Future Treasures: The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020, edited by Rich Horton

Future Treasures: The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020, edited by Rich Horton

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020,
edited by Rich Horton (Prime Books, June 2021). Cover by Argus

The print version of Rich Horton’s 12th Year’s Best volume was delayed roughly six months by the pandemic, and it finally arrives next week. The delay was a little frustrating for those of us who look forward to this book every year, but considering how deeply the pandemic impacted the publishing world overall, I figure it could have been a lot worse. (The digital version has been available since December, but I remain stubbornly a print guy.)

Rich’s introductions to the early volumes belonged to the get-out-of-the-way-and let-the-fiction-do-the-talking school, but over the years they’ve loosened up a bit, and this year’s is one of his best, a lively and thoughtful look at the impact of this very eventful year on science fiction, and some thoughts on famous genre pandemic fiction. Here’s part of his comments on the tales within.

This book contains several stories involved with contemporary issues. Radical income inequality — or, I suppose, just the crimes of the rich — is a subject in each of E. Lily Yu’s “Green Glass: A Love Story” and Michael Swanwick’s “Cloud.” Race, and in particular the US’ torn history, is treated in John Kessel’s gleefully nasty “Fix That House!” and in Maurice Broaddus’ soaring “The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor.” Environmental decay is not obviously the driver behind any of these stories, though perhaps it explains the situation in Alex Nevala-Lee’s “At the Fall.” The dark legacy of colonialism is the engine driving the rage in Shiv Ramdas’ “And Now His Lordship is Laughing.” Debbie Urbanski’s “How to Kiss a Hojacki” is a complex story raising many questions, but surely the sometimes terrible gulf between men and women, and the failure of some men to even acknowledge a woman’s agency, is central,

And then — and then there are a great many stories that aren’t ripped from the headlines! That doesn’t mean they aren’t stories of our day — of course they are!

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020 contains no fewer than 36 stories. Here’s the complete TOC.

“The Savannah Problem” by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog, 1-2/19)
“Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing” by Andy Dudak (Analog, 1-2/19)
“Empty Box” by Allison Mulvihill (Analog, 11-12/19)
“At the Fall” by Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog, 5-6/19)
“Anosognosia” by John Crowley (And Go Like This)
“Tourists” by Rammel Chan (Asimov’s, 3-4/19)
“At the Old Wooden Synagogue on Janower Street” by Michael Libling (Asimov’s, 9-10/19)
“The Ocean Between the Leaves” by Ray Nayler (Asimov’s, 7-8/19)
“Cloud” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, 11-12/19)
“Cloud-Born” by Gregory Feeley (Clarkesworld, 11/19)
“Give the Family My Love” by A.T. Greenblatt (Clarkesworld, 02/2019)
“Tick Tock” by Xia Jia (Clarkesworld, 5/19)
“The Visible Frontier” by Grace Seybold (Clarkesworld, 07/2019)
“Secret Stories of Doors” by Sofia Rhei (Everything is Made of Letters)
“miscellaneous notes from the time an alien came to band camp disguised as my alto sax” by Tina Connolly (F&SF, 3-4/19)
“Mighty are the Meek and the Myriad” by Cassandra Khaw (F&SF, 7-8/19)
“Shucked” by Sam J. Miller (F&SF, 11-12/19)
“How to Kiss a Hojacki” by Debbie Urbanski (F&SF, 5-6/19)
“Green Glass: A Love Story” by E. Lily Yu (If This Goes On, edited by Cat Rambo)
“Fix That House!” by John Kessel (Interzone, 9-10/19)
“Ink, and Breath, and Spring” by Frances Rowat (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, 11/19)
“The Death of Fire Station 10” by Ray Nayler (Lightspeed, 10/19)
“The Archronology of Love” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, 04/19)
“The Fine Print” by Chinelo Onwualu, (New Suns, edited by Nisi Shawl)
“The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations” by Minsoo Kang (New Suns, edited by Nisi Shawl)
“Bark, Blood, and Sacrifice” by Alexandra Seidel (Not One of Us, 10/19)
“Mnemosyne” by Catherine MacLeod (On Spec, 04/19)
“A Country Called Winter” by Theodora Goss (Snow White Learns Witchcraft)
“And Now His Lordship is Laughing” by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 09/20/19)
“The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear” by Kelly Link (Tin House, Summer 2019)
“The Hundredth House Had No Walls” by Laurie Penny (Tor.com, 09/11/19)
“Knowledgeable Creatures” by Christopher Rowe (Tor.com, 03/06/19)
“Vis Delendi” by Marie Brennan (Uncanny, 3-4/19)
“The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor” by Maurice Broaddus (Uncanny, 7-8/19)
“A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny, 1-2/19)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2020 was published by Prime Books in digital format on December 22, 2020; the print edition arrives June 22. It is 576 pages, priced at $19.95 trade/$6.99 digital. The cover is by Argus.

See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming SF & Fantasy here.

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Rich Horton

Actually that is one of my personal favorites among my introduction. I think I pretty much nailed it for once!

Eugene R.

Interesting choice to organize the TOC by story source/original publication, giving us a way to gauge where the best stories are being published these days.

Rich Horton

I’m reading Lawrence Block’s collection of early stories, ONE NIGHT STANDS AND LOST WEEKENDS, and he arranged the TOC in alphabetical order by title.

silentdante

i need this in my eyes please

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