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Launching in June: The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera edited by David Afsharirad

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year's Best Military SF and Space Opera-smallI count no less than nine Best New SF, Fantasy and Horror volumes on the market today. We’ve already covered four of the more interesting titles coming later this year:

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine, edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 12)
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015, edited by Paula Guran (June 24)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, edited by John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill (October 6)
Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume Two, edited by Kathe Koja (October)

and I’ll be reporting on some of the others in the coming weeks.

Still, I was intrigued to see Baen is launching a brand new volume with a very specific focus early this summer. The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera will be edited by David Afsharirad, and promises to be the first of its kind — a Best of the Year volume exclusively devoted to military and adventure SF tales. I enjoy adventure SF, and I especially enjoy Space Opera with pulp sensibilities. And that seems to be exactly what this volume has in mind, going by the blurb.

With an introduction by best-selling military science fiction author David Drake and selected by editor David Afsharirad from the top short story markets in the field, here are the most thrilling, pulse-pounding, and thought-provoking stories of the past year. Stories of future military men and women, space opera on a grand scale, and edge-of-your-seat adventure tales in the pulp tradition, from giants of the genre to brilliant up-and-comers.

I’m not familiar with editor David Afsharirad. This is his first book, and his only previous credit seems to be a single short story in Hildy Silverman’s Space and Time magazine back in 2011. Still, I’m willing to give him a shot.

I read David D. Levine’s contribution, “The End of the Silk Road,” when it appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (which we discussed here). On his blog, David talks about the story, and another interesting aspect of the book — one story from the The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera will be chosen (by reader vote) as the Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Story, with an award to be presented at DragonCon in August 2015.

“The End of the Silk Road” is “Venus noir,” in the mold of C. L. Moore’s “Northwest Smith” stories, with froggy Venusians, a damaged protagonist, love, guns, and betrayal. It’s set in the same universe as my forthcoming novel Arabella of Mars, but where that book takes place on Mars in 1813, this story is set on Venus in 1936. It isn’t “military” in the least, so I assume the title of the anthology is to be read as Year’s Best (Military SF) and (Space Opera) rather than Year’s Best Military (SF and Space Opera).

The Year’s Best Military Science Fiction and Space Opera, the first in what Baen hopes will be an annual series, will be published as an ebook on May 16, 2015 and in paperback on June 2, 2015. It already has a cover and preorder pages at Amazon and Powell’s.

Baen will also be using the book as a ballot for a new readers’ choice award, to be presented at DragonCon. Voting will be done via online poll. More details as I have them!

The book collects tales from a range of top-notch publications, including Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Baen.com, Galaxy’s Edge, and Asimov’s, as well as several anthologies. Contributors include Linda Nagata (twice), David D. Levine, Brad R. Torgersen, Charlie Jane Anders, Matthew Johnson, Michael Z. Williamson, Holly Black — and Black Gate‘s own Derek Künsken.

Here’s the complete table of contents.

Preface by David Afsharirad
Excitement! Adventure! Science Fiction! My Personal Look at Space Opera and Military SF by David Drake
“Codename: Delphi” by Linda Nagata (Lightspeed, April 2014)
“Persephone Descending” by Derek Künsken (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2014)
“The End of the Silk Road” by David D. Levine (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2014)
“Picket Ship” by Brad R. Torgersen (Baen.com, September 2014)
“Decaying Orbit” by Robert R. Chase (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2014)
“Morrigan in the Sunglare” by Seth Dickinson (Clarkesworld, March 2014)
“Light and Shadow” by Linda Nagata (War Stories: New Military Science Fiction)
“Icarus at Noon” by Eric Leif Davin (Galaxy’s Edge, May/June 2014)
“Soft Casualty” Michael Z. Williamson (Baen.com, April 2014)
“Palm Strike’s Last Case” by Charlie Jane Anders (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2014)
“Brood” by Stephen Gaskell (Extreme Planets)
“Stealing Arturo” by William Ledbetter (Baen.com, February 2014)
“Rules of Engagement” by Matthew Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2014)
“Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)” by Holly Black (Monstrous Affections)
“War Dog” by Michael Barretta (War Stories: New Military Science Fiction)

The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera will be published by Baen Books on June 2, 2015. It is 576 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $8.99 in digital format. Get more details, and read the Preface by David Afsharirad, David Drake’s intro, and excerpts from several of the stories at Baen’s website.

See all of our updates on upcoming books here.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Nine, edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 12) Best British Horror 2015, edited by Johnny Mains (May 25) The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera, edited by David Afsharirad (June 2) The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas: 2015 […]

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