The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Second Annual Collection
Edited by Gardner Dozois
(672p.) St. Martin's. $19.95.
In the growing list of "year's best" SF anthologies, Gardner Dozois's is still a "must read." This year's twenty-second edition covering the year 2004 proves why. It's massive (664 pages, 28 stories), excellent, and diverse. Along with veteran writers (including M. John Harrison, Nancy Kress, and Vernor Vinge), there are newcomers like Paolo Bacigalupi, Colin P. Davies, David Moles, Christopher Rowe, and Vandana Singh. Known-but-not-for-SF writers like fantasist Caitlin Kiernan and mystery/thriller-writer Brendan DuBois are also present. Some stories seem like fantasy (Kage Baker's "Mother Aegypt"), others blend genres (James Patrick Kelly crosses aliens with hard boiled private eyes in "Men Are Trouble" and, in "Intrigue," Walter Jon Williams mixes spaceships and intrigue). Standard SF tropes are given fresh twists by Michael F. Flynn in "The Clapping Hands of God" (first contact) and Stephen Baxter with "Mayflower II" (generation starship). Eleanor Arnason presents a unique perspective in "The Garden," a "science fictional romance" written by an alien. Dozois includes his summation of the field and honorable mentions list. The volume, like the genre, may now be venerable, but it's obviously still vibrant. -- Paula Guran, CFQ V.37.6/7