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Book review: Year's Best SF of 1985 - Phil's Rambling Rants
January 27th, 2006
02:26 pm


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Book review: Year's Best SF of 1985
Today's book review is The Year's Best Science Fiction Third Annual Collection (covering 1985) edited by Gardner Dozois.

When I first started reading SF, I actually read some of the magazines, but by 1985 I'd mostly gotten out of the habit and switched to novels, so I didn't read these stories at the time.  I was looking for a book of shorter pieces, and this seemed like it would be interesting.

Obviously, being a single year anthology, these stories are rather variable.  Not surprisingly considering Dozois's reputation, most of the stories are competently written and at least somewhat interesting, but I found the overall tone of the anthology to be surprisingly dark and depressing, and reading through the whole book got to be something of a chore.  This is a book a completist probably wants to own -- 9 of the stories were Hugo nominees, and it's likely that some of them would be hard to find otherwise -- but I can't recommend reading it cover to cover.

6 out of 10.

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Date:January 29th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
I think there must have been some kind of a short fiction renaissance in the '90s ... I've been reading many of Dozois's Year's Best SF collections from then, and there's a lot of really good, imaginative, not-all-that-grim stories. But I also picked up a bunch of Donald A. Wollheim's Annual World's Best SF books while I was at the Arisia SF con, dating mostly from the late '70s and early '80s, and sure enough the stories are well-written but not all that much fun, which matches your observations. Since we get the same results from both D.A.W. and Dozois, it must be the decade that makes the difference.
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