cover image The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016

Edited by Karen Joy Fowler, series editor John Joseph Adams. Mariner, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-544-55520-4

In this second book in the annual series, acclaimed series editor Adams and this year’s guest editor, Fowler, deliver a thoughtful array from a star-studded assemblage of writers. The 20 stories here were first published in American venues, but their subject matter travels far and wide in time, space, and human memory. Ghost stories “Meet Me in Iram” by Sofia Samatar and “Interesting Facts” by Adam Johnson explore the anguish of loss. Salman Rushdie’s “The Duniazát” and Rachel Swirsky’s “Tea Time” highlight fantastical lovers and obsession. Technology challenges humankind in “The Daydreamer by Proxy” by Dexter Palmer, Charlie Jane Anders’s provocative “Rat Catcher’s Yellow,” and the dystopian “Headshot” by Julian Mortimer Smith. Seth Dickinson’s “Three Bodies at Mitanni,” Ted Chiang’s “The Great Silence,” and “Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente explore how people identify—or fail to detect—intelligence. Equally memorable are Will Kaufman’s old-fashioned “Things You Can Buy for a Penny” and the fungoid body snatching of “The Mushroom Queen” by Liz Ziemska. The anthology doesn’t strike gold with every entry, but it will leave readers with plenty to think about. (Oct.)