Dozois, Gardner, ed. 1998. The Year's Best Science Fiction (15th Annual Collection). New York: St. Martin's.
Reviewed 21 June 1998
This is a rather short review of a rather long book (600 pages of stories, plus 75 pages of essential front and back matter). One can get a very interesting view of speculative fiction from either this book or David Hartwell's. I greatly prefer Mr. Dozois' format and inclusiveness; many of the best stories in this collection fall outside the view of speculative fiction Mr. Hartwell espouses in The New York Review of Science Fiction.
One of the most valuable features of this volume is its Summation, 62 pages discussing The Year in Science Fiction. Mr. Dozois does an excellent job of getting his facts straight, with only a couple of extremely minor errors (that I caught, anyway); would that his URLs were so accurate (but, given the delays inherent in the publication process, they were probably all valid at the time the book went to press).
And now, a word about the stories included: The usual suspects. I don't believe this is a sign of nepotism as much as a sign that a few authors continue to produce the majority of the memorable stories in the genre, year in and year out. There's a remarkable range of stories, although there's one area curiously absent (yet again): utopian fiction. I suspect that this is a matter of current editorial taste. Utopian fiction is even harder to sell than thoughtful fantasy, primarily because The Editors (the monolithic Commercial Editor Culture, not individual editors) don't understand it, and don't think their readers will either.
On the basis of this anthology and the table of contents in Mr. Hartwell's, science fiction is in rather a consolidation mode at this time. None of the stories in either anthology are really "new", in the sense of a Dangerous Visions or cyberpunk. Given the market, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
Intellectual Property Rights: © 1998 John Savage. All rights reserved.
You may contact me concerning permissions via email. This copyright notice overrides, negates, and renders void any alleged copyright or license claimed by any person or entity, specifically including but not limited to any claim of right or license by any web hosting service or software provider, except when I have transferred such rights with a signed writing that complies with the requirements for transferring the entire copyright as specified in Title 17 of the United States Code. This includes, but is not limited to, translation or other creation of derivative works, use in advertising or other publicity materials without prior authorization in writing, or any other non-private use that falls outside the fair use exception specified in Title 17 of the United States Code. If you have any question about whether commercial use, publicity or advertising use, or republication in any form satisfies this notice, it probably does not. Violations of intellectual property rights in these pages will be dealt with swiftly using appropriate process of law, probably including a note to your mother telling her that you're a thief.
"The Savage Beast", "Savage Reviews", "Surreality Check", and the dragon-and-book banner are trade and service marks of the website owner. Other marks appearing on these pages belong to third parties, and appear either with permission or as exemplary references.