Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Best of Michael Swanwick” as Want to Read:
The Best of Michael Swanwick
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Best of Michael Swanwick

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
It's here at last the first comprehensive overview of the extraordinary career of master storyteller Michael Swanwick. Covering over a quarter of a century, from his first two published stories both of them Nebula finalists to his most recent, these works bear witness to one of the most vivid and far-ranging imaginations in contemporary fiction. From the hardest of hard sc ...more
Hardcover, 469 pages
Published October 31st 2008 by Subterranean Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Best of Michael Swanwick, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Best of Michael Swanwick

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

4.5 Stars. I have not read all of the stories in this collection so this review is only for the story(ies) set forth below.

Scherzo with Tyrannosaur (5.0 to 5.5 stars): Excellent short story about time-travel, paradoxes and the choices we make as humans (or to stay human). The story follows the paleontological director of a research facility that has been created and placed in the Cretaceous period. The station occasionally brings "big wigs" back in time to do fund raisers. Duri
Stephen Case
Jan 16, 2016 Stephen Case rated it really liked it
Michael Swanwick is a hero. He’s apparently (unless this has changed very recently) the only living person to win five Hugo awards for his writing in six years. From what I can tell he doesn’t have an enormous output, and his works haven’t made him a household name among nerds like Gaiman or Le Guin, but he’s still a literary hero. His novel Stations of the Tide was critically acclaimed by people who like literary science fiction (and those are the kind of people I like). I knew he had written s ...more
May 09, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
It wasn't until I was about a third of the way through this book that I started to believe Michael Swanwick capable of writing a pretty awesome story, and it wasn't until reading "The Very Pulse of the Machine," and everything that comes after it, that Swanwick became a strong contender for my favorite writer ever.

For the first third of this collection I had to struggle to find a way in to these stories: "The feast of Saint Janis" and "Ginungagap" were snappy tales with interesting premises but
K. Axel
Mar 11, 2015 K. Axel rated it really liked it
Time for a proper review of all the stories in this anthology. I've had this anthology for quite a while, ever since it was published by Subterranean Press really, and looked forward to delve into its many stories, but so far I've only read a handful of them.

This is a review-in-progress, so expect to read short reviews of every story, in the proper order, of course.

Introduction by Michael Swanwick
A nice introduction by the author himself, in which he introduces all the stories with a few lines o
Sep 11, 2016 Jolie rated it liked it
I finally slogged through the last half of the book. Overall it isn't awful; 3/5 stars. One story made me want to read one of his books. Otherwise, it was (to me) highly uneven in quality and enjoyability factors. Oddly enough the stories I liked the least most often turn out to have won Hugos. Oh well. If we all liked the same things it would be a dull world.

Out of five stars I rated each story...
North of Diddy-Wah-Diddy: 3.5
Radio Waves: 3
The Dead: 1; well-written, but vile
Mother Grasshopper:
Riju Ganguly
Sep 22, 2011 Riju Ganguly rated it really liked it
I had began my review of this book at Amazon with the title: "Fiction, with some science, and lots of thought, with a smile!" Perhaps my entire review of this hefty volume had got summarised in that title. The author of this book is very-very respected in the arena of science fiction (broadly fantasy), but these stories use such pretexts (mostly in the form of a somewhat futuristic world which is really not a very nice place to stay) only to address a very basic human emotion: the will to live a ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it
Swanwick's stories are excellently written—with a really entertaining variety of different narrative voices / styles—and extremely incentive. His main weakness, I think, is that many of his ideas seem too complicated or detailed for short stories, so there can be a lot of sometimes confusing background dumped on you in a short time. I generally don't like ambiguous or unresolved endings, and while Swanwick executes such endings better than most, this tendency did get on my nerves in a couple of ...more
Casey Hampton
Mar 29, 2013 Casey Hampton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, short-stories
Wow, Michael Swanwick is good.
This is a fantastic collection of Swanwick. It was my first introduction to his writing and his stories exceeded all expectation. What most intrigued me was the sense of reflection I had upon each story's conclusion. You know that feeling when a story sneaks up behind you and sticks its tongue in your ear and all the while you were unaware that it was even capable of doing this? Yeah, take that feeling, square it, and you'll get very close to how these stories affec

