Monday, 26 November 2018

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 edited by N. K. Jemisin & John Joseph Adams - Book Report #250

I have avoided previous editions of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy because of the title.  You see, I am not much of a Fantasy fan and I believed I'd only enjoy about half the offerings.  With this opportunity, I was exposed to stories outside my comfort zone.  And isn’t that what reading should be all about?

Many stories in this collection are so broad that, to be squeezed into a Fantasy or Science Fiction label, is a bit constricting.  But then I was left wondering; if the editors wanted to increase awareness of these authors, where else could they have showcased them?  Of all the genres out there F&SF are the most accommodating.

In all cases, the quality of the writing was so good that I found myself transported into the stories.  There is something here to appeal to just about everybody but that doesn't mean I enjoyed each one.  Some genres simply do not appeal to me.  Each story had an interesting twist that pushed the boundaries and created something unexpected and interesting.

The deeper I got into the collection, I began to suspect that the fiction selected was geared more to introducing the curious to genre fiction than to entertaining the entrenched reader.  However, the skill of the editors was evident whenever I found myself sighing, wondering when I would return to a science fiction story.  The pacing and placement of the stories rewarded me for reading through the stuff I found challenging.

Some of the standouts were penned by Charles Payseur, Jaymee Goh, A. Merc Rustad and Rachael K. Jones.

I wouldn't say that the book was an easy read because some stories either frustrated or disturbed me in some way.  I will say that it was a rewarding experience; I did not plow through the anthology but let each story sit with me for a while before moving on to the next one.  Some of the more challenging ones stayed in my mind for days, they gave me something valuable to think about.  There was often more going on between the words than the story that lived on the surface of the text.

And that would be my advice to readers of this book - take your time with it, read only one story a day.  Believe in the editors, they saw something in each tale that was worthy of them being collected here.  I have been constantly impressed with how some stories expanded in my mind over a day or two to make me feel that I had read a novel.

In the coming days and weeks, I will review each story in the collection individually.

Full Disclosure - I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

N. K. Jemisin's website -

John Joseph Adams' website -

N. K. Jemisin

John Joseph Adams

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