And now back to the catching-up. First in the queue we have New Skies, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden. This is an anthology of short science fiction designed for the teen market but readable by anyone—indeed, I strongly recommend it to anyone like me who isn’t opposed to the general concept of short science fiction, but doesn’t subscribe to the magazines or buy every yearly anthology to keep up with it. New Skies is a compact collection of excellent stories of the last twenty-odd years.
Like Chad, there were only two stories I wasn’t crazy about. I was also underwhelmed by Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars,” and the Orson Scott Card story, “Salvage,” is probably just not my kind of thing. The rest were all very good indeed. What’s more, the best of the stories should dispell any qualms that this is a fluffy kiddie anthology: “fluffy” cannot be applied to any collection with Connie Willis’s “A Letter from the Clearys,” David Langford’s “Different Kinds of Darkness,” or Nancy Kress’s “Out of All Them Bright Stars.”
I have a tendency to feel vaguely guilty that I don’t read more short fiction. Reading this year’s Hugo nominees actually reduced that guilt somewhat, because I found them a distinctly mixed bag. While I’ll probably try to keep up with award nominees in the future, I feel better knowing that in the meantime, PNH has shaken out much of the best recent stuff and distilled it into handy book format for my enjoyment.