The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 14: 14 (Mammoth Books)
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This hugely acclaimed collection is now in its 14th successful year, and Gardner Dozois's selection for 2001 maintains its high standards of excellence with more than 25 SF stories from contemporary talents such as John Kessel, Ursula K Le Guin, Nancy Kress, Paul J. McAuley, Alastair Reynolds, Brian Stableford, Stephen Baxter, Greg Egan, Charles Stross, Ian McDonald and many other bright stars of SF, as well as the usual thorough summation of the year and recommended reading lists.
“This Dewdrop World”, whose simple theme was eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die. The crowd loved it; silver half-khans and even a few gold khans showered the car. Whenever a coin fell in the water, a musician would jump in after it like a frog and have to be fished out by his friends. It was a fine end to the evening. When Stef and Dzhun left the restaurant the air had the lingering chill of spring and the scent of lemon groves that were blossoming in the hills. Dzhun pulled Stef’s
corridor and heard a cry. Then the crackling of small arms fire. I grabbed my rifle and ran outside. The VC were inside the wire. In the perimeter lights I saw dozens of diminutive men and women in black pyjamas scurrying about, white stars sputtering from the muzzles of their weapons. I cut down several of them. I couldn’t think how they had got through the wire and the minefields without alerting the sentries, but then, as I continued to fire, I spotted a man’s head pop up out of the ground and
body flung from God knows where landed on my back, driving the breath from me, and in the instant before consciousness fled, I caught the rich stink of napalm. “In the morning I awoke and saw a bloody, jawless face with staring blue eyes pressed close to mine, looking as if it were still trying to convey a last desperate message. I clawed my way from beneath the corpse and staggered upright to find myself the lord of a killed land, of a raw, red scar littered with corpses in the midst of a
stories, the best known of which is probably “The Public Hating”; Jean Shepherd, writer and radio personality, whose funny, nostalgic work occasionally had mild fantastic elements (or at least moments of surreal exaggeration), best known for the collections In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, and A Fistful of Fig Newtons; Edward Gorey, 75, artist and author, winner of two World Fantasy Awards, probably the best-known artist of the satirically macabre and
dark smudgy cloud where the farthest line of hills met the sky. Michelle emerged from the house carrying two ice-flecked bottles of imported beer on a tray. She set it on the table and sat down across from him and said, “Daddy’s still talking to the thing that would not die.” He nodded in the direction of the smudgy cloud. “I hope that’s not what I think it is.” She looked. “Fires in the canyons. It’s the season.” She opened one of the beers and handed it to him. “What’re you reading?”