Home > The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016
Author: Karen Joy Fowler


 

“Rat Catcher’s Yellows” by Charlie Jane Anders. First published in Press Start to Play, Vintage Books, August 2015.  © 2015 by Charlie Jane Anders. Reprinted by permission of Charlie Jane Anders.

“Lightning Jack’s Last Ride” by Dale Bailey. First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2015.  © 2015 by Dale Bailey. Reprinted by permission of the author.

“The Great Silence” by Ted Chiang. First published in e-flux journal.  © 2015 by Ted Chiang. Reprinted by permission of Ted Chiang.

“Three Bodies at Mitanni” by Seth Dickinson. First published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2015.  © 2015 by Seth Dickinson. Reprinted by permission of Seth Dickinson.

“The Thirteen Mercies” by Maria Dahvana Headley. First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2015.  © 2015 by Maria Dahvana Headley. Reprinted by permission of Maria Dahvana Headley.

“By Degrees and Dilatory Time” by S. L. Huang. First published in Strange Horizons, May 18, 2015.  © 2015 by S. L. Huang. Reprinted by permission of S. L. Huang.

“Interesting Facts” by Adam Johnson. First published in Harper’s Magazine, June 2015. From Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson.  © 2015 by Adam Johnson. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Penguin Random House LLC for permission.

“The Apartment Dweller’s Beastiary” by Kij Johnson. First published in Clarkesworld Magazine, January 2015.  © 2015 by Kij Johnson. Reprinted by permission of the author.

“Things You Can Buy for a Penny” by Will Kaufman. First published in Lightspeed Magazine, February 2015.  © 2015 by Will Kaufman. Reprinted by permission of Lightspeed Magazine.

“The Game of Smash and Recovery” by Kelly Link. First published in Strange Horizons, October 17, 2015, and reprinted in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten (Solaris Books) and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 33rd Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press).  © 2015 by Kelly Link. Reprinted by permission of Kelly Link.

“The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” by Sam J. Miller. First published in Uncanny Magazine, Jan/Feb 2015.  © 2015 by Sam J. Miller. Reprinted by permission of Sam J. Miller.

“The Daydreamer by Proxy” by Dexter Palmer. First published in The Bestiary, Centipede Press, Cheeky Frawg Books, December 2015.  © 2015 by Dexter Palmer. Reprinted by permission of Dexter Palmer.

“The Duniazát,” adapted from the book Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights for The New Yorker, June 1, 2015.  © 2015 by Salman Rushdie. From Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel by Salman Rushdie. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Penguin Random House LLC for permission.

“Meet Me in Iram” by Sofia Samatar. First published in Meet Me In Iram/Those Are Pearls.  © 2015 by Sofia Samatar. Reprinted by permission of Sofia Samatar.

“Ambiguity Machines: An Examination” by Vandana Singh. First published on Tor, April 29, 2015.  © 2015 by Vandana Singh. Reprinted by permission of Vandana Singh.

“Headshot” by Julian Mortimer Smith. First published in Terraform, March 2, 2015.  © 2015 by Julian Mortimer Smith. Reprinted by permission of the author.

“Tea Time” by Rachel Swirsky. First published in Lightspeed Magazine, December 2015.  © 2015 by Rachel Swirsky. Reprinted by permission of Lightspeed Magazine.

“Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente. First published in Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2015.  © 2015 by Catherynne M. Valente. Reprinted by permission of Catherynne M. Valente.

“No Placeholder for You, My Love” by Nick Wolven. First published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, August 2015.  © 2015 by Nick Wolven. Reprinted by permission of the author.

“The Mushroom Queen” by Liz Ziemska. First published in Tin House, No. 63.  © 2015 by Liz Ziemska. Reprinted by permission of Liz Ziemska.

 

 

Foreword


WELCOME TO YEAR TWO of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy! This volume presents the best science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) short stories published during the 2015 calendar year as selected by myself and guest editor Karen Joy Fowler.

To say 2015 was a busy year for me is perhaps the understatement of all understatements. In addition to serving as the series editor for this volume, for which I read thousands of stories annually, I also read hundreds of books in my capacity as a judge for the National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category (much of which was SF/F). Late in the year, I also agreed to launch John Joseph Adams Books, a new SF/F imprint for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (the publishers of this fine anthology). In addition to all of that, I edited and published two monthly genre magazines (Lightspeed and Nightmare), had six anthologies published (including the 2015 BASFF), and produced The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast for Wired.

The fact that I still find myself continuing to say yes to taking on new projects—to essentially filling all my waking hours with nonstop science fiction and fantasy—is a testament to the vitality of the field, and to the wonder and passion it inspires.

And all of that wonder and passion is on full display in this year’s BASFF selections.

There is always some element of the unknown going into any editorial collaboration; even though on the surface two people might seem to have editorial tastes that line up well, in practice it’s not always the case. Fortunately that was of no consequence during the assembling of BASFF 2016, as our guest editor, Karen Joy Fowler, and I turned out to have exceedingly similar tastes in SF/F. In the end, our collaboration was, for me, not only a painless experience but a richly rewarding one.

That may come as something of a surprise to those of you who perhaps know Karen only as the author of mainstream bestsellers and the winner of major literary prizes like the PEN/Faulkner Award. But though Karen now runs among the rarified halls of the literary elite, her forays into publishing started with genre fiction, with her first short stories appearing in core SF/F markets like Asimov’s Science Fiction (then called Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Interzone, among others, before she eventually transitioned to writing mainstream literary novels like The Jane Austen Book Club and before that Sister Noon. Truth be told, however, even her first novel, Sarah Canary, clearly prophesied the direction her career would take and would return to post–Book Club. And her subsequent novels Wit’s End and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, though generally considered mainstream novels, both bear the hallmarks of being written by someone intimately acquainted with genre fiction.

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