It's that time of year again: when the "Year's Best" of short fiction begin appearing. The first of these, Year's Best SF 7 edited by David Hartwell, is out now. Hartwell's Year's Best Fantasy 2 should appear sometime soon as well. Hartwell's is one of the two big "Year's Best" series; the others being Gardner Dozois's annual The Year's Best Science Fiction (the nineteenth annual edition of which will arrive in July) and my favorite, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow (the fifteenth of which should appear in August). These four books provide the best annual snapshot of the state of speculative and dark fiction in general -- plus they yield tons of good reading.