Bookshelf: The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera (2014)

51fYpUjvHKL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Year’s Best has a longish title, so I will abbreviate it. The title is also pretty direct and thorough; some of these stories are crunchy and technical military science fiction (e.g., Linda Nagata’s “Codename: Delphi”, which follows a “handler” through a day in her life monitoring the battlefield activity of multiple soldiers simultaneously, as well as her internal struggle to stay focused, stay committed, and even just stay), while others are freewheeling space opera (David D. Levine’s “The End of the Silk Road” is a full-on space-operatic PI story set on the lush jungle planet of Venus).

Closet hobby anthropologist and rooter for small peoples that I am, I should say that one of my person favorites in this collection is Derek Künsken’s “Persephone Descending,” about Quebec’s colonization of Venus and its exploration by the new coureurs des bois.

In addition to the stories themselves (universally excellent . . . hey, maybe the year’s best), this anthology boasts two fascinating historical introductions. David Afsharirad, taking as his springboard the perennial wail that the short story is dead, explores short fiction as one of the great roots of science fiction. Then David Drake writes an equally engaging history, tracing the development of military sf and space opera, from his perspective as a “fan.” From start to finish, this anthology is worth the price of admission.

Baen readers note: I’m part of the Baen family myself now, working on the edits to WITCHY EYE, the first in a forthcoming epic blackpowder fantasy trilogy.

All readers: TOMORROW (June 14, 2016) is my big press debut. Check out THE KIDNAP PLOT here.

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