella by Connie Willis 511 • La Macchina • (1991) • shortstory by Chris Beckett 520 • One Perfect Morning, with Jackals • [Kirinyaga • 1] • (1991) • shortstory by Mike Resnick 527 • Desert Rain • (1991) • novella by Mark L. Van Name and Pat Murphy 571 • Honorable Mentions: 1991 • essay by Gardner Dozois

56 review for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This one from 1991 features at least three alternative time stream stories (you know, what if Hitler was a woman, what if nobody ever discovered America, etc) and I don’t think that stuff is science fiction at all. What I really want them to invent is some device where you could immediately tell which stories in Gardner Dozois’s huge anthologies are worth reading. Sometimes I think Gardner, God bless him, erred more on the side of enthusiasm than discernment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glen Engel-Cox

    Dozois does the best summation for the year, and his selections for the best short fiction, while not always matching mine, often encompass mine because of the shear volume of his collection. And, I have to admit, I find it hard not to be biased; Gardner’s been acknowledging me for some slight help I might have given him for the last several years, and I find myself pleased to be even the smallest part of the preparation of these volumes. Although I’ve cut down on my short fiction reading in rec Dozois does the best summation for the year, and his selections for the best short fiction, while not always matching mine, often encompass mine because of the shear volume of his collection. And, I have to admit, I find it hard not to be biased; Gardner’s been acknowledging me for some slight help I might have given him for the last several years, and I find myself pleased to be even the smallest part of the preparation of these volumes. Although I’ve cut down on my short fiction reading in recent years, this volume was old enough to overlap with many stories that I had already read before, so my comments are limited to the stories that were new to me. • Nancy Kress, “Beggars in Spain”–Great story, that, while reminiscent of some of the classics of SF (Odd John, More Than Human), stands firmly on its own, and states something new. Kress is interested in the tensions between the two groups–one modern analogy for her story is the tension between conservatives and homosexuals. But what I’d like to have seen her spend more time on (and maybe she does in the novel version) is this perverted (in my humble opinion) desire of parents whose children must be their own genetic makeup, and must have all advantages possible. A reflection of evolution? How can that be exaggerated any more than it already is? • Alexander Jablokov, “Living Will”–Excellent story about a man facing Alzheimer’s and deciding to do the “best” for his family and friends. I’m not sure I agree with Jablokov’s conclusion–I think I’m more optimistic or something–but at least he made me think about it. • William Gibson, “Skinner’s Room”–The idea is interesting, just a passing speculation, but there’s no story here. Yes, there’s characterization, but absolutely zero plot. And a story without a plot isn’t much of a story, really. • Greg Egan, “Blood Sisters”–This one’s got a plot; in fact, it’s got a lot, but I still didn’t find that it excited me all that much. Was it because for all the seeming passion that the narrator felt, the very fact and manner of the narration led to it feeling very passive? Things that occurred weren’t surprising. You know the narrator didn’t die because she’s narrating (although that gives me a great idea for a ghost story, although it’s probably been done before). • Karen Joy Fowler, “The Dark”–I’m pretty much in the dark with this story. I think I follow it–Karen’s writing is very clear and informative–but when the ending comes, I’m lost. Very much like her novel, Sarah Canary, where there’s some great information, which I can’t connect with her plot. O, well. • Ian R. McLeod, “Marnie”–The concept isn’t new, but McLeod does the characterization better than it’s been done before. In fact, the authentic romance reminded me of the best of Jonathan Carroll (like the first third of Bones of the Moon), no small compliment coming from me. The characterization was so good that I was disappointed that the concept wasn’t. If the concept had matched the characters, this would have been the best story I’ve read since Lucius Shepard’s “The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter” or Bradley Denton’s “The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians.” • Kim Newman, “Ubermensh!”–Newman seems determined to make his name as an alternate fictioner. Here he gives quite a unique twist to the Superman legend, and it works just as well as his excellent alternate take on Dracula in Anno Dracula. I could probably get tired of this after awhile, but at the moment I’m inclined to give Newman three thumbs-up. • Robert Reed, “Pipes”–I liked it, but I don’t know. I mean, it’s almost too simplistic; not elegant enough. Everything fits together, like a jigsaw puzzle, and like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fits together too nicely, and the very fact that I notice the seams at all is disturbing. And while the plot may be original, it isn’t all that exciting. So, I like it–with reservations. • Paul McAuley, “Gene Wars”–A nice little condensed “Shaper” story. Yes, a mix of Bruce Sterling and J. G. Ballard. Neat. Wonder what weird combinations you could make with other authors? The ideas of one author through the style of another. Naw, too close to the recent rash of “tribute” stories. The story has to come out of it rather than being forced through the gimmick. • Kristine Kathryn Rusch, “The Gallery of Her Dreams”–While this story reminded me of some of the others that I’ve read by Kris, there’s something different–better–here. It may be the very realistic portrayal of Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, or the verisimilitude in descriptions of place, or something that I can’t express. It is a moving story, and worthy of being included here. • Geoffrey Landis, “A Walk in the Sun”–Here’s the problem with “hard science” fiction–Landis may have all the science in this story perfect, but for me to know this, I have to have a lot of knowledge of the moon myself. That is, the story works on specialized knowledge. The audience with that requisite specialized knowledge shrinks as the amount of that knowledge increases. In 1950, the SF audience could follow along with most SF concepts. In 1990, they can’t. Thus the growth of “soft science” and “science fantasy” fiction. The soft sciences allow an “intuitive” understanding, and science fantasy deliberately isn’t based on actually occurring science. Take away the scientific premise to Landis’ story, and it isn’t anything new. • Rick Shelly, “Eyewall”–Of course the next story would have to prove everything differently. “Eyewall” is also a hard science story from Analog that works for me. Maybe it’s because Shelly takes the time to explain his science more fully, or that Shelly understands that SF stories aren’t about the science per se, but people’s reactions to that science. There’s some info-dumping here, but it’s not too odious, and the ending was a little predictable, but for the most part this is a fine story. • Greg Egan, “The Moat”–I like Egan, but this is one of the poorest stories I’ve seen by him. Problems: a major amount of info-dumping, and a fairly boring info-dumping procedure. And the end is simply tacked on; what supposes to stand for the climax seems to have little to do with the rest of the story, and then to tie up the story, Egan adds a “told” section that reads like a “where are they now.” The idea wasn’t bad, but the execution was very poor. • Jack Dann, “Voices”–How many times is Dann going to write about the Big Bopper, Holly and Valens? It’s not the major focus of this story, although it’s a major presence, and I seem to recall Dann writing about them before, maybe twice (“Touring” in collaboration with Dozois?). Maybe it isn’t Dann personally, but all of the writers of his age. “The day the music died” seems to have quite an effect on that age group, as Kennedy’s assassination, or Nixon’s resignation, or the Challenger explosion, has or may have on later groups. I’m just tired of it. The story wasn’t science fiction, either, although it was well-written. • Brian Aldiss, “FOAM”–Nice little twist story, in which the twist is something much larger than the story. The story itself, as twist stories go, isn’t much to think on or read; the twist, however, is one of those universals that it never hurts to underline. • Connie Willis, “Jack”–An excellently researched story, as was her novel Doomsday Book, that reminded me a bit of the Dann & Dozois story, “Down Among the Dead Men.” Superficially, it’s the same idea. If vampires were real, what would they have been doing in WWII. Dann & Dozois gave us the German version; Willis gives us the English. This is also a clever story, incorporating many references to Dracula, most notably in the names of the characters. In fact, it was almost distracting. Still, Willis is a wonderful writer, and always best at the short form. • Chris Beckett, “La Macchina”–Neat story about one possible future populated by robots. Becket accomplishes a lot in a little, and that’s good writing to me. • Mike Resnick, “One Perfect Morning, With Jackals”–The prequel to Resnick’s Kirinyaga series, it contains the same strengths and weaknesses of the other stories in the series. Unlike other critics of this series, I’m not bothered by what Resnick may or may not be saying about technology; the weaknesses I see are in the writing–simplistic characterization, woody dialogue, etc. Resnick overcomes this by intriguing ideas and a strange mixture of legend and future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Alkire

