Strahan’s Year’s Best SFF 4

Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Vol 4. For my own reference, I’ve gone through and annotated the stories with their original publication venue:

1. “It Takes Two”, Nicola Griffith (Eclipse 3, ed Jonathan Strahan)
2. “Three Twilight Tales”, Jo Walton (Firebirds Soaring, ed Sharyn November)
3. ???
4. “The Island”, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2, ed. Jonathan Strahan/Gardner Dozois [read online, “chapter two”])
5. “Ferryman”, Margo Lanagan (Firebirds Soaring)
6. “A Wild and Wicked Youth”, Ellen Kushner (F&SF, April/Mary 2009)
7. “The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse 3)
8. “Spar“, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
9. “Going Deep”, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, June 2009)
10. “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown”, Holly Black (The Eternal Kiss ed. Trisha Telep)
11. “Zeppelin City“, Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn (
12. “Dragon’s Teeth”, Alex Irvine (F&SF, December 2009)
13. “This Wind Blowing, and This Tide”, Damien Broderick (Asimov’s, April/May 2009)
14. “By Moonlight”, Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S Beagle)
15. “Black Swan”, Bruce Sterling (Interzone)
16. “As Women Fight”, Sara Genge (Asimov’s, December 2009)
17. “The Cinderella Game”, Kelly Link (Troll’s Eye View ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
18. “Formidable Caress”, Stephen Baxter (Analog, December 2009)
19. “Blocked”, Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2009)
20. “Truth and Bone”, Pat Cadigan (Poe, ed. Ellen Datlow)
21. “Eros, Philia, Agape“, Rachel Swirsky (
22. “The Motorman’s Coat”, John Kessel (F&SF, June/July 2009)
23. “Mongoose”, Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear (Lovecraft Unbound, ed. Ellen Datlow)
24. “Echoes of Aurora”, Ellen Klages (What Remains, Aqueduct Press)
25. “Before My Last Breath”, Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2009)
26. “Jo Boy”, Diana Wynne Jones (The Dragon Book, ed Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois)
27. “Utriusque Cosmi”, Robert Charles Wilson (The New Space Opera 2 [read online, “chapter one”])
28. “A Delicate Architecture”, Catherynne Valente (Troll’s Eye View)
29. “The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles, Kij Johnson (

The obligatory observations: I have read precisely two of the stories, the Sterling and the Swirsky, both of which I’m quite happy to see included. I suspect I’ll be reading a few more over Christmas, but discounting the mystery story (“I’ve agreed not to publicise one of the stories until the book comes out, so that publication here doesn’t step too badly on the toes of its original publisher”), by my count 14 of 28 tales come from 10 different books; this would be a very expensive list of stories to try to recreate yourself. Among magazines, the winners are F&SF and Asimov’s, with four stories apiece, and — interestingly —, with three, the lion’s share of the online fiction. I think that the stories split pretty much half-and-half between sf and fantasy — I’ve made a few guesses to get that figure, and assumed sight unseen that, e.g., the Baxter story is sf, so I could easily be out by a bit. And, of course, at least 59% of the stories in the final book are by women, assuming you count the Swanwick/Gunn collaboration; the lowest the percentage could be, if you don’t count it and if the mystery story is by a man, is 57% — which is still the highest proportion of women I can recall seeing in a Year’s Best anthology.

EDIT: And here’s Rich Horton’s anthology:

