This is always one of the highlights of my reading year; I do love a SF/F collection and the contemporary field really clicks with me (more than those 1960s/1970s collections I keep subjecting myself to). John Joseph Adams does a great job setting this up, reviewing all the stories of the year (a gargantuan task), and providing the series editor with 80 stories to choose from. I like seeing what the year’s editor has to say and what picks they make. Having a different editor every year makes it feel more unique and serves as a reflection of who is at the forefront of the field right now.
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023 was another solid collection in this series. It’s a personal source of pride for me if I’ve read one or two stories in the collection already, and this year I had read “Rabbit Test” probably three times already and “Murder by Pixel.” “Rabbit Test” won every major award this year and for good reason, such a strong story that has stuck with me. Another story dealing with Roe that I thought was particularly strong was “The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World.” I also liked “Pellargonia: A Letter to the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology,” “Pre-Simulation Consultation XF007867,” and “Beginnings.” I’ve noticed that people are writing more stories in different formats, like transcripts, letters, or message boards, and it really appeals to me. I’ve always been someone who likes epistolary novels or novels in texts/scrapbook formats like Regarding the Fountain, and it seems like a positive thing to me to stretch the boundaries of the short story form. All in all, it was a fun collection and it always reminds me of why I love the genre.