Book Reviews of The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twelfth Annual Collection

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twelfth Annual Collection
The Year's Best Science Fiction Twelfth Annual Collection
Author: Gardner Dozois (Editor)
ISBN-13: 9780312132224
ISBN-10: 0312132220
Publication Date: 7/1995
Pages: 695
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 5

4.2 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Book Type: Hardcover
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Helpful Score: 1
Dozois's Year's Best, like any successful representative of a large constituency, sometimes suffers from blandness and inconsistency. As usual, it's oversized?23 stories, nearly 600 pages?and includes a variety of types of SF as well as near-horror, fantasy and humor. Five of the stories are final nominees for Nebulas, and two new "Hainish" stories by Ursula LeGuin were nominated for Tiptree Awards; "The Matter of Segrri" won. No story here is less than competent and professional; but, with a few exceptions, there is a voiceless sameness in the writing, practically a house style, that over so many pages grows tedious. (Nearly half the stories, by page count, come from the Dozois-edited Asimov's Science Fiction.) A number are flawed ("hard" SF stories about "aliens" that think just like humans) or unremarkable, but these are outweighed by many fine pieces and by standouts such as LeGuin's "Forgiveness Day," perhaps the best story in the book; Eliot Fintushel's "New Wave"-like "Ylem"; William Sanders's "Going After Old Man Alabama" and Terry Bisson's "The Hole in the Hole," both of which are winning and funny; Katherine Kerr's chilling "Asylum"; and Michael Bishop's grand and humane "Cri de Coeur." Dozois's intelligently and ably put-together anthology does its stated job as well as any one book or editor could. Even with competition, it would still be the best of the Best.