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The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 (The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  251 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
“This volume showcases the nuanced, playful, ever-expanding definitions of the genre and celebrates its current renaissance.” —Washington Post

Science fiction and fantasy can encompass so much, from far-future deep-space sagas to quiet contemporary tales to unreal kingdoms and beasts. But what the best of these stories do is the same across the genres—they illuminate the w
Paperback, 354 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Mariner Books
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Peter Tillman
Progress report:
The selection process: the series editor, John Joseph Adams, picks the 80 SF/F stories he thinks are the best published in 2016. The guest editor, Charles Yu, then picks his favorite 20 from the 80: 10 SF stories, and 10 fantasies. Many of the stories are also available online.

Opens with with the most entertaining anthology Introduction I can recall, by guest editor Charles Yu. Susan, an anthropologist from another dimension, tries to
Joe Crowe
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anthologies are tough to sit through, sometimes, especially those that proclaim stories as "best." Such terminology sounds an alarm for pretty much anyone, challenging readers to say, "I'll be the judge of that."

In this case, editors Charles Yu and John Joseph Adams pretty much nail it.

Stories here are by Dale Bailey, Peter S. Beagle, N.K. Jemisin, Helena Bell, Genevieve Valentine, Alice Sola Kim, and over a dozen more. All are different shades of science fiction, and worth your eyeballs.

My f
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best installment of BASFF so far - and not just because last year was some kind of banner year for SFF (although I guess maybe it was), but because Charles Yu brought a truly different glance to the editing. No disrespect to Joe Hill or Karen Joy Fowler, authors I love and admire, but it was nice to have a non-white author, to have an author who writes deep within the genres in question, and the results show: I recognized maybe five or six of the authors on this year's list and nearly every ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best of the three collections of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've read each one cover to cover, and taught each one in my classes...but this is the most enjoyable from a reader's perspective (with the most diversity), and also the most rewarding as a teacher for all the big ideas and clever wordplay in the stories. It ranges from stories of teenage aliens and werewolves to satirical suburban dystopias, to timeless Chinese fairy tales. There were only a few stori ...more
Grey Thornberry
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: escapist-reads
I'm leaving a slightly unfair review because in truth I didn't finish this collection. Maybe I missed the best stories, but the ones I did read just felt 'soft'. There were no grand concepts, no leaps of imagination, no unforgettable characters - in short, nothing that draws me to Science Fiction/Fantasy in the first place.
I was left with the impression that the editor intentionally selected stories that were as tepid as possible, for whatever reason. I hope that's true, and it wasn't just becau
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, fantasy
I have a bit of a snobbery problem when it comes to books, and I've tended to turn my nose up at genre fiction. This year in particular, I've been trying to have more of an open mind about it and have read a fair bit of science fiction on my own alongside fantasy for the family read-aloud. I'm a sucker for "Best American" anthologies (I picked up two others when I bought this one recently) and this seemed like a good one to expose myself to a broader range of the genre without a huge investment ...more
Grady McCallie
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The stories in this collection, by and large, display much better writing than other science fiction or fantasy anthologies I’ve read in the last year. A bunch of the stories are metaphors or fables, with alien identity standing in for racial otherness in explorations of social dynamics. At least half are laced with some form of humor, which is also a nice change from some other anthologies. Not all of the stories work, but even those that fall short are smart and interesting experiments. Favori ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
I felt much the same about this book as about the 2015 collection, so am repeating my review:

"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."
Vanessa Puga
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probablemente la antología que más me ha gustado hasta el momento. Los formatos, las historias, desborda fantasía. Excelente selección. No puedo esperar a que salga la siguiente :)
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found Charles Yu’s metafiction introduction to this anthology self-indulgent and digressive, so I went into the selection with lower expectations than the ones for the previous two years. But I left thinking he'd probably chosen the strongest set of stories of the three anthologies available so far.

First let me get the ones I don’t give a damn about out of the way: “Smear,” is about a guy plugged into a spaceship who wakes from long-spaceflight stasis, sees a random smear he can’t clean away,
Raima Larter
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read last year's edition of this anthology and was disappointed, but thought I'd give it another chance by looking at the 2017 issue. There were a couple of good stories in this but, for the most part, I was puzzled about why the editors selected the stories they included.

As usual, there's very little in the way of true scifi in this, and I was disappointed that some of the more scifi-like pieces actually seemed to be mocking the genre, such as the final story, "The Venus Effect" and the two
I don't typically read short story anthologies, but the colourful cover of this intrigued me and I had a hankering to try out some new authors. I noticed this collection had a few authors I've read and enjoyed before (Catherynne M. Valente, Leigh Bardugo, N.K. Jemisin, etc.) as well, so I figured there were enough stories I was very likely to enjoy alongside the new-to-me authors.

First off, I want to applaud this collection for its diversity. Not only are there a number of women, people of colou
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very 2.5.

It would be easy to say "I saw where they were going, but the execution just didn't work", or "The agenda was too painfully obvious to have any impact" and "I can either do suspension of disbelief for the sake of an idea, or take the matter seriously to its inevitable conclusion, but not both at the same time".

It worries me that I could say all of these about most of the stories in this collection, and I can't disentangle the immediate judgement from feelings about the topics explored,
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I loved one of the short stories in this collection and found the rest to be experimental, depressing, or just angry. I get including some stories like those, but to have the majority of the anthology to run that way just seemed like overkill. If this is truly what is popular or considered good in scifi and fantasy, then I need a new genre to read and write.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
A couple of good stories but overall just did not float my particular boat.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spec-fic
I had a great time with this book and I think reading it slowly like this was really nice--20 stories, spread out nicely without ever getting too far away from me. I think the only way to give an accurate impression of the book is to talk about each story individually grouped by my favorites, the middle and my least favorites (although all of the stories are strong).

