As most of you may know, I have a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy. I love that these other worlds allow us to explore the issues and prejudices of our time within a fictional framework. Even when the setting is dystopian, it offers a scenery within which we can strive to find solutions to the problems of today. Where literary fiction serves as a description and exploration of the issues at hand, genre fiction, especially speculative fiction, is an exercise in problem solving. We may never find all the answers, but the turning over of questions in the mind is a worthy exercise in itself.
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 10 is an anthology of tales that amaze, excite and kindle thought. The line-up of featured authors is impressive, and they do not disappoint. Compared to previous volumes, the current volume falls a bit short, but it is still very enjoyable.
Gaiman’s Baskervillesque Black Dog, is a dark tale that calls up some ancient, pre-historic fears. A Murmuration, by Alastair Reynolds is just as scary. Waters of Versailles by Kelly Robson is a strangely tactile experience. Dancy vs the Pterosaur by Caitlin R Kiernan is a scaffold to the evolution vs creationism debate that leaves one wanting more.
One of my favourite stories from the collection is Elizabeth Bear’s The Heart’s Filthy Lesson, which is a truly exciting adventure. Greg Bear’s The Machine Starts is a tangled thread that the reader will enjoy unraveling. Alyssa Wong’s Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers is a captivating, edge of the seat experience. The Lily and the Horn is another favourite story set in a fictional world of lords and ladies out to battle.
The story I loved the most comes towards the end of the anthology–Usman T Malik’s The Pauper Prince and The Eucalyptus Jinn, which evokes the sights and sounds of Lahore in a manner reminiscent of the Thousand and One Nights.
The above mentioned are just a handful of my favourites from amongst many good tales. Travel well through these varied worlds, adventurous reader!
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 10, published by Rebellion, is forthcoming on May 17th 2016.
FTC disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.