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The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,030 ratings  ·  170 reviews
Science fiction and fantasy enjoy a long literary tradition, stretching from Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne to Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and William Gibson. InThe Best American Science Fiction and Fantasyaward-winning editor John Joseph Adams delivers a diverse and vibrant collection of stories published in the previous year. Featuring writers with deep ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Mariner Books
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Wil Wheaton
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
Every single story in this collection is fantastic.

It is so rare for a collection that claims to be the "best of" anything to consistently deliver on that promise, and this one has wrecked the curve.

Whether you're already a fan of the genre, or you're looking to explore SF/F for the first time, you will love the stories that Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams have collected in this volume.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-faves
What a wonderful science-ficiton/fantasy short story collection. I discovered a few new authors in addition to great stories. A few favorites:
*"Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead" by Carmen Maria Machado
*"A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i" by Alaya Dawn Johnson
*"Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology" by Theodora Goss
*"Windows" by Susan Palwick
*"The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever" by Daniel H. Wilson
*"Skullpocket" by Nathan Ballingrud
*"The Relive Box" by T.C.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
A lot of grim dystopia here, some wonderful apocalyptastic stuff, especially "The Empties" by Jess Row, which was brilliant. Probably the best of the bunch are "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i," which I read twice, and "The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever." I'm sad to say how very disappointed I was in "How the Marquis Got His Coat Back," some shockingly bad stuff from Neil Gaiman, so I won't dwell on it for too long. And I'm so happy that I read the Contributor's Notes, wherein I learned ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really like the way Adams compiled this: making a long list and then submitting those stories blind to Joe Hill to choose from. Lots of good stuff, and several new-to-me authors.

Library copy
Ben Loory
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
a lot of good stories in this! my favorites were "We Are the Cloud" by Sam Miller, "The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever" by Daniel Wilson, and (especially!) this amazing story called "The Thing About Shapes to Come," by Adam-Troy Castro... which you can read over at Lightspeed Magazine, where it first appeared, if you like:

such a great story! wish i wrote it.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
This book was a bit of a disappointment to me, as a "best" collection. Everything was well-written, but many of the stories were too, shall I say literary?, for my taste. Meaning, a bit vague, disconnected emotionally, cerebral in a self-referential way, and without a clear resolution. Some rose above the others. I especially liked the stories by Cat Rambo, Jo Walton, Neil Gaiman (of course), Sam Miller, and A. Merc Rustad. Three and a half stars overall.
Marita Arvaniti
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was without a doubt one of the best short story collections I've read, and easily deserves its 5 star rating from me. But because memory is a fickle mistress and i have stopped trusting it I'm going to review each story separately as a note to my future self who cant remember exactly what they were about.
How to Get Back to the Forest - Sofia Samatar : 4 stars. "You have to puke it up." A raw, haunting story about girls and their bodies, controlled and uncontrollable and as Sofia Samatar
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Because reading Best Of compilations two years later is how I roll.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh boy! You know I love science fiction, and I'm a fan of Star Trek, and Isamov, and even Andy Weir (who wrote the Martian). And as an attempt to expand my science fiction literary horizons, I've been trying to get into some writers (old and new) to try and figure out what's out there.

Octavia's Brood got a lot of attention earlier this year for being a collection of speculative fiction short stories written by writers with a more leftist disposition. That book was a disappointment to say the
Peter Aronson
This collection is less than the sum of its parts. It overwhelming contains, dark, humorless, solemn, earnest stories, and the uniformity of tone drags it down. Now, this is supposed to be the years best, and maybe the best stories are all almost "grimdark", but I doubt it. I think the editors have fallen into the trap that Robertson Davies warns of, where they think to be serious, a story must be solemn. But life is no more consistently grim than it is consistently happy.

As for the stories,
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've actually been working on reading this one since January, and you know, I loved about 90% of the stories in this. That's really saying something -- I tend to not be much of a fan of short stories -- but the story curation on this one was superb.
Fiction State Of Mind
A very solid collection of stories, many of them female writers. I hope there are more ofbyhese collections going forward.
Kathy Davie
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
An anthology of twenty short stories in the science fiction-fantasy genre. I gotta confess that I stopped after 13 stories. It was too depressing.

The foreword is interesting as Adams breaks down the history of science fiction/fantasy.

The Series
"How the Marquis Got His Coat Back" (London Below, The World of Neverwhere, 1.5)

The Stories
Sofia Samatar’s " How to Get Back to the Forest " was disgusting. A nutjob girl believes there’s some kind of bug that’s put in you and that it has to be puked up.

Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A book with several exceptional stories, such as "Windows"(my favorite), "The Thing About Shapes to Come", "The Blue Afternoon that Lasted Forever"(my other favorite), "Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead" and "The Relive Box" (which seems almost suspiciously similar to one of my favorite Black Mirror episodes from 2011: "The Entire History of You.")

The collection is somewhat marred however by some fairly poor or just outright bad/ boring selections like Neil Gaiman's rather
Jonathan Maas
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pure Brilliance from John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill

I love anthologies - I love discovering new authors and tales that I never would have found otherwise.

This one, like the title suggests, is the best of the best - of the best. Adams acts as a friend who reads every New Yorker issue, and every prominent and semi-prominent SF/F magazine out there, and delivers the cream of the crop to you - the reader.

And this one has some cream.

