cover image The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collection

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collection

. St. Martin's Griffin, $13.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03009-4

Gathering some 600 pages of short fiction, Dozois's best-of-the-year collection has become a landmark of the genre, due as much to the editor's eclectic taste as to the unrivaled amount of space at his disposal. Although this year's selections tend to be intelligent and well written, there is a general lack of dramatic impact--seen at an extreme in Bruce Sterling's ``Our Neural Chernobyl,'' about the bioengineering equivalent of computer hackers, a fascinating synopsis that never develops into a story. The pick of the volume introduces us to vividly imagined other worlds, for instance, what it is like to live on and inside a magically paralyzed mile-long dragon in Lucius Shepard's ``The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter.'' Kim Stanley Robinson persuasively limns a boy's everyday life in a near-future Boston that is half overrun by a ``Glacier.'' In ``The Man Who Loved the Vampire Lady,'' Brian Stableford returns to the epic alternate history of his novel The Empire of Fear , wherein medieval Europe is ruled by an aristocracy of predatory creatures. Also among the 28 tales are works by Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, Pat Cadigan and George Alec Effinger. (June)