Strahan Reveals ToC for Best SFF Volume 12

Editor Jonathan Strahan has announced the table of contents for his Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 12 with stories from 2017. He said:

As anthologists always do, I wish I’d had more space to include other stories that I loved published during the year, especially novellas, but I think that these selections are very strong.

  • “The Mocking Tower”, Daniel Abraham (The Book of Swords)
  • “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue”, Charlie Jane Anders (Boston Review)
  • “Probably Still the Chosen One”, Kelly Barnhill (Lightspeed)
  • “My English Name”, R. S. Benedict (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance”, Tobias Buckell (Cosmic Powers)
  • “Though She Be But Little”, C.S.E. Cooney (Uncanny)
  • “The Moon is Not a Battlefield”, Indrapramit Das (Infinity Wars)
  • “The Hermit of Houston”, Samuel R. Delany (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “Crispin’s Model”, Max Gladstone (
  • “Come See the Living Dryad”, Theodora Goss (
  • “Bring Your Own Spoon”, Saad Z. Hossain (The Djinn Falls in Love)
  • “Babylon”, Dave Hutchison, 2084
  • “The Faerie Tree”, Kathleen Kayembe (Lightspeed)
  • “Fairy Tale of Wood Street”, Caitlin R Kiernan (Sirenia Digest)
  • “The Worshipful Society of Glovers”, Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny)
  • “An Evening with Severyn Grimes”, Rich Larson (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “The Chameleon’s Gloves”, Yoon Ha Lee (Cosmic Powers)
  • “The Smoke of Gold is Glory”, Scott Lynch (The Book of Swords)
  • “Sidewalks”, Maureen McHugh (Omni)
  • “Concessions”, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons)
  • “The Martian Obelisk”, Linda Nagata (
  • “The Secret Life of Bots”, Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld)
  • “A Series of Steaks”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld)
  • “Belladonna Nights”, Alastair Reynolds (The Weight of Words)
  • “Eminence”, Karl Schroeder (Chasing Shadows)
  • “The Lamentation of their Women”, Kai Ashante Wilson (
  • “Confessions of a Con Girl”, Nick Wolven (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

The cover shown here is not the final version, which will add author’s names etc.

5 thoughts on “Strahan Reveals ToC for Best SFF Volume 12

  1. I think that “Strange Dogs” by James S.A. Corey ought to get a little love on the various best of year lists. Part of the ‘Expanse’ series, but it holds up pretty well as a stand alone story.

  2. Of those I’ve read:

    “My English Name”, R. S. Benedict (F&SF):
    A story of alienation, feeling an outsider and trying to fit in. I loved this story; Benedict impressed me tremendously with both this story and her second in F&SF (“Water God’s Dog,” a powerful story alluding to late-stage capitalism), and I’m glad to see both story and author getting a recognition boost. Benedict will definitely be on my Campbell list.

    “The Hermit of Houston”, Samuel R. Delany (F&SF):
    I found this one very bewildering, although I read it twice. It’s got an interesting, intimate voice, but I was completely lost trying to figure out what was actually going on, or what I was supposed to take away from the piece.
    I’d dearly like to see cogent takes on this story; if anybody has ’em.

    “The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s):
    I definitely liked this one. A morbid story, about how people’s skills are becoming less and less valuable, how automation is hollowing us out — with a twist I really enjoyed.

    “An Evening with Severyn Grimes”, Rich Larson (Asimov’s):
    Thriller-ish story about body-swapping, and buying others’ bodies for personal use. Fun and peppy. Ends on kind of a weird note, sympathetic to somebody that doesn’t seem to merit it at all.

    “Confessions of a Con Girl”, Nick Wolven (Asimov’s):
    I think I’ve kind of gotten a bead on Wolven: he writes stories that feel like Black Mirror episodes.
    And I have a bit of a problem with that, since I mostly don’t like Black Mirror episodes. Those I’ve seen mostly feel like an echo-chamber of old If-This-Goes-On short fiction, with a simplicity and an earnestness I find intensely unsatisfying. Less speculation; more wide-eyed exaggeration. And that’s a lot of the Wolven stories I’ve read, too.
    This one is almost a twin to Black Mirror‘s “Nosedive,” about people being able to rate each other for everyday interactions. The mechanism, and use of the premise as a horror trope, are almost identical. That being said, where “Nosedive” focuses on how easy it is for a small slip to trigger a downward spiral (which I think is a powerful message re:poverty), “Confessions of a Con Girl” focuses on how being kind and compassionate can be interpreted by others as anything but. There are a few… weird… notes along the way. But the ending is quite powerful.

    “Concessions”, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons):
    A story with a lot of interesting elements, all surrounding Bilqis — eking out a harsh existence in desert exile.
    Plot-wise, the story didn’t quite come together for me — some strands drifted off; others appeared out of nowhere — but it was engaging; Bilqis’s character and situation are interesting, and IIRC the author plans to write additional stories building on this one.

    “The Secret Life of Bots”, Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld):
    A fun, zippy story, about an outdated robot being sent on a kind-of-critical mission; zaniness ensues.


    All in all: Most of these stories really weren’t favorites of mine, but there’s definitely something interesting to each of ’em.

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