Year's Best SF 10

edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
Reviewed date: 2005 Aug 30
495 pages
cover art

The best science fiction stories of 2004. This year was a rich year for science fiction and I recommend this collection.

  • Sergeant Chip, by Bradley Denton - Genetically engineered smart dog designed for war.
  • First Commandment, by Gregory Benford - Scientists work on a project to categorize every living species, but are opposed by religious nuts who think that completing the project will prompt God to end the world.
  • Burning Day, by Glenn Grant - Terrorist murders a family of cogents (robot people.)
  • Scout's Honor, by Terry Bisson - Autistic scientist gets a strange series of email from a scientist who has gone back in time.
  • Venus Flowers at Night, by Pamela Sargent - Karim al-Anwar, ambassador to a slowly-recovering America, dreams that mankind may one day terraform and colonize Venus.
  • Pulp Cover, by Gene Wolfe - Mariel East marries Jack Pendleton and disappears; it turns out Jack Pendleton never existed.
  • The Algorithms for Love, by Ken Liu - AI engineer goes insane wondering if human consciousness is merely clever programming.
  • Glinky, by Ray Vukcevich - The indefinable Glinky is a link between parallel universes.
  • Red City, by Janeen Webb - A scientist and his insufferable wife search for a legendary time loop in India.
  • Act of God, by Jack McDevitt - Researchers create parallel universes and "seed" them with a modified version of the Ten Commandments.
  • Wealth, by Robert Reed - An AI buys Mars.
  • Mastermindless, by Matthew Hughes - Private investigator Hapthorn wakes up one day and finds himself 1) stupid, 2) poor, and 3) ugly. Furthermore, he is not the only one so afflicted.
  • Time, as It Evaporates, by Jean-Claude Dunyach - Incomprehensible drivel about a Muslim city amid a world of drifting time tides and eddies.
  • The Battle of York, by James Stoddard - An American legend. Stoddard mixes up all sorts of American symbols to create an amalgam that might be told as a tale after the nuclear apocalypse. It's a neat idea, but the novelty wears off long before Stoddard wraps up the story. It would be perfect at half the length.
  • Loosestrife, by Liz Williams - In a world where infertility is common, mentally slow Aud has a baby that she keeps secret from all but her closest friend.
  • The Dark Side of Town, by James Patrick Kelly - Talisha discovers her husband's secret stash of mechdream pills: pills that let you live a virtual life of ultimate ecstasy.
  • Invisible Kingdoms, by Steven Utley - Mr. Cahill, inventor, illegally steals biological samples from the Paleozoic.
  • The Cascade, by Sean McMullen - Man gets caught up in plot to make the first mission to Mars a one-way colonization mission.
  • Pervert, by Charles Coleman Finlay - "There are two kinds of people in the world, homosexuals and hydrosexuals. And then there are perverts like me."
  • The Risk-Taking Gene as Expressed by Some Asian Subjects, by Steve Tomasula - A grad student seeks to isolate the gene that causes some people to take risks that others do not.
  • Strood, by Neal Asher - Aliens come to Earth and offer nearly unlimited help and assistence--but is there a sinister reason behind all this?
  • The Eckener Alternative, by James L. Cambias - Going back in time to save dirigible airships.
  • Savant Songs, by Brenda Cooper - Dr. Elsa Hill, autist and savant, tries to make contact with parallel universes.

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