Recently Read - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection


Has been a while now since I actually read this book and these stories. Long enough that my memory of them has faded somewhat. I meant to write up an index post with maybe some overall thoughts like this approximately at the time. But I've been busy with school and especially I've been lax in cross-posting these from Tumblr to elsewhere; I wanted to wait until I had locations to actually link to with this one. In retrospect I suppose I could have written this sometime in the past and held onto it, but I wouldn't have spared the time to do so while I was so anxious about doing / not doing my assignments for school.

In retrospect, "R & R" might actually have been the finest story in the collection, or nearly so. Even though it didn't wow me so much, neither did the collection over all impress me as much as the previous year's did. Although The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection was exceptionally good, even compared to the others I've read so far.

Others I especially liked according to a quick glance through my notes:

"Fiddling for Waterbuffaloes" was a refreshing change after a stretch of stories centred in North American and Anglophonic perspectives (in some ways, a very, very long stretch), and probably especially with having reached a saturation point of frustrated alienation in Robert Silverberg's immediately preceding story. It was also a lot of fun in its own right, and this too distinguished it from the other stories.

"Into Gold" had some problems, but I rather liked it as a take on the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

"Surviving". Difficult to say exactly was good about it, except in being intriguingly different and capturing my attention. Perhaps in having a spirited attempt to capture being both human and not-human.

"The Gate of Ghosts". Again I struggle to describe in what way exactly, but thinking back on this collection without checking the contents "The Gate of Ghosts" stood out immediately as one to call among the best of the book.

Other stories that provoked a lot of attention from me without necessarily being my favourites: "Covenant of Souls", "The Pure Product", "Tangents", "The Beautiful and the Sublime", "Night Moves", "Down and Out in the Year 2000". I didn't like all of those exactly, but I didn't hate them either, and they all got some strong enough response from me to still be memorable a few months later.

  1. "R & R" by Lucius Shepard
  2. "Hatrack River" by Orson Scott Card
  3. "Strangers On Paradise" by Damon Knight
  4. "Pretty Boy Crossover" by Pat Cadigan
  5. "Against Babylon" by Robert Silverberg
  6. "Fiddling for Waterbuffaloes" by Somtow Sucharitkul AKA S. P. Somtow
  7. "Into Gold" by Tanith Lee
  8. "Sea Change" by Scott Baker
  9. "Covenant of Souls" by Michael Swanwick
  10. "The Pure Product" by John Kessel
  11. "Grave Angels" by Richard Kearns
  12. "Tangents" by Greg Bear
  13. "The Beautiful and the Sublime" by Bruce Sterling
  14. "Tattoos" by Jack Dann
  15. "Night Moves" by Tim Powers
  16. "The Prisoner of Chillon" by James Patrick Kelly
  17. "Chance" by Connie Willis
  18. "And So To Bed" by Harry Turtledove
  19. "Fair Game" by Howard Waldrop
  20. "Video Star" by Walter Jon Williams
  21. "Sallie C." by Neal Barrett Jr.
  22. "Jeff Beck" by Lewis Shiner
  23. "Surviving" by Judith Moffett [bonus: "Her Furry Face" by Leigh Kennedy in The Year's Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection]
  24. "Down and Out in the Year 2000" by Kim Stanley Robinson
  25. "Snake Eyes" by Tom Maddox
  26. "The Gate of Ghosts" by Karen Joy Fowler
  27. "The Winter Market" by William Gibson