An unabridged audio collection of the "best of the best" science fiction stories published in 2012 by current and emerging masters of the genre, edited by Allan Kaster, as narrated by top voice talents. In "Invisible Men", by Christopher Barzak, a maid in an inn encounters the Invisible Man who makes her an offer to be more than she is in this quasi-retelling of H.G. Wells' famous story.
In this year's winner of the Nebula Award for best novelette, "Close Encounters", by Andy Duncan, an old man is hounded by reporters about the stories he used to tell of an alien who took him into space and the dog he brought back with him.
"Bricks, Sticks, Straw", by Gwyneth Jones, follows virtual scientists forced to survive within their remotes when a young science team on Earth loses remote contact with their telepresences on Jupiter's moons.
In "Arbeitskraft", by Nick Mamatas, Friedrich Engels strives to spread class revolution as a labor organizer for factory cyborg matchstick girls. "The Man", by Paul McAuley, is a Jackaroo tale about a solitary woman, living in a cabin on the planet Yanos, whose life is interupted by the sudden appearance of a naked man at her door. In "Nahiku West", by Linda Nagata, set in the author's Nanotech Succession sequence, officer Zeke Choy investigates an accident involving an illegal enhancement which was used to save a life.
"Tyche and the Ants", by Hannu Rajaniemi, showcases the plight of a young girl hidden on the moon by her parents, along with grags and Brain, as robotic ants have come from the Great Wrong Place to take her away. In "Katabasis", by Robert Reed, human adventurers on a journey in an inhospitable high-gravity region of the Great Ship must use porters, evolved for massive worlds, to aid them.
"The Contrary Gardener", by Christopher Rowe, tells of the tough decisions a talented gardener in a society which genetically grows some crops for ammunition must come to when she's recruited for the war effort. Finally, in "Scout", by Bud Sparhawk, a reconstructed marine is deployed to a planet occupied by the Shardies to reconnoiter by making use of his "turtle" enhancements to avoid detection.
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- Simon Drew