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Year's Best Science Fiction 14 cover The Year's Best Science Fiction, Fourteenth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois (ed).

Published by Daw Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Each year, multiple-Hugo winning editor Gardner Dozois, best known for his work at Asimov's Science Fiction, compiles a collection of what he regards to be the best science fiction short stories published during that year. This volume covers the stories of 1996, and as always includes a discussion of the state of the publishing industry and a list of stories that couldn't be included in the volume but were worthy of note.

Several of these are chilling looks at what can go wrong when people go too far. In "The Flowers of Aulit Prison" by Nancy Kress, experiments in the nature of memory and thought lead to madness in a race that is almost human but seems to have diverged from the original human stock sometime after their world was colonized. "The Last Homosexual" by Paul Park shows us the ultimate development of a world where the disease theory of human behavior has been hijacked by religious fundamentalists to enforce their concept of correct behavior.

But not all the stories are so grim and frightening. "Foreign Devils" by Walter Jon Williams is a look at how the Chinese might have dealt with the invasion of H.G. Wells' Martians (from his classic The War of the Worlds). "The Weighing of Ayre" by Gregory Feeley is a look at the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution that might just be an alternate history.

In all, this is an excellent compendium, a particularly good resource for the writer who wants to see what a top editor in the field considers to be the best of the best.

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This review posted October 5, 2000

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