“Short stories have to accomplish a nearly impossible magic trick: to introduce a world often much stranger than our own and make you care about it in a matter of pages,” writes R. F. Kuang in her introduction. “The most important part of this magic trick is just a willingness to get weird.” The stories in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023 are brimming with bizarre and otherworldly premises. Women can’t lie or fall in love. Fathers feed their children ghost preserves. Souls chase one another through animal incarnations. Yet these stories are grounded deeply in our reality. Out of these stories’ weirdness emerges the cruelty of border enforcement, the horror of legislation restricting reproductive freedom, the frightening pace of AI. The result is a stunning, immersive, intensely felt experience, showing us less of what the world is, and more of what it could be.
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023 includes Nathan Ballingrud • KT Bryski • Isabel Cañas • Maria Dong • Kim Fu • Theodora Goss • Alix E. Harrow • S. L. Huang • Stephen Graham Jones • Shingai Njeri Kagunda • Isabel J. Kim • Samantha Mills • MKRNYILGLD • Malka Older • Susan Palwick • Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez • Sofia Samatar • Kristina Ten • Catherynne M. Valente • Chris Willrich