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Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Collections and Anthologies of 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

slipping-lauren-beukes-small a-natural-history-of-hell-jeffrey-ford-small hwarhath-stories-small

One of the reasons I love the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog? Because they split up their Best of the Year selections into multiple lists. Why would anyone do that? To cram in more books! Duh.

Their second such list this year is The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Collections and Anthologies of 2016, selected by their editors and jotted down for us by Joel Cunningham. It includes books by Ken Liu, Patricia A. McKillip, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, Greg Bear, Eleanor Arnason, Gardner Dozois, Michael Swanwick, and many more. Titles such as Slipping: Stories, Essays, and Other Writing, by Lauren Beukes (Tachyon Publications, November).

In two lean, lethal sci-fi novels and two murderous, fantasy-tinged mainstream thrillers, Lauren Beukes has become one of the most exciting voices in genre writing to emerge over the last decade. Now, she’s released her first collection of short fiction, she brings the same verve for black humor, sharp satire, and mind-altering tech to stories of living artwork attacking Tokyo, corporate raids on other worlds, tears that mysteriously fall upward, and near-future marketing schemes in which brand loyalty becomes entirely literal. Standout stories: “Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs,” “Ghost Girl”

And there’s a fine shout-out for A Natural History of Hell (Small Beer Press, July), by Black Gate author Jeffrey Ford.

Jeffrey Ford is probably writing your dreams. It’s the best way to describe his surreal style, which frequently relies on an internal structure and logic to convey images that teeter between odd fantasy and unsettling horror, while remaining impossibly grounded in a tangible reality. A Natural History of Hell (out in July) goes to some odd places, with genre-bending stories about artists trapped on a rocket ship, imaginary serial murderers, and God being torn apart by an angry mob, but it leaves plenty of room for beauty, however dark. It also contains one of my personal favorite stories from last year, “Word Doll,” in which children are lured into a world of make-believe. If you’re looking for something you haven’t seen before, look no further than these 13 stories. Standout stories: “A Rocket Ship to Hell,” “The Blameless”

And Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens, by Eleanor Arnason (Aqueduct Press, May).

Collected for the first time, these stories are a few decades old at this point, but no less powerful or imaginative for it. Ostensibly taken from the stories of an alien race known as the Hwarhath (people), the only other intelligent species encountered by humanity, and translated for our consumption, these anthropological tales explore different aspects of a fictional culture in fascinating ways, from their creation myths to their attitudes about sex and love. Legendary editor Gardner Dozois called these “some of the best stories published by anybody during the last two decades,” and we tend to agree.

Plus eighteen more! Check out the complete list here.

The People in the Castle-smallWe weren’t completely asleep at Black Gate this year, and in fact we covered more than half of the fine volumes on this list recently.

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, by Ken Liu
The People in the Castle, by Joan Aiken
Dreams of Distant Shores, by Patricia A. McKillip
Not So Much, Said the Cat, by Michael Swanwick
The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation, by Ken Liu
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and John Joseph Adams
Iraq +100, edited by Hassan Blasim
People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim
What The #@&% Is That? edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen

Interested in hearing more about the best books of the year? Black Gate has you covered. Here’s our picks for the top lists so far.

Amazon Selects the Best Books of 2016
Kirkus Selects the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Novels of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Horror Books of 2016
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Collections and Anthologies of 2016

See all our coverage of the best New Treasures here.

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