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The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction (The Year's Best Science Fiction)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  640 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
For years, The Year's Best Science Fiction has been the most widely read short science fiction anthology of its kind. Now, after twenty-one annual collections, comes the ultimate in science fiction anthologies, The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction, in which legendary editor Gardner Dozois selects the very best short stories for this landmark co ...more
ebook, 688 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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"History of Death" is a long story, but well worth the read, and is easily one of the most interesting pieces of fiction I have ever read. I highly recommend others to read this story. The story details Mortimer Gray's journey of writing about death, and the fascination people have with it, once people become essentially immortal. The story's author works on a number of volumes in the History, which takes 174 years to complete. Battling several close calls with death himself, Mortimer Gray is an ...more
Dec 06, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall review: This is a solid collection with some very good stories in it. Most times in the past when I've read short story collections, it's a book with all stories from the same author in it, which is nice in its own way, but this sort of thing seems like a great way to get a sampling of stories from across the Sci-Fi spectrum. I'll be checking out more in the Gardner Dozois "Best of" series in the future.

Detailed reviews below, but I think the biggest standouts from this collection (not i
Peter Tillman
Jul 04, 2016 Peter Tillman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread-list
An outstanding collection. Here's the TOC. My favorites are starred, but they're all worth reading, and you will have a different list. I can't believe what an amazing lineup this is. Astounding! Fantastic! Absolutely not to be missed, if you have any interest in short SF. And a great primer, if you always wanted to try some. Start with the best, right here.

** 10 to 16 to 1 • (1999) • novelette by James Patrick Kelly
A Cabin on the Coast • (1984) • shortstory by Gene Wolfe
*** A Dry, Quiet War
Jun 30, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it "The Best of the Best"? Unanswerable as that question is, there is probably no one better qualified to make his case than Gardner Dozois. And to be fair, he is not claiming to be collecting the best science fiction ever, just the stories that have been previously collected in his annual year's best anthology now well past it's second decade of existence. And what stories! Starting off with Blood Music from Greg Bear raises the possibility of peaking too soon but the collection maintains it ...more
I never did this before, but I want to try to review each story as I read them (also because I'm not sure if I'm going to read the entire book all at once)

Blood Music by Greg Bear
I definitely read this one before, it must have been in one of the Year's Best Science Fiction that I've read in the past. Incredibly unsettling. I love the idea, but something about the writing didn't quite work for me. Everything happened incredibly fast, and still felt kind of slow at times.

Cabin On The Coast by Gene
Steve Stuart
Jan 25, 2014 Steve Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a selection of Gardner Dozois' favorite stories from the first twenty years (1983 to 2002) of The Year's Best Science Fiction. Those annual anthologies had themselves already skimmed the cream off of each year's crop of stories, so ideally, this should be filled with nothing but masterpieces of the form. But, of course, there's no accounting for taste. Dozois admits up front that he has selected many of his own personal favorites, rather than choosing exclusively award winners, and his i ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 25, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
This is a collection of 36 stories ranging from 1981 to 2002 and purporting to represent the best shorts in science fiction in those years. A blurb on the back by GRR Martin says that "if a science fiction fan from 1984 chanced to stumble into a time warp and pop up in the here and now, and wanted to know what had been happening in his favorite genre in the last twenty years, all you'd need to do was hand him a copy of Gardner Dozois's Best of the Best." In a way, I'm that fan. I read a lot of s ...more
Anastasia Guiler
I thought there were less good stories than bad in this one.
I'm reading this at the rate of about one story per week; assuming I can keep that up, it'll be quite a while before I finish. So I'm going to be reviewing it in instalments, in case I forget the early stories by the time I've finished.

