The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-second Annual Collection
, . . St. Martin's Griffin, $35 (663pp) ISBN 978-0-312-33660-8
The latest in Dozois's definitive, must-read short story anthology series takes the pulse of science fiction today, revealing it to be a genre of breathtaking scope and imagination. Classic SF situations take on a new twist: observation/first-contact stories "The Ocean of the Blind" by James L. Cambias and standout "The Clapping Hands of God" by Michael F. Flynn follow humans as they disastrously make contact with alien species that they cannot comprehend; in Stephen Baxter's generation-starship story, "Mayflower II," someone has to stay awake to tend the humans throughout the millennia of travel; and in the postapocalyptic world of Brendan Dubois's "Falling Star" we mourn the loss of our civilization. Several stories first appeared online, including Christopher Rowe's Hugo nominee, "The Voluntary State," which outrageously plays with Tennessee icons, and Vernor Vinge's "Synthetic Serendipity," about boys' virtual reality games. A comprehensive summation of the field and a list of honorable mentions make this book indispensable as a reference volume. The range of stories and styles means there's something here for everyone.
Reviewed on: 06/20/2005