The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles from around the web.
Gordon Van Gelder, Ellen Datlow, and Michael Swanwick
Patrick Mahon at SF CROWSNEST recommends Gordon Van Gelder’s THE VERY BEST OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: VOLUME 2.
‘The Very Best Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume Two’ came out in 2014 and is part of a long series of anthologies of classic stories from the pages of ‘The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction’. Volume One, which I reviewed here in 2009, came out to mark the sixtieth year of the magazine’s publication. This one came out five years later to mark another milestone in MF&SF’s existence. It includes twenty-seven stories published across every decade from the 1950s to the present day and authored by such genre luminaries as Robert Heinlein, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Damon Knight and Brian Aldiss, to name but a selection. Most are short stories although the longest, strictly speaking, qualify as novelettes.
I haven’t got the time or space to summarise every single story here. Instead I’ll focus on my personal favourites and highlight a couple of examples that I was less sure about.
My favourite story in the book is Paolo Bacigalupi’s 2004 SF story, ‘The People Of Sand And Slag’. Set on Earth, many decades in our future, when much of the environment has been destroyed by large-scale industrial mining, the story follows the exploits of Chen, Lisa and Jaak, three soldiers who have been heavily genetically engineered so that they can eat polluted mud and regrow destroyed limbs. They are guarding a mine from intruders when they come across something none of them have seen in their entire lives, a real live dog! What should they do with it? As he does in most of his work, Bacigalupi paints a radically different model of humanity’s future here. He then illustrates just how awful it is by inserting an ordinary dog into this Brave New World and letting us see how the humans react to it. The three lead characters are convincing, despite their radical physiology and the way they deal with the dog’s intrusion into what is otherwise a largely inorganic world is enthralling. I found this story and, particularly the ending, thought-provoking and highly effective.
On the other hand, the book contains a broad range of different types of SF and fantasy stories from across the last six decades, many of which will repay repeated readings into the future, I am sure. As Michael Dirda says in his introductory essay, the anthology demonstrates a ‘continuity of excellence’ in the stories that have been published by MF&SF over the years. If you like quality short fiction and you’re looking for an anthology that collects together stories both old and new, I’d warmly recommend that you check out ‘The Very Best Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume Two’.
Thoughts: Look at that adorable angry cat. I’m so happy.
Ellen Datlow wins the 2016 WISB Award for Best Editor (Any Length).
Ellen Datlow is, unsurprisingly, one of the best editors in the field. And her work this year was some of the best. She edited two of my favorite novellas, Usman T. Malik’s The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn and Kelly Robson’s Waters of Versailles, and a number of other exceptional stories for Tor.com. In fact, I have come to love so much of her editing work that I look forward to the next thing she puts out for Tor and eagerly await her wonderful anthologies (heck, even the Best of Horror ones, even though I’m not a big horror guy). We are truly fortunate to have Datlow’s vision in the sf/f field.
For more info on THE VERY BEST OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION VOLUME TWO visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
For more info on NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Nihil
Design by Elizabeth Story