The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023

Mariner. Oct. 2023. 320p. ed. by R.F. Kuang & John Joseph Adams. ISBN 9780063315747. pap. $18.99. SF
The 20 stories in this collection draw from both science fiction and fantasy, sometimes at the same time, even as the themes range from classic tropes to near futures ripped from today’s headlines. On the fantasy side, “The Six Deaths of the Saint” by Alix E. Harrow is a haunting mobius strip of a story, while “Pellargonia: A Letter to the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology” by Theodora Goss rides the line between fantasy and SF when a group of teens deals with the consequences of fully creating a fictional country that becomes real and influences the world. Two frighteningly prescient SF tales, “Rabbit Test” by Samantha Mills and “The CRISPR Cookbook” by MKRNYILGLD, take readers down the rabbit hole of future restrictions on bodily autonomy, while “Murder by Pixel” by S.L. Huang looks into just how toxic AI chatbots can get and who might have made them that way.
VERDICT Although all of the stories here have been previously published, this is always a much anticipated collection, and readers of SF/F in short form will be glad to have so many standout stories, some already award-winners, in a single volume.
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