I began this year as I begin most years, reading science fiction. So when Tor Books announced they were releasing a compilation of 2013’s best science fiction short stories, I was thrilled. “YEAR’S BEST SF 18″ was edited by the critically acclaimed, award-winning editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell. In his collection he includes astonishing stories from some of the genre’s most respected names as well as exciting new writers to watch.
“Year’s Best SF 18” has some amazing writers including Michael Swanwick, Paul Cornell, Bruce Sterling, Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, C. S. Friedman, Gene Wolf, and many more.
I can safely say that there is not one short story in the collection that is better than any others. Each one is uniquely interesting reflecting the authors who wrote them.
Starting off the collection is “Old Paint” which takes you into a future where cars drive themselves while being fully equipped with artificial intelligence. The world portrayed by Megan Lindholm is getting closer to reality everyday as cars become more complex and easier to manage. Lindholm reminds us how easy it is become attached to the technology in our lives and then takes it a step further by giving the technology a mind of its own. Don’t worry though because even artificial intelligent cars get a happy ending.
In case you are more of a fan of dystopian futures with an underground resistance and uprising, “Prayer” by Robert Reed might be more your speed. We see a future where weapons can talk to their owners and adolescents are another soldier in the fight. The brilliance of this short story is that sometimes we forget that there are not always just two sides to a war.
My science fiction love always lays with time travel and through out the entire compilation, no story quiet affected me like “The Ghosts of Christmas” by Paul Cornell (you might remember his name as one of the writers of “Doctor Who”.) The story follows a young woman about to become a mother. At her day job, her and her team have almost perfected time travel via an electronic crown they wear on their head. However, there is one catch, you can only travel to the same day every year of the future. Against her better judgement, she uses the crown to visit her future Christmases to see if she becomes a good mother. After viewing love, heartbreak, depression, pain, and redemption, she takes the crown off a final time knowing she still has all the awful things to live through a head of her. After reading the story, it remains one of the more powerful short stories I have ever read.
This book is also perfect on the go. Only have time for a little bit of reading, get a whole story rather than stopping in the middle of something.
If you need your science fiction fix fulfilled, I highly recommend this compilation, “Year’s Best SF 18.” For a full range of science fiction variety, you can’t go wrong. Hartwell has done a fantastic job of picking some truly outstanding short stories in the world of science fiction. Pick it up from Tor Books, you won’t regret it.