cover image The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

Edited by Charles Yu and John Joseph Adams. HMH/Adams, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-544-97398-5

Guest editor Yu’s introduction to the superb third volume of this fine series imagines an interdimensional cop seeing these stories as evidence of a “scrap of hope” for human civilization in the face of “the collapsing of objective truth that’s going on.” This mostly dystopic, sometimes darkly humorous collection of 20 hard-hitting stories feels timely, confronting contemporary cultural crises such as racism, xenophobia, police brutality, barriers to health care access, and the social misuses of technology. New York becomes sentient, monstrous, and heroic in N.K. Jemisin’s “The City Born Great.” Debbie Urbanski’s deep dive into the mindset of creepy suburban conservatism in “When They Came to Us” evokes profound discomfort. In imagined futures, humankind loses control of its surroundings in low-tech ways, such as the Garbagetown of Catherynne M. Valente’s grossly evocative “The Future Is Blue,” and high-tech ways, such as the personally targeted mediaterrorism of Nick Wolven’s disturbingly plausible “Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do?” Contributors’ endnotes solidify the reading of these stories as both entertainment and social narrative. (Oct.)