Sunday, August 13, 2006

Year's Best SF 9, David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer editors

Year's Best SF 9
David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

There have been a lot of distractions lately, and they have kept me from reading as much as I usually do. As a result I picked up a collection of short science fiction stories to fill the few gaps I've had in my schedule. I wish it had been worth it.

Maybe my tastes are changing. Maybe I'm just getting older now, and I see things that I didn't previously see. Regardless, if this collection is the best short SF that 2003 produced, I really wonder about the state of that genre.

Most of the so called "hard" SF in here still had elements of the mystical in my opinion, and character development was nonexistent. The plots were uniformly uninteresting as well. In fact, having finished a 500 page paperback, I can only really remember bits from the first and last stories. The first because there was a unique concept presented, though not that well executed. The last because it was an novella - much longer than anything else here - and because it was the one I finished today.

In all, this was a disappointment, but perhaps that is my fault rather than the work itself. Maybe I am expecting too much from short fiction. Or maybe I have changed. Several years ago we let our subscriptions to both Asimov's and F&SF lapse because they just weren't all that interesting anymore. It seems nothing has changed in the years since, at least based on the contents of this volume.