cover image The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year #1

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year #1

, . . Night Shade, $19.95 (478pp) ISBN 978-1-59780-068-6

Australian editor Strahan (Best Short Novels: 2007 ) gathers 24 stories from a wealth of standard and New Age publications for a provocative anthology that will satisfy readers looking for fresh, contemporary work that stretches both SF and fantasy boundaries. Walter Jon Williams's bittersweet "Incarnation Day" and Cory Doctorow's oddly touching "I, Row-Boat" extrapolate current bioengineering and robotics trends into far-flung times and places. Kelly Link's elegiac "The Wizards of Perfil" and Peter S. Beagle's perceptive take on siblinghood, "El Regalo," skew family relationships into bizarre and endearing new shapes. Still others, especially Elizabeth Hand's exquisite "The Saffron Gatherer" and Margo Lanagan's terrifying "Under Hell, Over Heaven," defy categorization, offering flashes of primal recognition of the peaks and valleys of human emotion. Except for a few forays into gory violence (possibly influenced by current video gaming), these stories all refract experience into kaleidoscopic new worlds—strange, dangerous and lovely. (Apr.)