Friday, December 9, 2022

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022, by Rebecca Roanhorse (guest editor), John Joseph Adams (series editor)

Mariner Books, ISBN 9780358690122, November 2022

This is a collection of twenty stories of science fiction, fantasy, and bit of horror, a Year's Best collection with John Joseph Adams as the series editor, and Rebecca Roanhorse as this year's guest editor.

It's a lively and interesting collection of stories, including the ones that are not to my taste. It includes writers of a wide variety of backgrounds, with the diverse characters you, or at least I, like to see.

Some of my favorites here:

If the Martians Have Magic, by P. Djรจli Clarke--In a rather different history than ours, H.G. Wells's Martians invaded--several times. The last time, the magic practitioners of Earth united to kick them out permanently. But three Martians were left behind, and taken prisoner.  A generation later, the Council that mediates all things magical and is also responsible for the Martians is caught in a conflict over what to do with. Some feel they need to be killed. Not everyone agrees, but the only real advocate they have realizes she can only win by proving the Martians have magic, too, and are protected by the same law that protects all other magic practitioners. Unfortunately, it looks like she won't have time. Several magical traditions are represented, and the Martians' advocate is from the Caribbean tradition.

Broad Dutty Water: A Sunken Story, by Nalo Hopkinson--Global climate change wasn't halted or even slowed down, and the waters rose much faster than expected. Many people are living on artificial, floating habitats, including our protagonist, who has just had new cyber devices inserted into her head. Being a little headstrong, she doesn't stick around on land to properly acclimate to her new enhancements before heading home. This leads to ditching in the water, and we get a closeup look at why she's been commenting on how bad things are, and the irreversibility of it. But when she washes up on a bit of land that hasn't gone under yet, she encounters something that might mean there's hope after all.

The Red Mother, by Elizabeth Bear--This is a lovely story of an aging Viking going looking for his exiled brother, to tell him he's been cleared of the murder charge that got him exiled. When he reaches the village where his tracking magic took him, he meets an old friend, who tells him his brother and others are dead, and the only way to save them is to go fight the dragon that's harassing the village. It has an unexpected ending.

The Pizza Boy, by Meg Ellison--The pizza boy is delivering pizza to ships on both sides of an interstellar way. It's very important that he have mushrooms available for certain orders, and the reason takes a while to become apparent. Intrigue and ingenuity. And mushrooms.

Those are my favorites, and there are other stories that I love in this anthology. There are also others I'm not so fond of, but they're well-written, and will be someone else's favorites. No bad picks in here.


I receive a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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