    Year best collections are hard to review. It’s all about supply and context…there’s only a limit to work with and a finite number of really good authors in any given year. I just happen to like browsing these collections, reading what has become a classic or what is interesting to me. I’ve been reading this particular Year’s best series for years now and I like how it puts trends, ideas and authors in perspective over the four decades it’s been published. I’m now working on buying all the books Year best collections are hard to review. It’s all about supply and context…there’s only a limit to work with and a finite number of really good authors in any given year. I just happen to like browsing these collections, reading what has become a classic or what is interesting to me. I’ve been reading this particular Year’s best series for years now and I like how it puts trends, ideas and authors in perspective over the four decades it’s been published. I’m now working on buying all the books in the collection though who knows when I’ll finish it up…Just started on the collections from the 1990’s, my favorite SF decade… Give this a default 3. It’s neither good nor bad, just is within the context and constraints of its time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the every single one of these collections is essential reading for true fans of science fiction short stories... each lengthy volume has a stellar array of all mini-genres and areas of powerfully influential science fiction: hard science, speculative, steampunk, alien invasions, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, aliens, monsters, horror-ish, space travel, time travel, eco-science, evolutionary, pre-historic, parallel universes, extraterrestrials... in each successive volume in the series the tales have advanced and grown in imagination and detail with our ability to envision greater concepts and possibilities... Rod Serling said, "...fantasy is the impossible made probable. science fiction is the improbable made possible..." and in the pages of these books is the absolute best the vastness of science fiction writing has to offer... sit back, relax, and dream...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

