This is an unusual book for me to review because it’s not a novel but a collection of short stories. And it’s one of those books that gets published every year. A bit questionable, really.
But I have to tell you a story. When I was about ten and at the height of my Charles Dickens obsession, a friend of my mother’s gave me this folder from a writing class she’d taken at university. She knew I liked reading and thought I might enjoy what was inside.
What was inside was a collection of bizarre, clever, insane little science-fiction short stories obviously collected by hand by the professor of this class. I’d never read much sci-fi before and they absolutely blew my mind. They weren’t intended for kids – I remember coming across the word “fuck” used in the sexual rather than expletive sense and getting really confused – but to this day I can remember every single one of those stories and the way they made my brain tingle: reading them was like experiencing a waking dream.
Since then, I’ve absolutely loved science fiction short stories. I feel that the creativity of the genre along with the opportunities afforded by a short story structure combine uniquely to create these absurd, beautiful little snippets.
So here’s my review of this collection: the overall theme seems to be unfixed, vague, with oscillating endings in classic short-story style. They come from a range of writers, including a very talented Argentinian writer named Angelica Gorodischer. I would say that most of the stories are well worth a read; there are a couple that seem a bit filler-ish, but the great thing about people is that they don’t all like the same thing. And the great thing about short story collections is that there is a lot to choose from. This is a great read for long journeys or for times when you have a short attention span (so me, all the time.)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014 was released on June 10th, 2014. I obtained my copy as a free galley, but it’s worth spending the money on if you enjoy the genre!