Review: Doctor Who Episode 197

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SPOILER ALERT — Do not read unless you have seen Episode 197, The Doctor’s ———.
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Review: Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition

The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition

Since the Staffer writes regular reviews of the books he reads on his blog, I’ve decided to try my hand at doing the same. I’m not the writer nor the literary analyst that he is, so don’t expect too much.

First up is this anthology of science fiction from 2006. This has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while, and I don’t remember where I picked it up — some used book sale, somewhere, at some time (apparently after 2006). Although I’ve read a fair amount of science fiction, I have not read much in the way of short stories in the genre (or in any genre, really, which is a shame). I wasn’t expecting that much from it — I am perhaps unreasonably suspicious of modern works of science fiction — but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection.

Early in the book is Bank Run by Tom Purdon, which I’ll admit I had a terrible time getting through. It’s about economics and corporate maneuvering which are two subjects that I have never grasped nor cared for. It may also be the longest story which doesn’t help. A few stories later, though, I found The Edge of Nowhere by James Patrick Kelly quite engrossing and other-worldy — it reminded me of LOST — and I wish that there were more stories about it. Joe Haldeman‘s Heartwired is the shortest work, I think, but it’s a tight, funny little story that makes me happy. Wil McCarthy eventually won me over with The Policeman’s Daughter, although the story of futuristic technology and the resulting evolution of legal principles left me cold for the first few pages. Finished by Robert Reed was quite compelling even before the “twist” ending — and the same goes for The Inn at Mount Either by James Van Pelt which would make an excellent Outer Limits episode. Daniel Kaysen‘s The Jenna Set is a warm, amusing look at technology, maths, and social networks. The collection finishes up with Understanding Space and Time by Alastair Reynolds which is one of the strongest and maybe the best of the entire collection.

Having gone through the usual sci-fi “phase” as a teenager, but having after a few years dropped literature for the most part in favor of sci-fi and movies, it was nice to read some more of the genre and see what people are doing these days. A well-crafted anthology like this one is a great way to start out. I’ll definitely check out more books in this series.