The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020
Ed. by Diana Gabaldon; Series Editor John Joseph Adams
Anthologies necessarily take on the character of their editors, and live or die at their hands. This latest edition of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series, one of the best in recent years, is in the especially capable hands of Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, whose selections are complex, varied, and thoroughly accessible and enjoyable, even to non-genre fans.
They are also less overtly political than the previous two volumes in the series (especially 2018, but see my thoughts on the 2019 collection here). For Gabaldon it’s OK to have explicit political and social commentary – indeed, this is the bread and butter of most speculative fiction – but it should be “used as the springboard of the story, not the ultimate point. The stories are about real people, not animate megaphones.” This is advice that is followed in the best of the stories collected here, which although speculative still dramatically address issues, from race to crime to the writing of history, that are all in the news today.