Last year’s sci-fi was more genre-bending than ever.


Best American science fiction and fantasy 2022The 20 best fantasy and science fiction stories of the past year have a wide range of characters and settings. Guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse made the final selections for this year’s volume.

“This is not your father’s collection of science fiction and fantasy,” Roanhorse says in episode 538. The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast. “I’m excited to see what people are writing and where the genre is going and what new voices are available and pushing boundaries and still telling universal stories.”

P. Jelly Clarke’s genre-bending “Martians Have Magic” features Haitian priests fighting foreign invaders. World war. “I always think my stories are weird,” Clarke says. “This is normal. I always think ‘this story is going to be weird’ because I throw whatever I want out there. And a lot of people say, ‘Well, wait a minute. It’s an invasion of Mars, what’s a Haitian Vodun priest doing in there?, if I knew more people thought that was a little weird, I’d want to do more.

Series editor John Joseph Adams read thousands of stories to compile a long list of potential candidates. One of the stories in his book, “The Algorithm Now Sees You,” by Justin C. Key, was just a clipping, to be published in an anthology. Important: The future of health care on Dec. 31. “It’s a small press, and I don’t know if they understand what they’re doing by literally releasing it on the last day of the year, for award eligibility reasons and, for example, for this, I could have easily missed it,” says Adams. “I’m glad I didn’t, obviously.”

The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Host David Barr Kirtley was particularly impressed by the story “Erase Your First Memory Free” by Kyle Coleman, which deals with the theme of memory erasure, an idea explored in science fiction films. Total memory And Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind.

“I can’t think of anything other than ‘Erase your first memory for free,'” Kirtley said. “I think the natural way of the story is that if you destroy your mistakes and destroy your pain, you’re destroying yourself and what makes you human and what makes you an individual, so it was a novel. A treatment for thinking ‘maybe this is good’.

Listen to the full interview with Rebecca Roanhorse, P.Jelly Clark and John Joseph Adams in episode 538. The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (on top of). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

David Barr Kirtley on “Skinnar’s Veil” by Kelly Link:

The basic setup is that there’s this brave student, and a friend of his is looking after this house in remote Vermont, and she has a family emergency and asks if he can cover for her. He agreed and went up to this house, and she gave him these instructions that the owner of the house had many friends, and that if they appeared at the back door he should let them in and leave them alone. Do whatever you want. But the owner can come, and he will come to the front door, and he will not be allowed to enter the house under any circumstances. So this is a very, very unusual, interesting set-up, and what I’m reading is, when you create a puzzle like that—why couldn’t you get the owner into the house—it makes you want to read on. Find out the story and what’s going on.

P. Jelly Clarke on Stephen Graham Jones’ “I Was a Teenage Space Jockey”:

I grew up in the 80s, so I remember a lot. [arcade games]. Every time I read Stephen’s story, I think the same. The last star fighterBecause most of it is based on the arcade games that were developed in the 80s. And yes, I was on the playground. Now, I never had a bullying problem. Bullies didn’t last long in my neighborhood, that’s all I have to say. If you were a bully in my neighborhood, you wouldn’t last long. There was no such pecking order. If you decided to “take the bully’s job” it would be hard on you. There were things I would see on TV, and I would say, “Look at these bullies. These are interesting creatures.”

John Joseph Adams in Science Fiction vs. fantasy:

We want [The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy] We want to be equally attractive to both people who say they like science fiction and people who say they like fantasy, and so we want to have 50/50. But at that time there are these stories that affect both things, they can be both, or they can be both. And how do you count those when you squeeze them into the gaps? All in all, a little drop of fantasy in a story that is completely science fiction makes it a nightmare. It’s just that the fantasy is so powerful – there is so much magic in that drop of fantasy – that it turns the whole story into a fantasy. Because science fiction is speculative and theoretically possible based on actual, available scientific knowledge, and so when you fall into magic, everything is affected by this illusion.

Rebecca Roanhorse on “All the Children Boogie” by Sam J. Miller:

I feel like this story captures that awkward time in adolescence when you’re trying to figure out who you are, and everything is sticky and new, and music is the balm in your life… I think that’s what you feel in adolescence. These songs are so emotionally deep for me, because I’m trying to find the words to figure out who I am and what my identity is, and these artists seem to have some kind of insight into life. A teenager. So I thought this story was very effective. I thought it was so, so cool, I thought about that moment in time and what it feels like, and how strong that friendship can be, or that romantic love, and how someone like David Bowie, of all people, can capture that. In a way that you can’t describe yourself.

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