You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Year's Best SF 10

I've been reading the anthology Year's Best SF 10 for the last few months, mostly at the gym or during lunch. Most of the stories are good or great, with only a few misses.

The first story is "Sergeant Chip," one of my favorites. It's the story of a highly trained dog who ends up on a failed mission, and has to take care of some civilians. It has one of the best first lines: "Today before it was light I had to roll in the stream to wash blood from my fur." How can you not continue reading after that?

"Burning Day" is another great story, about an investigation into a murder of androids, and plays with reader's expectations. "Glinky" is a fun story, kind of a fantasy involving an investigator and a transition of realities. "Red City" is about a couple's visit to India, where they find a portal to the past. "Mastermindless" is another investigator story, involving the sudden change in a town where every male is suddenly ugly, stupid, and has very little in his bank account. It's great how it plays out from a few vauge clues to a satisfying ending.

"The Battle of York" is probably the most unique story in the group. It's an amalgam of American history, folk history, and legend, told as a far future where hard records of the past are gone, and only scraps of legend remain. General Washington has his battle-axe, Valleyforge, and fights with Arm Strong Custard, and Eisenhower Iron Hewer, challenging the four headed creature at Rushmore to get the parchment with the words of power and defeat the giant Britannia.

"Loosestrife" is an interesting story involving a retarded girl who kidnaps a baby, and a man who gets her out of the country, but things are not as they seem. "Pervert" involves a future where the rules of Islam dictate no contact between males and females, and babies are created in labs. "Strood" is another story that plays on expectations.

Some of the stories that were sub-par include "First Commandment," about scientists attempt to catalog the last uncataloged part of Earth in Australia. "Venus Flowers at Night" is an intriguing piece about a man's attempt to put movies/holograms together detailing the successful terraforming of Venus, as a demonstration to the possibility of actually changing the planet. It has some interesting scenes, but doesn't make it as a complete story, too fragmented for my taste. "The Risk-Taking Gene" is another piece that doesn't come together as a story, too much an essay and too little happening, with not much of an ending.

Given the big hits, I'll give this one an A-. The stories are about 80% worth reading.


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