From The Year's Best Science Fiction Twentieth Annual Collection
Breathmoss— Ian R. MacLeod
- Boring. Time travel short story. Didn't care for it.
The Most Famous Little Girl in the World— Nancy Kress
- Interesting take of the personal effect on the first person to make contact with an alien species. A little girl is lured into a flying saucer and is returned shortly afterward in front of news cameras. She doesn't remember any of it. Her playmate cousin is alternately contemptuous and jealous. Through the years as the aliens return the government sequesters the little girl. Not a bad story, but it did feel like it could have done more.
The Passenger— Paul J. McAuley
- Space opera set in a reclamation yard for space ships. A survivor on a ship is found by the reclamation crew, who protect her from the corportation running the yard and who feel she survived because she has valuable technology they could appropriate. Not very interesting.
The Political Officer— Charles Coleman Finlay
- This story I liked a lot. It's a spy story set on a space ship in enemy territory running on secret orders. There are three controlling officers on board. The War officer (the ship's captain, in charge of most items and operations), the Intelligence officer (charged with ferretting out enemy plans to target), and the Political Officer (who ultimately decides the mission, and also determines the proper loyalty of the crew). This is the story of the Political Officer, as the title implies. As the story begins, he's portrayed as one might expect someone from the Soviet Union in charge of determining political loyalty. He's an ass. He accuses people of disloyalty to spook them and see what they do, hoping to uncover the traitor he believes exists on the ship. But then his behavior gets more nuanced, and you soon see there's a method to his madness and there really is a traitor on board.