The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Eight

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Eight, edited by Jonathan Strahan, is out now from Solaris.

Table of Contents:

Some Desperado by Joe Abercrombie (Dangerous Women)                    TheBesy Science Fiction and Fantasy volume 8
Zero for Conduct by Greg Egan (Twelve Tomorrows)
Effigy Nights by Yoon Ha Lee (Clarkesworld)
Rosary and Goldenstar by Geoff Ryman (F&SF)
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Rags and Bones)
Cave and Julia by M. John Harrison (Kindle Singles)
The Herons of Mer de l’Ouest by M Bennardo (Lightspeed)
Water by Ramez Naam (An Aura of Familiarity)
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com)
Cherry Blossoms on the River of Souls by Richard Parks (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Rag and Bone by Priya Sharma (Tor.com)
The Book Seller by Lavie Tidhar (Interzone)
The Sun and I by K J Parker (Subterranean)
The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly (Clarkesworld)
The Master Conjurer by Charlie Jane Anders (Lightspeed)
The Pilgrim and the Angel by E. Lily Yu (McSweeney’s 45)
Entangled by Ian R Macleod (Asimov’s)
Fade to Gold by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (End of the Road)Rag and Bone. Illustrated by John Jude Palencar
Selkies Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons)
In Metal, In Bone by An Owomoyela (Eclipse Online)
Kormack the Lucky by Eleanor Arnason (F&SF)
Sing by Karin Tidbeck (Tor.com)
Social Services by Madeline Ashby (An Aura of Familiarity)
The Road of Needles by Caitlín R Kiernan (Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales)
Mystic Falls by Robert Reed (Clarkesworld)
The Queen of Night’s Aria by Ian McDonald (Old Mars)
The Irish Astronaut” by Val Nolan (Electric Velocipede)

Again, I’m indebted to Ellen Datlow, who took “Rag and Bone” for Tor and to Jonathan Strahan. Also a big thanks to the award winnning artist, John Jude Palencar, for the tremendous illustration that accompanied the story on the Tor website. If you are interested in his process, he did a great post here.

If you want to know more about how the story evolved, I did a post on it as part of The Next Big Thing.

***

Rag and Bone by Priya Sharma is simply awesome. Dark, mysterious and daring, without for a second losing its firm footing on the ground of the world we live, or have lived in. In a subtly alternate past (perhaps the early 1920s?) in Liverpool, England, we meet Tom, who works for one of the wealthy dynasties who rule over the impoverished populace with impunity. Tom’s macabre role, we soon learn, is to collect blood and bone samples from healthy young people in order to find suitable subjects for a mysterious medical revival required by the ageing heads of the rich families. With love, violence and politics intermingling in a tale full of visual detail and emotional realism, Sharma swept me along to her surprising and powerful conclusion. If you only try one story, try this one. Nerds of a feather, flock together

I first encountered Priya Sharma within the Alt Hist anthologies edited by Mark Lord. I thought her work good in there and this short story impressed me massively. The story features a rag and bone man in the very truest sense, is set in a dystopian Liverpool where human flesh has a sale price and the poor sell what they have to keep the rich healthy, rather like the Victorians did with teeth over a hundred years ago. It was reminiscent of Orwell (which I seem to say often but I believe 1984 is that influential) and in so few pages managed to evoke so many feelings. Fantasy Book Review

Rag and Bone by Priya Sharma – Oh, well played! This is a nicely Victorian fantasy piece with a strong side of nearly Lovecraftian horror. There is a twist at the end, and I never saw it coming, which was nice. The other twist was fully telegraphed, but still executed smoothly. I would have a lot of interest in seeing this expanded into a novel. It is that good. On Wings of Imagination

Priya Sharma’s Rag and Bone is a highly unusual historical fantasy set in Liverpool. It involves rich people who believe human remains can prolong their lives, and are willing to pay for them, gender swapping, and a tough and tender love story at its core. This felt to me like it should have been ( or should be) a novel – almost taking on too much in such a short space. But if Priya writes the novel version, I’ll definitely be picking it up. Adventures in SciFi Publishing

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Eight

  1. Ray Cluley says:

    ‘Rag and Bone’ is a cracking story, so glad to see it in here!

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