The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2

Excerpt from "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu One of my earliest memories starts with me sobbing. I refused to be soothed no matter what Mom and Dad tried. Dad gave up and left the bedroom, but Mom took me into the kitchen and sat me down at the breakfast table. " Kan, kan, " she said, as she pulled a sheet of wrapping paper from on top of the fridge. For years, Mom carefully sliced open the wrappings around Christmas gifts and saved them on top of the fridge in a thick stack. She set the paper down, plain side facing up, and began to fold it. I stopped crying and watched her, curious. She turned the paper over and folded it again. She pleated, packed, tucked, rolled, and twisted until the paper disappeared between her cupped hands. Then she lifted the folded-up paper packet to her mouth and blew into it, like a balloon. " Kan, " she said. " Laohu ." She put her hands down on the table and let go. A little paper tiger stood on the table, the size of two fists placed together. The skin of the tiger was the pattern on the wrapping paper, white background with red candy canes and green Christmas trees. I reached out to Mom's creation. Its tail twitched, and it pounced playfully at my finger. " Rawrr-sa, " it growled, the sound somewhere between a cat and rustling newspapers. I laughed, startled, and stroked its back with an index finger. The paper tiger vibrated under my finger, purring. " Zhe jiao zhezhi, " Mom said. This is called origami. I didn't know this at the time, but Mom's kind was special. She breathed into them so that they shared her breath, and thus moved with her life. This was her magic.

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By Bob (Niagara Falls, ON, Canada) · ★★★☆☆ · July 17, 2014
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2, edited by Gordon Van Gelder, brings together 432 pages of stories from throughout the magazine's illustrious history. This was more a matter of revisiting some classics than discovering new favorites, but that doesn't make it any less of a... ...more
By Andi (Bristol, CT) · ★★★★☆ · December 12, 2014
3.5 stars.

A slightly obsessed fan of Stephen King I will admit that I read this anthology solely for his story. There are a lot of stories in this anthology so I will try to narrow it down to just the ones that either stuck with or annoyed me.

The ones I liked:

The New York Times at Special Bargai... ...more
By Yzabel (Edinburgh, The United Kingdom) · ★★★☆☆ · July 28, 2014
(I got a copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5 stars for this collection of 27 stories, some of which are funny and grotesque, some others dark and disturbing.

Strangely, I didn't feel that much of a connection with a lot of those. Maybe I've become picky after a... ...more
By Althea (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · August 02, 2014
3.48 average... I'll round up to 4.
This collection finishes a lot stronger than it starts. (No, I don't think that decades past were devoid of great fiction; I just don't think that all the older selections here were as strong as they could've been.) Still, there are some real gems here - and ove... ...more
By Lasa · ★★★★★ · January 19, 2015
Great to read up the decades (1950's into the 2000's) and see styles change. Definitely worth it for that. Also for Harlan Ellison's 'Jeffty is Five', and 'The Lincoln Train' by Maureen F. McHugh -- loved loved loved that one. Also good, 'Have Not Have' by Geoff Ryman, 'The People of Sand and Sla... ...more
By Michael (Phoenix, AZ) · ★★★★☆ · July 30, 2014
This was originally reviewed at my blog "Relentlessly Reading - And Writing About It". Check it out for more reviews.

In 2009 Tachyon paid tribute to "The Magazine Fantasy & Science Fiction" magazine's 60th anniversary with The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, an exquisite antholog... ...more
By Metaphorosis · ★★★☆☆ · June 14, 2014

3.5 stars

A second volume of F&SF's best, as selected by its current editor.

Any anthology that starts with Jack Finney can't be all bad, even if it is one of Finney's weaker stories. There's a slew of other good authors in here as well (though again not always with thei... ...more
By Laura · ★★★★★ · October 09, 2014
My father used to get this magazine and he would have to hide it from me or I would read it first and then stash it in my room. When I got older and moved out, I had my own subscription but that was ages ago. I was so happy to have seen this book at the library because I knew that it would contai... ...more
By Mike (Auckland, New Zealand) · ★★★★☆ · June 20, 2014
I read the first volume (The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, published 2009) before I tackled this one. It's only been five years, but I detected a darkening of the tone. Maybe I'm imagining it, maybe it's just me, but it seemed to me that the earlier v... ...more
By Daniel (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · June 25, 2014
I received a free electronic advanced reading copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Compiling any collection with the title "Best of" is never an easy task, the category is just too subjective, particularly in something like the arts and a short story coll... ...more