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Science Fiction: The Best Of The Year, 2006 Edition Audio CD – Audiobook, Nov 14 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Horton's elegiac anthology of 15 mostly hard SF stories illuminates a broad spectrum of grief over love thwarted through time, space, human frailty or alien intervention, from the gentle melancholy of Michael Swanwick's "Triceratops Summer," which posits tame Technicolored time-warped dinosaurs in Vermont, to newcomer Leah Bobet's "Bliss," an agonizing riff on near-future drug addiction. Several selections address current political-social issues, like Mary Rosenblum's "Search Engine," which extrapolates today's technology to chilling, Big Brotherly results. The long closing story, Alastair Reynolds's "Understanding Space and Time," however, presents a ray of cosmic hope: the sole survivor of a plague that decimated humanity is rescued and healed by intergalactic entities and lives out millennia while seeking ultimate truths, returning to see mankind regenerated. This anthology reflects the concerns of the genre today—and the apparent inability of our society to do anything about them. Note that two of the same stories appear in a rival volume, Science Fiction: The Very Best of 2005, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Reviews, July 24). (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Horton's fine showcase ranges from Michael Swanwick's "Triceratops Summer," in which an "incident" leads to a herd of triceratops invading Vermont during the course of a summer, to Alastair Reynolds' "Understanding Space and Time," in which the last human in the universe undertakes a quest for enlightenment. Other impressive pieces include Robert Reed's "Finished," with its immortality treatment that fixes one in the mental state one is in when treated; James Patrick Kelly's "The Edge of Nowhere," about a genuine Nowhere and what happens there; and strong stories from such newer names as Susan Palwick ("The Fate of Mice," in which a superintelligent mouse's life changes forever) and Daniel Kaysen ("The Jenna Set," in which Palavatar, a telephone answering service, births a new theory of social relationships). The selection also constitutes an interesting overview of recent trends in the genre. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's a good collection, but the publisher should have been more careful.
Science Fiction: The Best of the Year 2006 edition is perhaps a great collection of everything Sci-Fi. But much of it is what the editors and critics name it page fillers.
All right, there are a few of these Page-Fillers but some of these stories are great. This is a huge accomplishment for Audio-realms and there is no reason why they partnership with Wild-side Press with the huge array of sci-fi stories. Audio Realms usually has contracts with Horror including the large collection of The Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft all read by Wayne June and a few Fantasy tales.
Of course there are rumors that the operators of Audio-realms is planning to do another Science fiction collection in a later date, perhaps 2007 edition or 2008 edition will be put in the aisles of Amazon in the future. This has 10 CDs with some of the best narrators of the field. Readers such as Audio Realms veteran Brian Holsopple, famous Nature and other documentary narrator Bob Souer to Stephanie Riggio and Kitzie Stern.
Recorded in state-of-the-art sound system.
Triceratops Summer by Michael Swanwick: Amazing Story
The Edge of Nowhere by James Patrick Kelly: Weird, Tragic and A Total Art for the abstract telling of the story.
Bliss by Leah Bobet
The Inn at Mount Either by James van Pelt: A Great Story
The Jenna Set by Daniel Kaysen
Understanding Time and Space by Alastair Reynolds
Heartwired by Joe Haldeman
The Fate of Mice by Susan Palwick
The Policeman's Daughter by Wil McCarthy
Search Engine by Mary Rosenblum
THE WEIRD or just A PAGE-FILLER:
Bank Run by Tom Purdom: Note, there is no intro of the Title of the story or the Arthur.
A Coffee Cup/Alien Invasion Story by Douglas Lain
The King of Where-I-Go by Howard Waldrop
Finished by Robert Reed
You, by Anonymous by Stephen Leigh
Now you might like some of the Ok's or The Weird and just Page-Fillers. But I would press you that you might get Science Fiction album that all of the CDs in it are completely blank. We had a few reports of customers and sci-fi fans getting the bad copies. Keep the receipt and not order a second, put a letter in the return box and explain the problem so the people of Amazon would have to shipped it to Audio Realms.
Okanoggan Falls - aliens invade Wisconsin and need what's underground. The relationship between a local woman and the alien leader makes this rather unusual. I'm not sure exactly why I liked this one quite a bit.
The Cartesian Theater - philosophical considerations about duplicate life and definition of humanity and the sould, similar in principle to AI debates, with a bit of mystery thrown in.
Incarnation Day - virtual children as a substitute for real, only they can become real with minds of their own. I liked how the virtual children can be purged from the system via reboot if the grownups want to get rid of them.
Exit Before Saving - morphing technology gets a spin here as a tool of espionage, with a little dangerous fun on the side, and a risk of being overtaken by a replacement technology that could make this obsolete. As with some of the other stories, this one could have been expanded.
Life on the Preservation - a piece of Earth is preserved in an endless cycle of repetition for interplanetary tourists to observe. Kylie is sent on a special mission and decides, hey, life here was pretty good. Pretty neat story that could have been better.
A Billion Eves - a novella about the propagation of humanity through a clever "ripper" technology that transports a group instantly to another world, from which the process expands indefinitely. With religious overtones and an ecological perspective. In fact, it has a bit of a jumble of ideas thrown together, creative enough to sustain interest.
Overall, three to four stars, rounded down for the appalling error in the cover and some sloppy editing.
My favorite three stories are described below. They all focus on love--platonic, parental and romantic--in unusual circumstances. They aren't really "love stories." But each has something to teach us about the human heart--loosely speaking.
Carolyn Ives Gilman's "Okanoggan Falls" is set on a future Earth after an alien invasion and occupation. When an alien military unit is assigned to relocate a Wisconsin town, their plans are complicated by the alien commander's very personal reaction to the mayor's wife.
Walter Jon Williams' "Incarnation Day" explores a future society in which children are raised as virtual software and embodied only when they become adults. As software with no legal status as human beings, children can simply be erased if their "bugs" cannot be reprogrammed. Or for any other reason that seems good to their parents.
In Jack Skillingstead's "Life on the Preservation" we venture into a running model of Seattle that has been captured by alien technology and replays the same day over and over for the benefit of tourists, anthropologists, and... aliens. A woman trapped there must escape before the cycle resets or become part of it forever. Along with the wonderful man she has just met.
I am probably spoiled by the numerous Gardner Dozois and David Hartwell anthologies I have read. In enjoyed the stories in this book, but the collection as a whole is not as good as I expected. I read too many "just okay" stories, found the introductory review of science fiction in 2006 cursory, and had to hunt for additional information about the authors in an endnote section. There was little value added to the stories themselves.
Check this one out of the library and read selectively from it. Then return it on time and without further commitment.
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