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TOP TEN 1999


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Top Ten Stories of 1999
selected by Mark R. Kelly

Summary discussions of the books and stories of 1999, with composite lists of recommendations from various sources, will appear in the February 2000 Locus.

Stephen Baxter, ''People Are From Earth''
(Moon Shots edited by Peter Crowther, DAW)
A striking vision of a terraformed Moon that, following a nanotech war with Earth, has lost its advanced technology and is losing its atmosphere to space. Baxter follows a young man’s illness and death to a startling revelation of how the survivors plan to insure humanity’s survival.

Judith Berman, ''The Window''
(Asimov's Aug 1999)
A boy named Onion escapes his alien captor Frill to seek out the Muskies, wild creatures he's seen through Frill's window. Discovering in them his own kind, Onion finds long-suppressed memories resurfacing and slowly, poignantly, learns how to be human.

Terry Bisson, ''macs''
(F&SF Oct/Nov 1999)
An undescribed narrator conducts a series of interviews with families of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. This remarkable tale involves cloning, victims’ rights, and revenge, and has one of the most effective and revelatory closing lines of any story in recent memory.

Greg Egan, ''Border Guards''
(Interzone Oct 1999)
In an artificial environment where the tedium of immortality is broken by periods of 'little death', Jamie plays quantum soccer and meets a woman with an agonized story to tell. Egan, one of the very few SF writers who considers how the human condition might fundamentally change through advanced technology, here considers the necessity and meaning of death.

Jeffrey Ford, ''At Reparata''
(Event Horizon 15 Feb 1999)
A beautifully written, elegant fantasy about a kingdom built with pirate gold ravaged by an enormous white moth born of its king’s melancholy.

Ian R. MacLeod, ''The Chop Girl''
(Asimov's Dec 1999)
A fantasy set on a British air base during World War II that figuratively pits an immovable object against an irresistible force, as a woman regarded as an omen of death meets a dashing pilot who is the embodiment of luck.

David Marusek, ''The Wedding Album''
(Asimov's Jun 1999)
A dazzlingly inventive novella that follows a married couple’s personality recordings or ''sims'' from their wedding day forward through decades of changing technology and social attitudes.

Robert Reed, ''Nodaway''
(Asimov's Sep 1999)
A man visiting his lover's family in rural Nodaway County has the chance to hear first-hand accounts of the spaceship that crashed there in 1947. Describing a fascinating alternate history along the way, Reed explores both personal and societal reactions to the experience of alien contact.

Geoff Ryman, ''Everywhere''
(Interzone Feb 1999)
An exquisitely written tale of a boy and his watch and the Angel of the North, a giant statue said to possess a soul. Ryman's language subtly conveys social and technological changes that are remarkable to us, yet taken for granted by its young narrator.

Michael Swanwick, ''Scherzo with Tyrannosaur''
(Asimov's Jul 1999)
The latest expert recasting of a classic SF theme into a shiny new Swanwick edition, this is a time paradox story that lovingly indulges the attraction of boys, and scientists, to dinosaurs.



  • Eleanor Arnason, ''The Actors'' (F&SF Dec 1999)
  • Eleanor Arnason, ''Dapple'' (Asimov's Sep 1999)
  • Kage Baker, ''Son Observe the Time'' (Asimov's May 1999)
  • T. Coraghessan Boyle, ''After the Plague'' (Playboy Sep 1999)
  • Orson Scott Card, ''Vessel'' (F&SF Dec 1999)
  • Jan Lars Jensen, ''The Secret History of the Ornithoper'' (F&SF Jun 1999)
  • Nancy Kress, ''Sleeping Dogs'' (Far Horizons)
  • Chris Lawson, ''Written in Blood'' (Asimov's Jun 1999)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, ''Old Music and the Slave Women'' (Far Horizons)
  • Mary Soon Lee, ''Lifework'' (Interzone Jun 1999)
  • Jonathan Lethem, James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel, ''Ninety Percent of Everything'' (F&SF Sep 1999)
  • David Marusek, “Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz” (Asimov’s Jan 99)
  • Frederik Pohl, ''The Boy Who Would Live Forever'' (Far Horizons)
  • Robert Reed, ''Human Bay'' (Asimov's May 1999)
  • Pamela Sargent, ''Hillary Orbits Venus'' (Amazing Stories Spring 1999)
  • Allen Steele, ''Green Acres'' (SF Age Mar 1999)
  • Robert Silverberg, ''A Hero of the Empire'' (F&SF Oct/Nov 1999)
  • Harry Turtledove, ''Forty, Counting Down'' (Asimov's Dec 1999)

(Sun 9 Jan 2000)

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