    I've run across a few of these Dozois annual collections by chance lately, and am consistently impressed. Not absolutely every story may be to my taste, but most are good and some are very, very good. I'll be looking for the other collections for sure! I've run across a few of these Dozois annual collections by chance lately, and am consistently impressed. Not absolutely every story may be to my taste, but most are good and some are very, very good. I'll be looking for the other collections for sure!

  6. 5 out of 5

    oscar vela

    As usual... Some good stories, some bad ones, a couple I found unreadable, and a handful of great, thought provoking ones. Typical of anthologies, of which this series is the best.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Hepple

    The Year’s Best Science Fiction : Ninth Annual Collection was published in 1992 and presents a selection of the better SF short story writing of 1991. As usual, the editor begins by summarising developments in the genre during the year in some detail, before launching into the stories themselves, each of which begins with a short potted history of the author concerned. The stories themselves are pretty good for the most part, but there are, arguably, at least a couple of duds. Not bad, consideri The Year’s Best Science Fiction : Ninth Annual Collection was published in 1992 and presents a selection of the better SF short story writing of 1991. As usual, the editor begins by summarising developments in the genre during the year in some detail, before launching into the stories themselves, each of which begins with a short potted history of the author concerned. The stories themselves are pretty good for the most part, but there are, arguably, at least a couple of duds. Not bad, considering the number of stories included, so very enjoyable overall.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    Been a long time since I've read this. The only story I recall with certainty is Kress' Beggars In Spain novella, which became the basis for epic Beggars series. Gibson's Skinner's Room would later become Virtual Light, though at the time I believe I read Virtual Light first. In fact, I believe I worked backwards and bought this book after reading later collections. Been a long time since I've read this. The only story I recall with certainty is Kress' Beggars In Spain novella, which became the basis for epic Beggars series. Gibson's Skinner's Room would later become Virtual Light, though at the time I believe I read Virtual Light first. In fact, I believe I worked backwards and bought this book after reading later collections.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Devlin

    If you read one sci-fi book a year, this is the one. Always stories of high caliber with a few tossed in that will keep you thinking weeks later, not to mention the collection is a primer for what science and technology everyone will be talking about five to ten years from now.

  10. 4 out of 5

    L.

    One more volume in the definitive best science fiction series. If you want to read the best, here it is.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Data

    Short stories tend to be my favorite fiction, and the weirder the better. Not sure why this collection did not click for me. Nothing bad in here, but also nothing that totally slayed me either.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rose Ann

    This volume published July 1992 Contains the stories "Jack" by Connie Willis, an author I love. Also "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress, another marvel. This volume published July 1992 Contains the stories "Jack" by Connie Willis, an author I love. Also "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress, another marvel.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrej

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Danko

  16. 5 out of 5

    John-Alan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jmaloney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Wilson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joelle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Drew Boswell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim Newton

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  24. 4 out of 5

    JJacy1

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deby M

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christos

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter Centorcelli

  31. 5 out of 5

    James

  32. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  33. 5 out of 5

    Selena

  34. 5 out of 5

    Ewokari

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bob Gilbert

  36. 5 out of 5

    Vicwong

  37. 5 out of 5

    James Tallett

  38. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Warren

  39. 4 out of 5

    Patrick W

  40. 5 out of 5

    Eric Rupert

  41. 5 out of 5

    Jason Etheridge

  42. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  43. 5 out of 5

    Acp

  44. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jess Bloomingdale

  46. 4 out of 5

    Alex Tsekhansky

  47. 5 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

  48. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Tufts

  49. 5 out of 5

    Ian Donnelly

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Stieffel

  51. 5 out of 5

    Carol McCarthy

  52. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

  53. 4 out of 5

    Daniel LeSaint

  54. 5 out of 5

    Marina

  55. 4 out of 5

    Willy Powell

  56. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

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