Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Year's Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois

So, a couple of months ago I was browsing a used bookstore and came across this anthology sitting on the shelf. To be precise, I found several copies of this eight-hundred page anthology sitting on the shelf and perhaps that should have been a warning sign for me but if I am anything it is foolhardy. Or perhaps just foolish. Where was I? Oh yes, the review. So I took this nice anthology of short stories home with me and...really I ended up more disappointed than anything else with this anthology. Now, I don't want to just mindlessly riff on this anthology so I'm going to try to explain why I disliked this particular anthology in specific. As always, this is a matter of opinion for me rather than objective fact so feel free to take my review with a grain of salt and if what I talk about sounds appealing to you then by all means feel free to go read this anthology.

My first problem, and I will admit that this is a personal problem more than anything else, is that there were a couple of stories that were just really freaking depressing and it didn't sit well with me. I know that I tend to be a rather melancholic person myself, but there's something in me that just doesn't want to read about how all matter in the universe will get pulled apart on an atomic scale because of the acceleration of dark matter and we know it's coming. I mean, yes, the story made me think about our ultimate mortality but it left me with a bad feeling. Or the story of a man who's trapped travelling backwards through time at an accelerated pace with the ultimate doom of being forever a stranger in civilization with little to no resources. It was a very lonely prospect that again left me with a very shaken feeling. I understand that not all art can be all happy all the time, but those stories in specific gave me a very bad feeling that stays with me still.

There were also a couple of stories that I felt were definitely lacking in a science fiction element. For example there was a story that was mostly about a science fiction author and his aging husky with a slight side story about an asteroid that might hit earth and cause a major cataclysm. Maybe. While a story about a man and his dog is something I can enjoy, in a science-fiction anthology I'd prefer something a little more fantastic. Especially when the sci-fi element is just an asteroid coming to hit the earth and we can't do anything about it. There was also a story where we're told that a certain gentleman thinks he's an immortal Atlantean who has been brought back to reestablish the reign of the immortals and their subjugation of normal humans, but for all the evidence we're given he could just be a crackpot high on something or other. I don't know, I'm a square, I don't know about drugs.

Overall I was just left disappointed more than anything else with this anthology. There were some good stories in here, like the ones that involved time travel, but most of them just weren't that enjoyable for me. I would recommend that you just pass this particular anthology by and read something else.

- Kalpar

No comments:

Post a Comment