For many years Gardner Dozois has been editing a 'Year's Best Science Fiction' anthology, collecting his favourites of the short science fiction stories published during the year. This book collects stories from the first twenty of those anthologies. They are not,
Nick Chatfield
May 06, 2017 Nick Chatfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is actually 'The Year's Best Science Fiction, 29th Annual Edition' edited as always by Dozois. I would say that generally speaking this series is a bit more on the thoughtful, philosophical side than, say Hartwell's 'Year's Best SF' series. A standout story so far is 'The Invasion of Venus' by Stephen Baxter; in which two alien species that are measurably more intelligent than humanity engage in a battle around Venus that can be clearly seen from Earth. During the course of the battle, the ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Outis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect this collection to live up to its pretentious name of course. And I expected to have some differences with the editor considering what passes for SF north of the Rio Bravo these days. But I saw a bunch of names I wasn't familiar with next to the names of some of the genre's greats. I'm hardly well-read so I figured I might discover interesting authors. Surely one has to write noteworthy stuff to be included among the best of Dozois' hallowed yearly collection, right?
I didn't thin
Sep 12, 2012 Russio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To start with I will say that my interest in sci-if is that of tourist rather than homemaker and while I may enjoy a lot of if, I usually have quite an aversion to sci. I like the writings of Vonnegut and PKD which, to me, are about philosophy as much as science, i.e. What would happen if..? The idea of a machine that doesn't know it is a machine seems a recurrent feature in my taste in this genre. My comments should be read in this context.

In trying to sum up this behemoth I shall give this ov
Greg Bear's Blood Music was a great short story.

The font in this book is tiny!

UPDATE: bought for kindle ipad app. I use the 2nd to biggest font. :)
Pretty crappy ebook scan. Extra hyphens and small 'L' instead of '!'.

Connie Willis - Even the Queen: What if women had no periods in the future? Cute.

Gene Wolfe - A Cabin On The Coast: Um, there's pirates, or maybe they're aliens? I don't get it.

Lucius Shepard - Salvador - Ok war story. Not sure it's sf.

Nancy Kress - Trinity - Fabulous novella about s
Jan 06, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I always take short stories to the beach with me to read on vacation. They seem to suit the amount of time one typically has before someone needs more lotion applied or is hungry or needs to walk back to the house or it gets too hot to sit and you need to cool off. And "best of" collections of short stories are a great way to keep up with really good authors. The series of short story science fiction anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois are carried by our local library and make excellent vacatio ...more
If you haven't tried any of the anthologies from The Year's Best Science Fiction series, you really should, and this might be a great place to start. For years now, this series has been my traditional birthday gift to-me-from-me-with-love as it's publication in July coincides conveniently with the day. I have discovered numerous new authors through its stories.

The series has been going since 1984 and roughly half of them have won awards. As they should, Gardner Dozois does a magnificent job of e
Dec 31, 2009 Jlawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic selection of short stories (some novella length) distilled from 20 years worth of Dozois' "The Year's Best Science Fiction" collections. There are a few duds, but otherwise an embarrassment of riches, and Gene Wolfe's was the only one I had read before (and this time his story, 'A Cabin on the Coast', clicked with me as it hadn't before), so it was discovery after discovery for me. I was especially blown away by Nancy Kress's 'Trinity', Gibson's 'The Winter Market', John Kessel's 'The ...more
Mark Carignan
Jan 04, 2013 Mark Carignan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been nibbling at this for a long time now because, as the title says, it was Dozier's picks of the best of the best. I loved it, of course. It was like a master's class in short sci-fi and I found myself letting stories sit with me for long whiles before moving on to another. It was a gift from Kelsey a few years back and it sat on the shelf because I've always been more attracted to novels, shying away from short stories. I think this experience may change that for me. I especially loved B ...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Meaty, meaty stuff. Dozois' annual collection of his choice of the best sf of the year is always the one I look forward to most, the other similar volumes just really keeping me going until the big one appears. Here he's picked three dozen or so of the best stories, all by different authors, from his first twenty volumes; I had previously read around half of them. (Three are joint Hugo/Nebula winners.) I'd originally planned to go through it ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good wide-ranging collection, obviously lots to choose from over two decades. Lots of different styles represented, although interestingly only one in the cyberpunk genre (William Gibson, "The Winter Market"), I'd have thought there would be more. Standouts for me were:Mortimer Gray's History of Death" by Brian Stableford and "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang share a post-modern literary motif that intrigued me; "The Lincoln Train" by Maureen F. McHugh is a great alternate history of post-Civ ...more
Chris March
Mar 02, 2007 Chris March rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
There are a number of gems to be found here. I skipped a bunch of them as well, when I was bored with them. A list of my favorites, so you can skip to the good stuff: "Trinity" by Nancy Kress, "Dinner in Audoghast" by Bruce Sterling, "Roadside Rescue" - Pat Cadigan, "The Pure Product" - John Kessel, "Kirinyaga" - Mike Resnick, "Bears Discover Fire" - Terry Bisson, "Mortimer Gray's History of Death" - Brian Stableford, "The Dead" - Michael Swanwick, "Recording Angel" - Ian McDonald, "Story of You ...more
Maybe I just don't like science fiction anymore. Or maybe it's just the particular type of story chosen by this editor. But most of this stuff was just dire, I'd even go as far to say I'm surprised a lot of it is in print. Funnily enough, the cover art and the stories inside don't match up at all. The material seemed very short on imagination and 'wow' moments.

