The Best of World SF • 2021 • SF and Fantasy anthology by Lavie Tidhar

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lavie Tidhar put together 26 speculative short fictions, mostly from SF subgenre. None of the stories is from a U.S. or UK author, so you’ll get some non-traditional story telling with exotic settings and cultural influences. 

Tidhar is well established in the international league of authors. He’s been editor of similar anthologies before, mostly as Apex Book of World SF between 2009 and 2015. 

This new anthology is really excellent, featuring two five star stories “Immersion” be Aliette de Bodard, and “His Master’s Voice” by Hanny Rajaniemi. There’s only one bummer story written by Manickavel, contrasted by a whole series of excellent four star stories. I’ve been looking forward reading many of the featured authors – de Bodard and Rajaniemi, but also Han Song, Tade Thompson, Vandana Singh, Lauren Beukes, Karin Tidbeck, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and lastly Zen Cho (who will be published in just a couple of days with her novel Black Water Sister).

You’ll find diversity not only in the author’s genders (14 women, 12 men) and origins (21 countries, France, China, Singapore, Botswana, Nigeria, India, Japan, Italy, Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, Spain, Mexico, Finland, Israel, Iceland, Russia, Ghana, South Africa, Sweden and Malaysia), but also in subgenres. There are robots, spaceships, time-travel, post-singularity, Space Opera, and Cyberpunk. But also a few Fantasy, Magical Realism, or weird stories. 

As a German, I’m missing an author from my home country, or from one of the other German speaking countries (that’s a huge market, btw). Maybe next time?

Most of the stories are reprints and available elsewhere. As usual, I’ve added links to those resources within the respective story’s reviews. 

Be aware, that I’ve read through the whole anthology, but sadly didn’t provide a review for every story. Yes, I’ve been in a reviewing slump. 

Nonetheless, I can fully recommend this wonderful anthology for SF readers who’d like to discover authors outside of well-trodden paths. Don’t shy away from the non-SF stories, some of them are really good!

Contents (as of isfdb):

  1. 1 •   ★★★★★ • FranceImmersion • 2012 • SF Xuya short story by Aliette de Bodard • review
  2. 21 • ★★★☆☆ • China Debtless • 2020 • Space Opera novelette by Chen Qiufan • review
  3. 81 • ★★★☆☆ • Singapore Fandom for Robots • 2017 • SF short story by Vina Jie-Min Prasad • review
  4. 97 • ★★+☆☆☆ • Botswana • Virtual Snapshots • 2016 • short story by Tlotlo Tsamaase • review
  5. 107 • Nigeria What the Dead Man Said • 2019 • short story by Chinelo Onwualu
  6. 125 • ★★★★☆ • India Delhi • 2004 • Time travel short story by Vandana Singh • review
  7. 149 • ★★★☆☆ • ChinaThe Wheel of Samsara • 2009 • SF short story by Han Song • review
  8. 159 • ★★★★☆ • Singapore • Xingzhou • 2019 • short story by Ng Yi-Sheng
  9. 179 • Japan Prayer • short story by Taiyo Fujii
  10. 187 • Italy The Green Ship • 2018 • short story by Francesco Verso
  11. 201 • ★★★★☆ • Cuba Eyes of the Crocodile • 2020 • Post-singularity short story by Malena Salazar Maciá review
  12. 211 • ★★+☆☆☆ • United Kingdom Bootblack • 2017 • Time travel short story by Tade Thompson • review
  13. 223 • ★★★☆☆ • Brazil The Emptiness in the Heart of All Things • 2018 • Magical reality novelette by Fábio Fernandes • review
  14. 251 • ★★★+☆☆ • Trinidad and Tobago The Sun from Both Sides • 2019 • Space Opera novelette by R. S. A. Garcia • review
  15. 309 • ★★★+☆☆ • Spain DUMP • 2018 • Cyberpunk short story by Cristina Jurado • review
  16. 331 • ★★☆☆☆ • Mexico Rue Chair • 2002 • Cyberpunk short story by Gerardo Horacio Porcayo
  17. 339 • ★★★★★ • Finland His Master’s Voice • 2008 • Posthuman SF short story by Hannu Rajaniemi • review
  18. 357 • ★★☆☆☆ • IsraelBenjamin Schneider’s Little Greys • 2009 • Weird short story by Nir Yaniv • Benjamin comes every week to the hospital with strange little alien body estrangements
  19. 365 • ★★★★☆ • Iceland The Cryptid • 2021 • Fantasy novelette by Emil Hjörvar Petersen • review
  20. 389 • ★★★☆☆ • Russia The Bank of Burkina Faso • 2012 • Weird short story by Ekaterina Sedia • review
  21. 403 • ★+☆☆☆☆ • India An Incomplete Guide to Understanding the Rose Petal Infestation Associated with EverTyphoid Patients in the Tropicool IcyLand Urban Indian Slum • 2016 • short story by Kuzhali Manickavel • rather pointless – no story, no character
  22. 413 • ★★★+☆☆ • Ghana The Old Man with the Third Hand • 2017 • Weird fiction short story by Kofi Nyameye • review
  23. 427 • ★★★★☆ • South Africa The Green • 2012 • Planetary Romance short story by Lauren Beukes • review
  24. 445 • ★★★★☆ • Sweden • The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir • 2019 • Space Opera short story by Karin Tidbeck
  25. 467 • ★★★+☆☆ • Mexico  Prime Meridian • 2017 • novella by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  26. 553 • ★★★★☆ • Malaysia If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again • 2018 • Magical realism novelette by Zen Cho • review

Meta: isfdb, This anthology was published at 01.06.2021 by Head of Zeus.

This entry was posted in Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Best of World SF • 2021 • SF and Fantasy anthology by Lavie Tidhar

  1. I’ve been searching for SF from The Netherlands, but I can’t really find anything good. There is a huge market for speculative fiction here, but it seems fully incorporated in the English speaking world. The rest of the Dutch book market is shaped by older Dutch moms who only read Dutch novels.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Andreas says:

    I‘ve read the excellent Rissan series by Wim Gijsen (back in the 80s), but that is Fantasy. I think, he also wrote SF.
    You might search the Apex World SF anthologies, maybe there’s something from the Netherlands!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bormgans says:

    Interesting, will look into it, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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