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Year's Best SF #03: Year's Best SF 3by David G Hartwell
Synopses & Reviews
Roderick looked up at the sky. It was indeed blue, but almost cloudless. The air was hot and smelled of dust.
"Here, children. . ." The teaching cyborg was pointedly not addressing him. "--Tyranosaurus Rex. Rex was created by an inadequately socialized boy who employed six Build-a-Critter kits.
"--which he duped on his father's Copystuff. With that quantity of GroQik... - "
It had taken a day over two weeks, two truckloads of pigs that he had charged to Mother's account, and various other things that had become vague. For the last week, he had let Rex go out at night to see what he could find, and people would-people were bound to--notice the missing cattle soon. Had probably noticed them already.
Rex had looked out through the barn window while he was mooring his airbike and said, "I'm tired of hiding all day...
And he himself had said...
"Let's go for a ride." One of the little girls had raised her hand.
From the other side of the token barrier that confined him, Rex himself spoke for the first time, saying, "You will, kid. She's not quite through yet." His voice was a sort of growling tenor now, clearly forced upward as high as he could make it so as to seem less threatening. Roderick pushed on his suit's A-C and shivered a little.
It had been cool, that day. Cool, with a little breeze he had fought the whole way over, keeping his airbike below thetreetops and following groundtrucks when he could, pulled along by their wake.
Cold in the barn, then--cold and dusty--dust motes dancing in the sunbeams that stabbed between its old, bent, and battered aluminum panels.
Rex had crouched as he had before, but he was bigger now,bigger than ever, and his smooth reptilian skin had felt like glass, like ice under which oiled muscles stirred like snakes. He had fallen, and Rex had picked him up in the arms that looked so tiny on Rex but were bigger and stronger than a big man's arms, saying, "That's what these are for," and set him on Rex's shoulders with his legs--his legs--trying to wrap around Rex's thick, throbbing neck...
He had opened the big doors from inside, gone out almost crawling, and stood up.
It had not been the height. He had been higher on his airbike almost every day. It had not been his swift, swaying progress above the treetops-treetops arrayed in red, gold and green so that it seemed that he followed Rex's floating head over a lawn deep in fallen leaves.
It had been--
He shrugged the thought away. There were no adequate words. Power? You bought it at a drugstore, a shiny little disk that would run your house-bot for three or four more years, or your drill forever. Mastery) It was what people had held over dogs while private ownership had still been legal.
Dogs had four fangs in front, and that was it, fangs so small they did not even look dangerous. Rex had a mouthful, every one as long as Roderick's arm, in a mouth that could have chewed up an aircar.
No, it had not been the height. He had ridden over woods-this wood among them-often. Had ridden higher than this, yet heard the rustling of the leaves below him, the sound of a brook, an invisible brook of air. It had been the noise.
That was not right either, but it was closer than the others. It had been the snapping of the limbs and the crashing of the trees falling, or at least that had been a lot of it-the sound of theirprogress, the shattering, splintering wood. In part, at least, it had been the noise.
"He did a great deal of damage," the teaching cyborg was saying, as her female attendant nodded confirmation. "Much worse, he terrified literally hundreds of persons...."
Sitting on Rex's shoulders, he had been able to talk almost directly into Rex's ear. "Roar."
And Rex had roared to shake the earth.
"Keep on roaring."
And Rex had.
The red and white cattle Rex ate sometimes, so shortlegged they could scarcely move, had run away slowly only because they were too fat to run any faster, and one had gotten stepped on. People had run too, and Rex had kicked over a little pre-fab shed for the fun of it, and a tractor-bot. He'd waded hip-deep through the swamp without even slowing down and had forded the river. There were fewer building restrictions on the north side of the river, and the people there had really run.
Had run except for one old man with a bushy mustache, who had only stood and stared pop-eyed, too old to run, Roderick thought, or maybe too scared. He had looked down at the old man and waved; and their eyes had met, and suddenly--just as if the top of the old man's head had popped up so he could look around inside it--he had known what the old man was thinking.
Not guessed, known.
And the old man had been thinking that when he had been Roderick's age he had wanted to do exactly what Roderick was doing now. He had never been able to, and had never thought anybody would be. But somebody was. That kid up there in the polka-dot shirt was. So he, the old man, had been wrong about the whole world all his life. It was much more wonderful, this old world, than he, the old man, hadever supposed.
Enjoy today's most awesome and innovative science fiction, chosen by acclaimed editor David G. Hartwell from the best short fiction published over the last year.
Like its two distinguished processors, Year's Best SF 3 is a cybercopia of astonishing stories from familiar favorites and rising stars, all calculated to blow your mind, scorch your, senses, erase your inhibitions, and reinitialize your intelligence.
With stories from:
Gregory Benford, Terry Bisson, Greg Egan, William Gibson, Nancy Kress, Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe and more...
A collection of the best science fiction stories of 1997, handpicked by David Hartwell, one of the most respected editors in the field.
Building on the Success of the First Two Volumes, here are the finest SF stories of 1997, filled with visions of tomorrow and yesterday, of the strange and the familiar, of the unknown and the unknowable. Gathered together by the esteemed SF editor David Hartwell, this collection features the giants in the genre, along with dazzling new writers. The only "year's best" science fiction collection available in the affordable mass market paperback format, this series has drawn consistent praise from reviewers for its sterling selection of stories. Whether you are looking for the latest work from famous bestsellers or the hot new talent in the field, this third book in the series is an indispensable volume for every science fiction fan.
"Thoroughly enjoyable...provides a rich jolt of good fiction". — Locus
About the Author
David G. Hartwell is a Senior Editor at Tor/Forge Books. He is the proprietor of Dragon Press, publisher and bookseller, which publishes The New York Review of Science Fiction. He is the author of Age of Wonders and the editor of many anthologies, including The Dark Descent, Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment, The World Treasury of Science Fiction, Northern Stars, The Ascent of Wonder (co-edited with Kathryn Cramer), and a number of Christmas anthologies. Recently he edited his sixth annual paperback volume of Year's Best SF and co-edited the new Year's Best Fantasy. He has won the Eaton Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Science Fiction Chronicle Poll and has been nominated for the Hugo Award twenty-four times to date.
Table of Contents
Petting zoo / Gene Wolfe — The wisdom of old earth / Michael Swanwick — The firefly tree / Jack Williamson — Thirteen views of a cardboard city / William Gibson — The nostalginauts / S.N. Dyer — Guest law / John C. Wright — The voice / Gregory Benford — Yeyuka / Greg Egan — An office romance / Terry Bisson — Itsy bitsy spider / James Patrick Kelly — Beauty in the night / Robert Silverberg — Mr. Pale / Ray Bradbury — The pipes of Pan / Brian Stableford — Always true to thee, in my fashion / Nancy Kress — Canary land / Tom Purdom — Universal emulators / Tom Cool — Fair Verona / R. Garcia y Robertson — Great western / Kim Newman — Turnover / Geoffrey A. Landis — The Mendelian lamp case / Paul Levinson — Kiss me / Katherine MacLean — London bone / Michael Moorcock.
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