IN OTHER WORDS, IF I WERE TO EDIT A “BEST” ANTHOLOGY (I CAN DREAM, CAN’T I?), IT WOULD COMPRISE OF STORIES FROM THE LIST BELOW.
Challenging Destiny, December 2003
Jack loves his mother but his mother is displeased with him because he has traded his magic beans for a cow. How can anyone resist reading further when a story begins on such a note? Not I. A thoroughly enjoyable story. And the artwork gracing the story is good too. In fact, in terms of artwork (both the cover and the interior), this issue of Challenging Destiny is above par.
On Spec, Fall 2003
A large meteor has hit the moon (our moon), pulverizing it. Now earth has no moon, only a vague memory of it. And that is just the beginning of the story. This is one of the best stories I have read this year, and it is one with a distinct Canadian flavor. The author's bio indicates that this is the first published story of Joshua Prowse but based on the strength of this story, I would say that here is a name to watch for.
Sci-Fiction, August 2003
US troops in Iraq encounter the Muslim paradise. That synopsis just doesn't do justice to this multilayered, highly stylish, thought-provoking, timely story. Just read it.
Sci-Fiction, May 2003
1904 US Elections. Interested parties: Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Tesla, among others. A highly entertaining read.
Challenging Destiny, June 2003
On planet Spiratz, the miners had rebelled and were successfully resisting Earth’s government. All altercations were failures. Then came Sgt. George Horiochi who single-handed succeeded in negotiating a treaty with the rebels. This is the story of how he did it. This is a story of communication, not between humans and aliens but between humans and other humans. The only problem with the story is that with very little revision, it could be changed into a mainstream story instead of an SF one.
F&SF, Oct/Nov. 2003
Four short takes on immortality. And what reader could resist headings like: Remembrance of Things Past, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, The Way of All Flesh? Even at such short lengths, Joe Haldeman managed to insert character interaction in the stories. Definitely worthy of being in any BEST anthology.
F&SF, Oct/Nov. 2003
A boy and his AI inspire each other to reach the stars. A delightful story that is coming out soon as a book for young readers – and when it does, I hope it makes some young eyes look up at the sky with curiosity and longing.
F&SF, Dec. 2003
A Nativity fantasy set in the modern world. The story is told in the second person, simple present – quite a job, but very well handled here. The overlap of the spiritual and the modern day mundane is a delight. Three strangers bring you (and you are a woman, a mother) gifts and as soon as they leave, you frantically call the bomb squad.