I'll start with my least favorite stories

"Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Will You Do?": nice premise and I think it was probably a sati
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail - 4* - Great story about teenage romance. Falls off at the end.

Teenagers from Outer Space - 3* - Fine but nothing special. Well written but don’t totally understand the rapturous praise.

I’ve Come to Marry the Princess - 4* - Surreal and funny story about forgotten things. Little bit of a gut punch at the end.

Everyone From Themis Sends Letters Home - 5* - Brilliant. Brains in vats, epistolary format, prison industrial complex, corporate espionage, the works.

The Witch of
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 by John Joseph Adams is an anthology of short stories that embraces all varieties of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It is an interesting and diverse compilation.

It opens with Head, Scales, Tongue and Tail by Leigh Bardugo a story about a young girl who falls in love with a boy that is not really human. It was probably my favorite and set my expectations high for this anthology. Another favorite of mine was Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home by Genevi
Douglas Gorney
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
With Charles Yu as editor, given how much I loved "How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe," I expected more from this collection. I can only assume Yu did with the best with the cards he was dealt. Either that or he's not nearly as good at curating as he is at writing—which isn't likely, so you wonder whether young writers are just getting overwhelmed by social media and television, or if all the Big Ideas have been used up.

I found most of the stories here uninteresting. Rather thin
Jul 14, 2018 is currently reading it
"Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail" by Leigh Bardugo-3.5/5

Lake monsters and young love.

"Teenagers From Outer Space" by Dale Bailey-3/5

Who's the real enemy? The aliens, or the sexually frustrated 1950s kids?

"I've Come To Marry the Princess" by Helena Bell-3.5/5

Third story in a row about youngins. Another good one, though.

"Everyone From Themis Sends Letters Home" by Genevieve Valentine-3.5/5

What better way to get objective results than to not tell the subjects they're part of an experiment?

"Best of the Year" anthologies are hard to review. Do you compare the stories to all the other stories of that type published during that year? Of course not; if you had read them all, you'd be publishing your own anthology. Should every story in the book at least be excellent? Sure, if your taste precisely agrees with that of the editor. Should you love every story? Again, only if you and the editor have matching tastes. Well, should you at least hope to enjoy most of them and, maybe, love some ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think I started this with more than a little suspicion as hesitation. I feel like I've generally approached science-fiction and fantasy from two directions; becoming wedded to particular authors with particular styles and devouring most of their oeuvre. But after being gifted this over the holidays I decided to try something different, and I'm certainly grateful.

I think I'd mostly thought of the science-fiction and fantasy I'd read as escapist and only incidentally interesting literarily or wi
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I saw that Charles Yu was the guest editor this year and had to grab this. His foreword was one of the highlights of the book; in lieu of a traditional introduction, he constructed a fourth-wall-breaking, interdimensional script of a commentary on the importance of sci-fi and fantasy writing when the world is going to shit - when the very nature of truth and narrative and agreed-upon reality is crumbling around us.

The two Narnia-nod stories ('Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass' and 'This
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, stories
HELLO JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS!!! Don't read reviews on Goodreads! That's rule #1! Teasing, of course. The involvement of the SF/F community is one of the best things about it. Also best? Yu's Introduction to this. So good!

Faves here: Genevieve Valentine - Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home (incredible VR prison complex epistolary whoa!)
Debbie Urbanski - When They Came to Us (Group thought Monsters on Maple Street but with aliens --other aliens--it's about aliens)
Catherynne M. Valente - The Futur
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bree Taylor
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fantasy, dystopian
I can't in good conscience give a collection of short stories a 5 star review. Some of the stories held my interest and I couldn't put it down and wanted more from the story. Others I slogged through because they were too science-fictiony.

But, all in all, this was a fabulous compendium of fiction. I couldn't even TELL you which one was my favorite! I read science fiction that I enjoyed... and fantasy that I didn't.

Pick it up. Read it. Because the beauty of short stories is that you can put the
Conor McAvoy
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection of stories. I enjoyed pretty much all of them. Some of my favorites: “Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home”, “The Witch of Orion Waste and the Boy Knight”, “The Story of Kao Yu”, “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0”, and “The Venus Effect”.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deviated from the "Best American" collections to read a sci-fi / fantasy specific one. This was an interesting collection of material - some of the allegories were heavy-handed. There were tales critiquing a bureaucratic medical system, telling of aliens trying to blend in, highlighting the likely end for black youth, and describing media terrorism.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
"The Venus Effect," Joseph Allen Hill
"Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0," Caroline M. Yoachim
"On the Fringes of the Fractal," Greg van Eekhout
"Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do?," Nick Wolven
"I Was a Teenage Werewolf," Dale Bailey
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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 (cons ...more
More about John Joseph Adams

Other books in the series

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (4 books)
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2016
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018

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“The experience of living is a creative act, the personal construction of meaning for the individual, and death is the final return to meaninglessness. Thus, the act of killing is the ultimate abnegation of the human experience, a submission to the chaos and violence of the natural world. To kill, we must either admit the futility of our own life or deny the significance of the victim’s.” 0 likes
“St. Oscar, keep your mighty lid closed over me. Look grouchily but kindly upon me and protect me as I travel through the infinite trashcan of your world. Show me the beautiful usefulness of your Blessed Rubbish. Let me not be Taken Out before I find my destiny.” 0 likes
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