THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY 2017 Edited by Charles Yu & John Joseph Adams

In a recent comment on Mike Ashley’s classic Science Fiction anthology, Lost Mars (you can read my review here), Steve Lewis wrote: “I try, but I find that I’m out of step with 95% of the SF that’s being printed in any of the last few best of the year anthologies. What’s not in the anthologies I can’t imagine. I know, I know. It’s me who’s out of sync here.” Well, I’m out of sync, too. While reading The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 Steve’s voice was ringing in my head as I slogged through story after story. I kept thinking: are these stories really “the Best”? I can only recommend two of these stories: I liked “The Witch of Orion Waste and the Boy Knight” by E. Lily Yu and “The Story of Kao Yu” by Peter S. Beagle. I can also give a nod to the most kitschy story I’ve read in a long time: “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey.

Most of the rest of these stories didn’t hold my interest. Some didn’t even seem like SF stories or fantasy stories. They were mood stories or “slice-of-Life” stories. I realize styles change and tastes change. But I know what I like to read and only E. Lily Yu and Peter S. Beagle delivered the goods. GRADE: C
Foreword by John Joseph Adams ix
Introduction by Charles Yu xvii

“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo (Summer Days and Summer Nights) 1
“Teenagers from Outer Space” by Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld) 27
“I’ve Come to Marry the Princess” by Helena Bell (Lightspeed) 56
“Everyone From Themis Sends Letters Home” by Genevieve Valentine (Clarkesworld) 71
“The Witch of Orion Waste and the Boy Knight” by E. Lily Yu (Uncanny) 96
“When They Came to Us” by Debbie Urbanski (The Sun) 111
“Vulcanization” by Nisi Shawl (Nightmare) 128
“Openness” by Alexander Weinstein (Beloit Fiction Journal) 141
“Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass” by Jeremiah Tolbert (Lightspeed) 152
“The Future is Blue” by Catherynne M. Valente (Drowned Worlds) 167
“This is Not a Wardrobe Door” by A. Merc Rustad (Fireside) 188
“On the Fringes of the Fractal” by Greg van Eekhout (2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush) 194
“The Story of Kao Yu” by Peter S. Beagle ( 206
“Smear” by Brian Evenson (Conjunctions: Other Aliens) 223
“The City Born Great” by N.K. Jemisin ( 230
“Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed) 245
“Successor, Usurper, Replacement” by Alice Sola Kim (BuzzFeed READER) 251
“Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do?” by Nick Wolven (F&SF) 267
“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by Dale Bailey (Nightmare) 286
“The Venus Effect” by Joseph Allen Hill (Lightspeed) 304
Contributors’ Notes 331
Notable Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories of 2016 343

10 thoughts on “THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY 2017 Edited by Charles Yu & John Joseph Adams

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I find that I usually like the stories in the best of series from Dozois and Strahan. This series has never caught my attention. Their are several writers here I usually like-Beagle, Bailey and Evenson. Try and get a copy of Evenson’s Last Days. One of my favorite novels of the last decade.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Sad. Luckily, I have a lot of the older stuff that I never read, including a bunch of older anthologies on the shelf.

  3. Patti Abbott

    It may be that literature is in the place that music and art found themselves. Minimalism, atonal music, installation art were deadends for me but not for everyone I guess.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, you may be right. But my satisfaction with THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY 2017 was low. Too many stories didn’t connect with me.

  4. Rick Robinson

    I agree with Steve on Dozois and Strahan, also Rich Horton’s evaluations of short fiction. That said, most of the current short SFF leaves me longing for the work of the Fifties and Sixties. There is some good SF being written in novel form by writers who subscribe to the idea of telling a good story instead of doing something different, such as the Expanse books.

    Of course the Hank Davis books aren’t “best of” anthologies, and most of them have in fact been collections by a single author, Poul Anderson, for example.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I think Rich Horton’s YEAR’S BEST anthologies come closest to my tastes. Dozois seems to throw in the kitchen sink in his mammoth collections! I wish Hank Davis would publish a “YEAR’S BEST” anthology. I’d buy it!


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