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The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Thirty Second Annual Collection

Year's Best SFVery happy to announce that my novelette “The Rider”, originally published in F&SF, reappears this week in the latest annual issue of The Year’s Best SF, edited by Gardner Dozois.

Here is the full list of content:

  • The Fifth Dragon, Ian McDonald (Reach for Infinity)
  • The Rider, Jérôme Cigut (F&SF)
  • The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Online)
  • The Burial of Sir John Mawe at Cassini, Chaz Brenchley (Subterranean Online)
  • The Regular, Ken Liu (Upgraded)
  • The Woman from the Ocean, Karl Bunker (Asimov’s)
  • Shooting the Apocalypse, Paolo Bachigalupi (The End Is Nigh)
  • Weather, Susan Palwick (Clarkesworld)
  • The Hand Is Quicker, Elizabeth Bear (The Book of Robert Silverberg)
  • The Man Who Sold the Moon, Cory Doctorow (Hieroglyph)
  • Vladimir Chong Chooses To Die, Lavie Tidhar (Analog)
  • Beside the Damned River, D.J. Cockburn (Interzone)
  • The Colonel, Peter Watts (
  • Entanglement, Vandana Singh (Hieroglyph)
  • White Curtain, Pavel Amnuel (F&SF)
  • Slipping, Lauren Beukes (Twelve Tomorrows)
  • Passage of Earth, Michael Swanwick (Clarkesworld)
  • Amicae Aeternum, Ellen Klages (Reach for Infinity)
  • In Babelsberg, Alastair Reynolds (Reach for Infinity)
  • Sadness, Timons Esaias (Analog)
  • West to East, Jay Lake (Subterranean Online)
  • Grand Jeté (The Great Leap), Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Online)
  • Covenent, Elizabeth Bear (Hieroglyph)
  • Jubilee, Karl Schroeder (
  • Los Pirates del Mar de Plastico (Pirates of the Plastic Ocean), Paul Graham Raven (Twelve Tomorrorws)
  • Red Light, and Rain, Gareth L. Powell (Solaris Rising 3)
  • Coma Kings, Jessica Barber (Lightspeed)
  • The Prodigal Son, Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s)
  • God Decay, Rich Larson (Upgraded)
  • Blood Wedding, Robert Reed (Asimov’s)
  • The Long Haul, from the Annals of Transportation, The Pacific Monthly, May 2009, Ken Liu (Clarkesworld)
  • Shadow Flock, Greg Egan (Coming Soon Enough)
  • Thing and Sick, Adam Roberts (Solaris Rising 3)
  • Communion, Mary Anne Mohanraj (Clarkesworld)
  • Someday, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
  • Yesterday’s Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)


  1. Classy! classy and well deserved!

  2. Just read The Rider in this anthology, and loved it. It was the kind of story that pulled me in and made me want more. Great character interactions, and a world with so much potential for many different kinds of stories! I will be watching for any novels you write in this or any other fictional universe. Thank you!

    • Jérôme Cigut Jérôme Cigut

      Thank you very much for your kind words. 🙂 I am indeed working on more in this universe… Stay tuned…

  3. Charissa Charissa

    Just spent a joyful morning in a sunny cafe with this anthology, during which I read your short story. I loved how tense and action-y it was, whilst being very much about their relationship. I’m thinking a lot about the writing process at the moment. Do you plot things out before you write? Or do you write more instinctively? The Rider seems to have been very intentionally structured on a number of levels, which really makes it work as a story.

    • jcigut jcigut

      Thank you for taking the time to come here and leaving a comment, I’m really glad you liked the story. 😉

      I usually try to plot the stories beforehand, but if I remember correctly, this one was written during a Bangkok to Hong Kong flight (ie quite short). I was thinking how sad it is that modern science and technology doesn’t leave much room for individual genius and know-how: research teams now count hundreds if not thousands of people; microchip factories are measured in dozens of football pitches. It’s highly unlikely the next major innovation comes from a single person, like Fleming or Jobs & Wozniak.
      …And then I imagined the opposite: what if it were still possible? If there were microchip artisans, Stradivarius of the future? (I think an inspiration was also one of Mike Resnick’s short stories, about the man who makes tools and weapons for Batman…)
      Scenes (the chicken chopping board, the flight in taxi and minibus, the maker) and details of background immediately came to me. The AI’s voice emerged too — an eerily reasonable voice like HAL’s, so reasonable that his rider needed to be quite foolish, as a counterweight.
      But Luke’s whining started annoying me, so I decided to make him suffer. That’s where (I think) the story got interesting: every time he thought he was back to safety, I tried to make the situation go worse, the bottom fall off, the ground disappear under his feet. I think my sadistic chuckles brought me a few concerned stares from my neighbours in the plane. But retrospectively, this is exactly how you build suspense: what happens is never what the reader expects.
      By the time we landed in Hong Kong, I had the main scenes of the story. Over the next few days, I simply connected them. I wish it were always that easy…
      [Spoilers below!]
      Afterwards, as it became obvious The Rider, under the guise of an action story, was a bromance (if not even a romance), I decided to give a few early hints to the reader, so he or she wouldn’t feel cheated at the end. The Jennifer Anniston reference is one of them.
      That’s all I remember… Does it answer your question?

      • Charissa Charissa

        That’s a wonderfully comprehensive answer. Thank you. I’m impressed you managed to get so much done on a flight. Stories rarely come to me very quickly. There’s lots of rumination, trying to get them to come together, quite often unsuccessfully.

        The unexpected twists & turns you mentioned worked really well! Genuinely unexpected. Well done for making him suffer so effectively. The thematic breadcrumbs work well too – I genuinely felt really sad when we hit the section where he asks “How do you bid farewell to a silicon-based friend? Drinks were our of the question…”

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