Sunday Short Fiction Review: The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

A couple quick reviews for some short fiction I read this week.  All of these were found in the following anthology.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

“When We Were Starless” by Simone Heller: 3.5 stars.  Really unique take on the post apocalyptic landscape. While the setting sounded just how I always picture that kind of setting (crumpled glass, fallen steel, random detritus), descriptions of the non-human characters and tech were frustratingly vague.  I would have loved to have just a little more time to explore.

“Intervention” by Kelly Robson: 3 stars.  Loved Jules’s character- but not much else.  Jules leaves her comfy job on the moon to manage a creche.  We pick up toward the end of her creche career to see what fate has in store for her.  This was okay.  I thought it was a little boring. The prevailing attitude towards children throughout the solar system I found somewhat unbelievable (in that literally every occupied planet finds children deplorable).  It vaguely reminded me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in that regard.

“All the Time We’ve Left to Spend” by Alyssa Wong: 5 Star read.  Honestly- I was almost as blown away by this short story as I was by The Lady Astronaut of Mars.  Wong made me care about the character, but also let the mystery unfold naturally which kept me engaged. I found myself wondering what else she has written. Cool world building and cultural elements too.

“Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby: 5 Stars.  This is exactly the kind of story I love- cool tech, women who can fend for themselves and others. Not at all what I expected from the title.  I will say I had guessed the ending- but I really didn’t care.  The journey was still a blast.

“Ten Landscapes of Nili Fossae” by Ian McDonald: 3 stars. I apologize, I couldn’t find a link to this story.  This is about the theoretical first painting on Mars.  To be honest I really didn’t get it.  I am someone who is super straight forward and logical and likes reason.  So abstract art and general ambiguity are not really my things.  Therefore this story was also not my thing.  It felt like an homage to art and artists everywhere.  Which is great, they deserve it, it just wasn’t my kind of story.

That’s it for this week!  I will definitely be checking out other work by Alyssa Wong and Madeline Ashby (although I’ve heard lukewarm things about Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach).  I’m slowly working my way through these and plan to have a few to post every week.

Have you read any good short fiction lately?

14 thoughts on “Sunday Short Fiction Review: The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

    • I used to feel the same way- but then I read Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Lady Astronaut of Mars, and I realized in the right hands, short fiction can be pretty amazing. It gives authors a chance to maybe try things out and be experimental without necessarily investing in a whole book if it doesn’t work.

      It also helps me when I’m having attention span issues lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. One of my favorite books from several years ago was Company Town by Madeline Ashby, and I’ve been waiting for her to write a new novel since then (she hasn’t). Its nice to know she’s still writing, even if it’s short stories and not novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I added Company Town to my list! Nice to hear some positive things about it. Hopefully she’ll write something new soon. I’m also a little disappointed about Alyssa Wong. She hasn’t written any novels at all. I’d love to see what she can do.

      Like

  2. I recently read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Forest of Memory (which was probably novelette length?) and really enjoyed it. I’ve also read and loved a bunch of Connie Willis’ short fiction. Some of my favorites of hers include All Seated On The Ground and And Come From Miles Around.

    Liked by 1 person

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