Among the tedium, the good stories were by Greg Bear, Gene Wolfe, William Gibson, Robert Silverberg, Brian Stableford, Ian McDonald, Jame
Riju Ganguly
May 09, 2012 Riju Ganguly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection indeed compiles some of the best novellas that had been anthologised by Mr Dozois in the previous years as 'Annual Collections'. In terms of subject, style, structure etc. etc., these stories cover the entire gamut. My only regret is that some a few thrillers of more of pieces written by Connie Willis would have made the collection a little more entertaining. Nevertheless, recommended.
Apr 25, 2016 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many good stories, of course, but I long for the day when the best science fiction and fantasy short stories aren't put in a genre book of the best. Clearly, some of our short fiction could make a more general collection of, simply, the best short literature. I know some will only read sci-fi and will not read it, but I believe many people would read the inclusive collection.
Jun 21, 2011 Bhetti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Excellent and massive anthology! I haven't finished it yet, but it's already worth it.

Herein are greats of scifi in both authors and stories.

Some of these stories will resonate with you. Some will be to your taste: a concept, a turn of phrase.

Consistently, these stories will leave you thoughtful.
Short story collections are always a mixed bag, but this one was excellent - some of the writers were the usual suspects (but never the stories!), others were discoveries. It took me almost a year to get through, because I couldn't just gulp down the stories.
"Wang's Carpets", for the sake of which I acquired the volume, is recommended to anyone who find sci-fi readable. (This double distillation is about right for me, speaking personally.) I'll probably use it to mix things up in Logic.
Jan 29, 2016 Annabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One story stands out: Story of Your Life. Sometimes it's easier to communicate with heptapods (aliens with 7-8 appendages) than with a teenage daughter! 10/16th (not so sure about the title, but it was a fraction), a plot straight out of a 60s Twilight Zone scenario, also resonated with me.
Janet Jay
Weren't lying about "best of the best"-- I'd read many before but still enjoyed them, and enough new (to me) were a nice mix. A great book to pick up, from who may not know much about short sci-fi to genre nerds like me.
Sep 01, 2011 Sanuk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read just five stories of this anthology. Two were good. One was average and two other boring. I wanted to read all the stories to have an overview of what had been done in science fiction during that period but I did not like it enough to continue reading more stories.
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Hunting for a Sci Fi story 1 7 Dec 08, 2013 01:21PM  
  • The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 5
  • Year's Best SF 15
  • The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction
  • The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction: Ten Classic Stories from the Birth of Modern Science Fiction Writing
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 2B (The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, #2B)
  • The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories
  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2010
  • Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century
  • The Space Opera Renaissance
  • The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction
  • Timeshares
  • Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space
Gardner Raymond Dozois (born July 23, 1947) is an American science fiction author and editor. He was editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine from 1984 to 2004. He has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, both as an editor and a writer of short fiction.
Wikipedia entry: Gardner R. Dozois
More about Gardner R. Dozois...

Other Books in the Series

The Year's Best Science Fiction (1 - 10 of 34 books)
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighth Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Tenth Annual Collection

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