Reading Project: The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction • 2019 • SF anthology by Gardner Dozois

Dozois published 35 annual anthologies with his selection of the best SF stories of the previous year. He concentrated those 35 books even further down to three volumes by selecting the best of those:

The first anthology covering 1983-2002, another one publishing only novellas (which I haven’t read yet), and now this anthology covering SF stories and novellas from 2003-2017. Sadly, Dozois passed away shortly after that, so this really concludes his life’s work as an editor.
The annual anthologies are really monstrous doorstoppers. Everyone who reads anthologies knows that they take far longer to digest than any novel of the same size. And it isn’t healthy to read through them like a novel. My mode is mostly one or two stories per day.

What is to be expected from this anthology? First of all, a huge amount of stories. Also not only Science Fiction stories despite of the title – many of the stories are not exactly SF but magical realism or borderline SF at the best. Dozois tended to select literary stories which might not be to everyone’s taste, but fit mine very well.

So, this is my newest reading project: One story/review daily from this anthology. In the list below, you’ll find several reviews already finished, as I‘ve read some of them before. There were a couple of four and five star stories, and extrapolating I have the highest hope that the rest will also be great stuff.

Contents (stories are ordered from oldest to newest):

Meta: isfdb, published 2019 by St Martin’s Griffin.

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16 Responses to Reading Project: The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction • 2019 • SF anthology by Gardner Dozois

  1. bormgans says:

    Seems you have covered most! Should be a quicky then 😉

    Like

    • Andreas says:

      I‘m looking forward to read 27 stories in it, that’s more than 500 pages. That’s still a project 😁.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bormgans says:

        Oops, yes that’s more than I thought. You really have serious stamina to do all those short story reviews. I hope you won’t burn out!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Andreas says:

          Burn out is actually a thing in my past – not from reading, but from work.
          I ride this tiger while I can – it’s always been that way: after some time, something else grabs my full attention (like video games or Netflix series…). And then it takes a good while before I return.
          You’re right that reviews cost stamina. But that way, I‘m not mindlessly consuming, but rather producing. It’s a little bit like „mindful reading“.

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          • bormgans says:

            Yes agreed, the talk these days on Who’s dreaming who and over at Bookstooge seems to be about reasons to blog, and I agree, producing something, contributing seem part of that. Reviewing has certainly changed the way I read, to something more mindful indeed.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. pdtillman says:

    Good to see you’re reading it. I didn’t know (or don’t recall) that he did a Very Best for novellas also. Well, maybe I do remember [looks.]. Hmm. Not on Wiklpedia’s (incomplete) biblio, and ISFDB’s server is down this AM. I see our library system has a copy of the one you’re reading on order — though I might want one for myself. Xmas list?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pdtillman says:

    Ah, ISFDB came back online. Th novella anthol is “Best of the Best Volume 2: 20 Years of the Best Short Science Fiction Novels”, TOC etc: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?89427
    I have read it. Lots of Good Stuff! On your TBR, I imagine…. 😇

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  4. Ola G says:

    Hmm I think I’ll wait a bit more, and read some more of your reviews – this one’s enormous! But looks promising… 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always been intimidated by Dozois’s anthologies because they are always massive and as you mentioned, reading an anthology takes a lot of time and commitment. However, Dozois’s impact on short fiction and science fiction is so great that I should probably give one of his anthologies a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      If you can handle it like I do – reading just one story a day – that takes away a lot of the terror. Others chose to read only some selected stories while skipping others.

      Liked by 1 person

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