cover image The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera

The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera

Edited by David Afsharirad. Baen, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8058-0

While some visions of humanity’s future place us in a society of peace and plenty, many others take darker trajectories. This intriguing anthology explores the human race’s violent potential, with horrors such as the shock of psychological warfare in Michael Z. Williamson’s “Soft Casualty.” Humans use ever more sophisticated methods of waging war on each other (Linda Nagata’s “Codename: Delphi”) or against aliens (Derek Künsken’s “Persephone Descending”). But not every story is dark or devastating. Holly Black’s “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)” is a sweet, entertaining story of cross-species friendship against an otherwise bleak backdrop, and William Ledbetter’s “Stealing Arturo” shows a man facing difficult and dangerous tasks in order to rescue a child he hardly knows. The anthology also bends toward exploration and the triumph of the human spirit, with brave tales such as Eric Leif Davin’s “Icarus at Noon,” in which a man is determined to beat the robots and probes to be the first to land on the last unexplored piece of the solar system. Every story takes the reader on a fascinating, thought-provoking, enjoyable journey into the militarized future. (June)