1. “A Story, with Beans” by Steven Gould (Analog May)
2. “Child-Empress of Mars” by Theodora Goss (Interfictions 2, ed. Christopher Barzak and Delia Sherman)
3. “The Island” by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
4. “Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance” by John Kessel (The New Space Opera 2 [read online, “chapter three”])
5. “The Logic of the World” by Robert Kelly (Conjunctions 52)
6. “The Endangered Camp” by Ann Leckie (Clockwork Phoenix, ed. Mike Allen)
7. “Sylgarmo’s Proclamation” by Lucius Shepard (Songs of the Dying Earth, ed. Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin)
8. “Three Twilight Tales” by Jo Walton (Firebirds Soaring)
9. “Necroflux Day” by John Meaney (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3, ed. George Mann)
10. “This Peaceable Land; or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe” by Robert Charles Wilson (Other Earths, ed. Nick Gevers and Jay Lake)
11. “Technicolor” by John Langan (Poe)
12. “Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirksy (
13. “A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor” by Nir Yaniv (Shimmer 10)
14. “Catalog” by Eugene Mirabelli (F&SF, February)
15. “Glister” by Dominic Green (Interzone, August)
16. “On the Human Plan” by Jay Lake (Lone Star Stories, February)
17 .“Dragon’s Teeth” by Alex Irvine (F&SF, December)
18. “The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew” by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld)
19. “The Qualia Engine” by Damien Broderick (Asimov’s, April-May)
20. “The Long Cold Goodbye” by Holly Phillips (Asimov’s, March)
21. “Wife-Stealing Time” by R. Garcia y Robertson (Asimov’s, November)
22. “As Women Fight” by Sara Genge (Asimov’s, October-November)
23. “Images of Anna” by Nancy Kress (Fantasy)
24. “Mongoose” by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear (Lovecraft Unbound)
25. “Crimes and Glory” by Paul McAuley (Subterranean)
26. “Living Curiousities” by Margo Lanagan (Sideshow, ed. Deborah Noyes)
27. “The Death of Sugar Daddy” by Toiya Kristen Finlay (Electric Velocipede)
28. “Bespoke” by Genevieve Valentine (Strange Horizons)
29. “The Persistence of Memory; or, This Space for Sale” by Paul Park (Postscripts #20/21)
30. “Secret Identity” by Kelly Link (Geektastic, ed. Holly Black and Cecil Castalluci)

With, again, one more story to come. Note that this list is not in final TOC order. In the meantime: overlap of six stories with Strahan (Watts, Walton, Swirsky, Irvine, Genge, Monette/Bear); two that I’ve read again (Swirsky and Valente, this time); 47% from books; Asimov’s the magazine winner, with four stories, but in general a wider range of magazines; 43% women; and I think about 55% sf, though I’m less confident here than with Strahan, and have made more guesses. 53% sf according to the editor.

EDIT: Dozois contents here.

16 thoughts on “Strahan’s Year’s Best SFF 4

  1. Four were originally bought by Strahan too – two in Eclipse 3 and two in The New Space Opera 2. He must have liked them a lot…

    I’ve read five – Swirsky (because of your Short Story Club posts), Sterling, the two from The New Space Opera 2, and the first of the two by Kij Johnson. I wouldn’t mind reading the ones, but I can’t be arsed to click through 14 and 17 pages to do so.

  2. Also, all three of The New Space Opera 2 stories listed are available at the Harper Collins web site, along with a fourth story from the collection by Cory Doctorow. I’ve only read The Island so far, but now I’ll have to go back and get to the rest.

  3. I just finished ‘Zeppelin City’ which I guess is what you would call contemporary Edisonade. In this it shares a lot with most steampunk: it is fun, silly and pointless.

  4. Must admit I’m intrigued that Horton has picked one story from Postscripts #20/21. I’ve not seen a copy of it yet, and I’m in it.

  5. You counted #25 twice, so there are actually 29 stories listed in the now posted TOC of my anthology, plus the one we are waiting on permissions for.

    By my count 14 of 30 are Fantasy (including the one pending), thus the ratio is 47%/53%. 43% are by women (including the one pending.) If the pending story falls through, these numbers may change.

    Note as well that the list is not in final TOC order, if anyone cares.

  6. Oh, and the title of Dominic Green’s story is “Glister”. (Not your fault, the error is in Sean’s original post.)

  7. For Horton’s, we got the final permission: “Secret Identity” by Kelly Link, Geektastic

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