I got this originally because I was looking for more Nathan
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
"How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps," A. Merc Rustad
"Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead," Carmen María Machado
"We Are the Cloud," Sam J. Miller
"The Bad Graft," Karen Russell
Peter Melancon
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not as good as I expected there were a few stories I enjoyed and some are very very strange, the stories that stand out are: Ogres of East Africa, Cimmeria: From the journal of Imaginary Anthropology, How the Marquis got his coat back, Skull Pocket, The Thing about Shapes to Come and the Empties.
John Adkins
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sff-home, 2017
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015
I was very excited to read this anthology as I am a huge fan of John Joseph Adams’ theme anthologies such as The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Federations, and Help Fund My Robot Army!!! Unfortunately, I did not find this collection as enjoyable as his other work. While I found several of the selections to be outstanding I was disappointed in many others. Overall the twenty stories in the anthology averaged a bit over 3.5 on my
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, owned
I was fortunate to be chosen by Houghton Miffin Harcourt to be the recipient of their 2015 Best American Series via an Instagram giveaway. To say that I am thrilled to receive the entire set of this series is an understatement; I’m over the moon ecstatic is more like it.

This highly regarded series is an annual compilation of the best fiction and non-fiction published in the previous year. The set includes:

The Best American Essays
The Best American Short Stories
The Best American Mystery Stories
Maggie Gordon
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy is a new comer to the "Best of" releases this year, and it was put together by one of my favourite editors, John Joseph Adams. The selections tend towards literary, but they were all quite exceptional.

A selection of my favourites included:

1. Each to Each by Seanan McGuire: An exploration in the changing identity and humanity of women turned into military mermaids. I reviewed this story separately on Goodreads, and it's a creative and contemplative
Apr 03, 2016 added it
Recommended to Chris by: Carmen
Shelves: sff
Rather than review the individual stories, most of them excellent if you like some litfic in your SFF (as I do), a brief rant.

There were two or three stories, mostly toward the end, where I either finished them or got a few pages in and thought, "This isn't really even SF." What I meant, I realized, was that they lacked sensawunda. They had SFnal settings and themes, but my affective response was mundane. I felt the same way about Ex Machina, a pretty good three-hander neo-noir that, for me,
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, owned-books
This is an extremely good collection. The generic title, franchise character of the series and totally unintenteresting blurb description, and John Joseph Adams questionable past editing history are totally misleading—this is one of the best collection of speculative fictions I've ever come across. It's largely women, feminists, often queer, and nearly every story is absolutely brilliant. Apparently 2015 was a marvelous year for speculative fiction, and the editor, Joe Hill, is worth following. ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
There's plenty of quality writing in here, but Christ, it's all so damn somber. I thought 19 different authors would have produced a little more variety in tone.

Also, I don't want to doubt Joe Hill (whose work I really enjoy), but I find it hard to believe that Neil Gaiman's story made it into this collection by blind chance. He's the most famous author in this book, and his story is about a character from one of his previous novels, which was itself a companion piece to a TV miniseries. Come
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, if you judge 2015 by the stories in this book, it was a big "D." Because pretty much all of these stories are about depression, death, or destruction. I think there were like 2 of the 20 that would not fit in that "D" category.
A few of them are pretty good - I particularly liked Each to Each and Sleeper. But overall, I would not rate most of these as "best," and I found it odd that the book as a whole reflected only such dark themes.
Maybe 2015 was just a really rough year?
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like most collections this is a little uneven, but when it is good it is VERY VERY good, and when it is bad it is still readable.

As always, John Joseph Adams puts together a quality product...haven't read enough others in this vein to see if Hill adds his own flair, but like him anyway.

A rather lackluster collection of stories. None stood out, though none were unreadable. If you have a favorite author among the collected, you'll probably like their entry; otherwise, I didn't find anyone I'd seek out to read more of their work.
Would have been five stars but there was a few stories that I couldn't really get into. The rest however were great. :D
Sam Kyle
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are some seriously talented writers feauted in this collection. If you're looking for original, diverse sci-fi/fantasy stories, check it out!

Better than most anthologies, but it's still not worth buying if you don't like any of the authors. Full review to come (maybe).
"How to Get Back to the Forest," by Sofia Samatar (2015): 8
- another small town, in the vein of her story in the 2016 collection. So, I'm starting to get her style down: slight, well told stories, that nonetheless aim for something much grander even in their smallness, even if The focus remains squarely on the small scene or the domestic scene or the emotional scene. That can become tedious or toying, or kind of like an annoying puzzle, in which you're just trying to guess at the bigger picture
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John Joseph Adams is the series editor of BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. He is also the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, such as ROBOT UPRISINGS, DEAD MAN'S HAND, BRAVE NEW WORLDS,WASTELANDS, and THE LIVING DEAD. Recent and forthcoming books include WHAT THE #@&% IS THAT?, OPERATION ARCANA, PRESS START TO PLAY, LOOSED UPON THE WORLD, and THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH ...more
“How to tell your pretend-boyfriend and his real boyfriend that your internal processors are failing:

1. The biological term is depression, but you don't have an official diagnostic (diagnosis) and it's a hard word to say. It feels heavy and stings your mouth. Like when you tried to eat a battery when you were small and your parents got upset.
2. Instead, you try to hide the feeling. But the dark stain has already spilled across your hardwiring and clogged your processor. You don't have access to any working help files to fix this. Tech support is unavailable for your model. (No extended warranty exists.)
3. Pretend the reason you have no energy is because you're sick with a generic bug.
4. You have time to sleep. Your job is canceling out many of your functions; robots can perform cleaning and maintenance in hotels for much better wage investment, and since you are not (yet) a robot, you know you will be replaced soon.
5. The literal translation of the word depression: you are broken and devalued and have no further use.
6. No one refurbishes broken robots.
7. Please self-terminate.”
“One of the extraordinary adaptive powers of our species is its ability to transmute a stray encounter into a first chapter.” 2 likes
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