I agree with the title. Even when one of these stories is not to my taste I still respect the construction. Then when everything hits right I feel Swanwick can make concoctions like no else, as shown by such masterful and bizarre events like “The Very Pulse of the Machine”, “Mother Grasshopper”, and “The Dog Said Bow Wow.” The heart and soul of his work is in these short stories more than his sometimes messy novels (some of which I like a lot). One theme that he definitely handles well is the ac
Oct 01, 2009 Steve rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-nls
An interesting mix of stories, but none of them totally captured my attention in the way the that sci-fi greats have. Some inventive situations never got developed as far as they might have to really break out and shine. "Scherzo With Tyrannosaur" and "Triceratops Summer" were my faves (strange that the both involve dinosaurs...), with really interesting takes on time-travel and the havoc it might wreak. Also, I'm by no stretch a prude, but many of the stories contained sex scenes that were not ...more
Nov 20, 2014 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up after reading one of his short stories in another book. He was a new author to me and I'm very happy to have discovered him.
The stories in this anthology cover a wide range of (mainly) hard sci-fi topics: colonization, brain-hacking, first contact, etc. with some really nice basic sci-fi thrown in (e.g. Radio Waves). I f I was to name an overall tone to the stories I would say disturbing but in a good way. He explores thorny questions through his stories and sometimes the conclu
Heather McConnell
May 20, 2015 Heather McConnell rated it it was amazing
Michael Swanwick is an incredibly good writer who should be far more popular than he is. However, after reading this batch of shorter fiction (some of which I read a while ago and is even better on a second reading), I think I know why and that's that he continually scares the heck out of me. Swanwick doesn't pull any punches when it comes to exploring what human beings might be capable of given the chance to alter our emotional brain circuitry. Great stuff.
Kyle Muntz
Dec 17, 2015 Kyle Muntz rated it it was ok
Not so great. I read way more of this than I'd expected to, and every story was pretty disappointing in its way--they usually had great ideas, but something about the execution always fell flat. I've heard a lot of good things about Swanwick, but I really disliked both this and Stations of the Tide so I think I'm probably done with him after this, though I loved the pastiche of The Fifth Head of Cerberus he did in the Shadows of the New Sun tribute anthology to Gene Wolfe. But yeah.
Mar 26, 2016 France-Andrée marked it as to-read
Put this on my to-read list because I'm reading The Time Traveler's Almanac and it includes Triceratops Summer and I loved it enough to want to explore more by this author and since I am a sucker for short form, I added this to my future readings.
Apr 04, 2009 Nikku rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Micheal Swanwick's quirky sense of humor and the rampant creativity that comes through in all of these stories. I'd read some of them before but was more than happy to read them again.
Peter Tillman
Feb 03, 2016 Peter Tillman rated it it was amazing

Many of Swanwicks's best, and an amazing Kindle bargain for 3 bucks. Not a weak story in the bunch, and has a lot of my personal favorites. Not to be missed!
Aug 25, 2009 Jennie rated it it was ok
I was already in love with the elegance of "Hello, Said the Stick," with "Triceratops Summer" and "The Dog Said Bow-wow," all of which I'd read elsewhere, but found most of the other stories in this book more heavy-handed, less original.
Feb 08, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
The title says it all. And the best of Michael Swanwick is the best there is for sf/f short stories.
Farzana rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2016
Lorraine Rapp
Lorraine Rapp rated it really liked it
Jun 10, 2014
Franz rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2014
Eric Hulsing
Eric Hulsing rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2014
Samfish9999 rated it liked it
Feb 22, 2015
bill mooney
bill mooney rated it it was amazing
Nov 16, 2014
Ed Zielinski
Ed Zielinski rated it it was ok
Sep 27, 2014
Adam Barnett
Adam Barnett rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2016
Paul Bard
Paul Bard rated it really liked it
Nov 12, 2013
Jen rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2009
Mike Klein
Nov 12, 2011 Mike Klein rated it really liked it
Nice of collection of short stories. Some feel a little dated but good none the less
Robert Davies
Robert Davies rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2010
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Best of Lucius Shepard
  • The Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson, Volume 1: Call Me Joe
  • Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Hell is the Absence of God
  • The Apex Book of World SF (Apex Book of World SF #1)
  • Selections from Fragile Things, Volume One
  • Crackpot Palace: Stories
  • Unpossible and Other Stories
  • The Ant King: And Other Stories
  • Restless Nights: Selected Stories
  • Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories
  • Kirinyaga (A Fable of Utopia, #1)
  • Getting to Know You
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection
  • Sourdough and Other Stories
  • The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories
  • Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories
  • The Divinity Student

Share This Book