The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-Seventh Annual collection edited by Gardner Dozois

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois, Robert Charles Wilson, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear, Steven Gould, Albert E. Cowdrey, Nicola Griffith, Geoff Ryman, Vandana Singh, John Barnes, Jay Lake, Peter Watts, Lavie Tidhar, Mary Rosenblum, Jo Walton, Rand B. Lee, James Van Pelt, Nancy Kress, John C. Wright, Michael Poore, Ted Kosmatka, Damien Broderick, Adam Roberts, Karl Bunker, Robert Reed, Paul Cornell, Chris Roberson, Ian Creasey, Ian McDonald, Maureen F. McHugh, Bruce Sterling, Paul McAuley, Alex Irvine, Dominic Green
on January 1st 1970
Goodreads

The thirty-two stories in this collection imaginatively take us far across the universe, into the very core of our beings, to the realm of the gods, and the moment just after now.  Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents.

Supplementing the stories are the editor's insightful summation of the year's events and a lengthy list of honorable mentions, making this book both a valuable resource and the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination, and the heart.

xiii • Summation: 2009 (The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection) • essay by Gardner Dozois • Utriusque Cosmi • (2009) • novelette by Robert Charles Wilson • A Story, with Beans • [7th Sigma] • (2009) • shortstory by Steven Gould • Under the Shouting Sky • (2009) • shortstory by Karl Bunker • Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance • (2009) • novelette by John Kessel • Useless Things • (2009) • shortstory by Maureen F. McHugh • Black Swan • (2009) • novelette by Bruce Sterling • Crimes and Glory • (2009) • novella by Paul J. McAuley • Seventh Fall • (2009) • novelette by Alexander C. Irvine [as by Alexander Irvine ] • Butterfly Bomb • (2009) • shortstory by Dominic Green • Infinities • (2008) • novelette by Vandana Singh • Things Undone • (2009) • novelette by John Barnes • On the Human Plan • (2009) • shortstory by Jay Lake • The Island • (2009) • novelette by Peter Watts • The Integrity of the Chain • (2009) • shortstory by Lavie Tidhar • Lion Walk • (2009) • novelette by Mary Rosenblum • Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction • (2009) • shortstory by Jo Walton • Three Leaves of Aloe • (2009) • novelette by Rand B. Lee • Mongoose • [Boojum] • (2009) • novelette by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear • Paradiso Lost • (2009) • novella by Albert E. Cowdrey • It Takes Two • (2009) • novelette by Nicola Griffith • Blocked • (2009) • shortstory by Geoff Ryman • Solace • (2009) • shortstory by James Van Pelt • Act One • (2009) • novella by Nancy Kress • Twilight of the Gods • (2009) • novelette by John C. Wright • Blood Dauber • (2009) • novelette by Michael Poore and Ted Kosmatka • This Wind Blowing, and This Tide • (2009) • novelette by Damien Broderick • Hair • (2009) • novelette by Adam Roberts • Before My Last Breath • (2009) • shortstory by Robert Reed • One of Our Bastards Is Missing • (2009) • novelette by Paul Cornell • Edison's Frankenstein • (2009) • novelette by Chris Roberson • Erosion • (2009) • shortstory by Ian Creasey • Vishnu at the Cat Circus • (2009) • novella by Ian McDonald

This book is yet another example of why I love anthologies. It has so much brilliant writing, some of it is from authors I’d already read before, other stories from authors I’ve only just encountered in this volume.

I approached it with trepidation solely due to the size of the book. 631 pages makes for a hefty tome. It’s challenging for the hands, I have small hands with little strength in the muscles, and hard to read in bed. It would be much easier to read on a ereader where you can also bump up the font size.

The other thing I found challenging is one or two of the stories. There are 32 stories in this and with the amount of stories published throughout the world I would have expected each and every one of them to be top notch and spell binding. One or two of them were not. I don’t think I’ve marked which ones but they really slowed me down as I forgot what I’d read, forgot what the story was about and had to reread various parts. But I got through them, heaved a sigh of relief and wandered into the next story.

The other challenge I’ve found is getting older. When I was younger I could read story after story without taking time out for a break. Now I find I need time to stop and let the story settle in my brain before continuing. This was the case with almost every single story in here. There were so many thought-provoking ideas and writing that made me stop to actually think that a short break between each one became mandatory.

Here’s an example by Dominic Green. Called the “Butterfly Bomb” part of the story focuses on Gods. Old Krishna is on a journey and he’s taken his God with him. His God is a rock, and he’s taken this fragment so he can take his God on long journeys.

“But who decided your god was a rock?”

“I did.”

It just made me think about religion in general and how we decide what our God looks like. The rest of the story also made me stop and think.

What you get in this anthology above most of the other anthologies on my shelf is diversity. Looking at the list of authors gives you an idea of the diversity, there are so many different cultures represented here. And that gives a wide and diverse list of short stories. Some of them I celebrated as I’d never read a short story written by a person of that culture, others I got totally lost by as they were too far from my knowledge and experience.