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2004-03-17 6:44 PM
First of the Best
I picked up the first of the annual science fiction "best of the year" anthologies today. Of course, I scanned the table of contents in vain, hoping one of my stories from last year might show up there. Hey, maybe the contract got lost in the mail and the editors just weren't able to get a hold of me. Yeah, that could happen.
Anyway, the book is Science Fiction The Best Of 2003 edited by Karen Haber and Jonathan Strahan. This is the third volume in the series that used to be edited by Robert Silverberg and Haber. If you didn't know, Haber is Silverberg's wife, which makes me wonder if it had been planned all along for Silverberg to lend his famous name to the project for a couple of years to get it started before passing it off to his wife. But I can't complain: Silverberg is one of my long-time favorite authors, so I'd much rather he spend the time writing books than editing another best-of-the year book, and the Haber/Strahan choices look pretty good.
The SF field already has another pair of best-of books still in production: David Hartwell's Year's Best SF and Gardner Dozois' massive The Year's Best Science Fiction series. Those books usually come out respectively in May and June, so the Haber/Strahan volume is apparently rushed to the stands to give it a couple of months of sales without competition. In the past, I've seen remarks to the effect that this volume is not a true "best of the year" because the editors had to turn in the book before the last magazine issues of the year were published. I'm not sure if that's still a valid criticism, as this year's volume contains Stephen Baxter's "The Chop Line," which appeared in the December 2003 issue of Asimov's. Haber also says in the introduction, "We'll be casting our editorial net ever wider each year," which seems to answer another criticism of the series, that it didn't stray too far from the handful of familiar places. Let's hope she really means it. I'm a best-of-the-year junkie, and I buy all three books each year, so I'd rather the books didn't overlap too much with the same stories.
Another book for the growing pile. Watch your step as you pass, and don't knock it over.
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