The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021
Ed. by Veronica Roth; Series Editor John Joseph Adams

COVID-19 feels like it’s been with us for so long, it actually comes as a bit of a surprise that this is the first Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy with stories published during the pandemic.

It was over the past year that we seemed to enter a world of science-fiction. Editor Veronica Roth, author of the popular Divergent series, introduces her selection of twenty of the year’s best SF&F stories by tying them in to this changed environment, taking as her starting point the line that there’s nothing as surreal as reality.

Roth doesn’t bring a particular angle to this instalment of what has become the foremost SF annual, but rather shares a vision of speculative fiction as “a playground of big ideas, a series of ‘what if?’ scenarios.” The line between SF and fantasy gets blurry in places, but underlying most of the stories is the question of coping with suddenly changed circumstances, whether it be surviving a pandemic or battling a giant crawfish. A lot of different ground is covered but there are plenty of strong entries, with “Brother Rifle” by Daryl Gregory standing out as one of the best takes on the mind-machine interface yet.

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