As I have said before, I am wary of anthologies - I worry about changes in quality and tonal whiplash between stories in themed multi-author collections. However, when I saw that Saga Press was launching a new series of the year’s best science fiction anthologies called The Year’s Best Science Fiction vol 1 edited by Jonathan Strahan with the best of 2019’s short fiction, I figured it would be a good bet and requested an eARC from NetGalley. I wasn’t wrong! This collection is full of excellent stories. Are they necessarily what I would have picked personally? No, but I can’t argue that there is a dud in the bunch. It contains many of this year’s Hugo nominees, like “As the Last I May Know” by S. L. Huang and “A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde. (Fun fact - I met Fran Wilde at NYCC a few years ago and she made my day by complimenting me on the Wonder Twins tshirt I was wearing.) Among my favorites are Hugo nominee “Emergency Skin” by N. K. Jemisin. This story was a fascinating, surprising take on a post-Apocalyptic earth with a very unreliable second person narrator. So much fun! I also loved “The Bookstore at the End of America” by Charlie Jane Anders, which was full of warmth and heart and really made me miss going to bookstores during this pandemic. Probably my favorite story from the entire collection is “I (28M) created a deepfake girlfriend and now 000 my parents think we’re getting married” by Fonda Lee. Written in an incredibly realistic style of a series of internet posts, it is a cheeky yet introspective look at technology and relationships in the digital age. A great anthology all round.
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