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.

Another Reading List

Following on from Jonathan Strahan’s year’s best, here’s Rich Horton’s:

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2009

Elizabeth Bear, “Shoggoths in Bloom” (Asimov’s, March)
Daryl Gregory, “Glass” (MIT Technology Review, November/December)
Ted Kosmatka, “The Art of Alchemy” (F&SF, June)
Margo Lanagan, “The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross” (Dreaming Again)
Robert Reed, “Character Flu” (F&SF, June)
Rivka Galchen, “The Region of Unlikeness” (The New Yorker, March 17)
James Alan Gardner, “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” (Asimov’s, February)
Will McIntosh, “The Fantasy Jumper” (Black Static, February)
James L. Cambias, “Balancing Accounts” (F&SF, February)
Charlie Anders, “Suicide Drive” (Helix #7, January)
Peter Watts, “The Eyes of God” (The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2)
Beth Bernobich, “The Golden Octopus” (Postscripts, Summer)
Jeff VanderMeer, “Fixing Hanover” (Extraordinary Engines)
Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, “Boojum” (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
Paul Cornell, “Catherine Drewe” (Fast Forward 2)
Mary Robinette Kowal, “Evil Robot Monkey” (The Solaris Book of New SF, Volume 2)
Garth Nix, “Infestation” (The Starry Rift)
Ian McDonald, “The Tear” (Galactic Empires)

Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2009

Kij Johnson, “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” (Asimov’s, July)
Naomi Novik, “Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake” (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
Eugene Mirabelli, “Falling Angel” (F&SF, December)
Meghan McCarron, “The Magician’s House” (Strange Horizons, July 14-21)
Karen Heuler, “The Difficulties of Evolution” (Weird Tales, July/August)
Jay Lake, “A Water Matter” (
Liz Williams, “Spiderhorse” (Realms of Fantasy, August)
Alex Jeffers, “Firooz and His Brother” (F&SF, May)
Ann Leckie, “The God of Au” (Helix #8, Spring)
James Maxey, “Silent as Dust” (Intergalactic Medicine Show #7, January)
Erik Amundsen, “Blue Vervain Murder Ballad #2: Jack of Diamonds” (Not One of Us, October)
Delia Sherman, “Gift from a Spring” (Realms of Fantasy, April)
Christopher Golden, “The Hiss of Escaping Air” (PS Publishing)
Peter S. Beagle, “King Pelles the Sure” (Strange Roads)
Alice Sola Kim, “We Love Deena” (Strange Horizons, February 11)
Jeffrey Ford, “Daltharee” (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
Patrick Rothfuss, “The Road to Levinshir” (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy)
Holly Phillips, “The Small Door” (Fantasy, May)
Richard Bowes, “If Angels Fight” (F&SF, February

Let’s see if I can get my sums right this time: 18 stories in the sf book, 44% of which come from genre magazines; 61% of contributors are male, and there are three overlaps with Strahan (Bear, Kosmatka, VanderMeer). 19 stories in the fantasy book, 74% of which come from genre magazines; 53% of contributors are male, and there are four overlaps with Strahan (Bowes, Johnson, McCarron, Phillips). In terms of first publication sources, F&SF currently leads the pack, accounting for 10 different stories across the three books; Asimov’s is the next nearest with 4, while Realms of Fantasy and Fast Ships, Black Sails account for three each. I have to say that, “The Tear” and Rivka Galchen’s story notwithstanding, of these two books on balance the Fantasy volume looks more interesting to me.