The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015

Edited by Paula Guran. Prime (prime-books.com), $19.95 trade paper (576p) ISBN 978-1-60701-455-3
Longtime editor Guran (The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015) makes a thoughtful selection of nine novellas in this high-quality anthology, which skews toward fantastical crime fiction. James S.A. Corey’s “The Churn” reads like a futuristic version of The Wire and is instantly accessible even to readers who aren’t familiar with Corey’s Expanse series. The blend of noir and science fiction is near perfect, with a Baltimore-based gangster, whose decision to eschew his upper-class background and instead work in a criminal enterprise highlights the division between classes, and a pervasive lyric melancholy—one character life is described as “a fabric woven of losses.” Fans of the brilliant sedentary detective Nero Wolfe will be hard-pressed to find a better emulation than John P. Murphy’s “Claudius Rex,” narrated by an Archie Goodwinesque legman who reluctantly partners with the eponymous AI; the story comes complete with Wolfe’s disdain for slang and his desire to reveal his brilliance before a classic gathering of the murder suspects. The other contributions range from epic fantasy to a classic alien invasion with a twist, and all are solid selections. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 01/01/2016
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-1-60701-472-0
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