Twelve Tomorrows Sci-fi Stories Selected for “Best of” Anthologies

We are proud to announce that four of the stories in Twelve Tomorrows have been selected for "Best of" anthologies.

Neil Clarke will include three of our stories in his Best Science Fiction of the Year collection:

  • Ken Liu, "Byzantine Empathy"
  • Elizabeth Bear, "Okay Glory"
  • Alastair Reynolds, "Different Seas"

Clarke’s collection, the fourth in the series, will appear in July 2019. Previously, Bear’s “Okay Glory” and SL Huang’s Twelve Tomorrows story “The Woman Who Destroyed Us,” were chosen by Jonathan Strahan for the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 13, to be published in April 2019.

Twelve Tomorrows, which eschews dystopian futures while presenting clear-eyed imaginings of our technological future, received wonderful critical praise upon publication, with SFX calling it “impressive,” and Nature heralding it as “'Hard' sci-fi at its best.”

"Through the Twelve Tomorrows project, I got to befriend and collaborate with some of the best science fiction writers working today," says Wade Roush, editor of the 2018 Twelve Tomorrows volume and host of the technology-and-culture podcast Soonish. "I knew as soon as their submissions came in that the book was going to be something special. So it's not a surprise that so many of the stories are being recognized by leading science fiction editors and anthologists."

Originally launched in 2011 by MIT Technology Review, the Twelve Tomorrows series explores the future implications of emerging technologies through the lens of fiction. Featuring a diverse collection of authors, characters, and stories rooted in contemporary real-world science, each volume in the series offers conceivable and inclusive stories of the future, celebrating and continuing the genre of “hard” science fiction pioneered by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein.

For Roush, this recognition of the stories in Twelve Tomorrows means more people will experience this  vital sub-genre of science fiction. "Hard science fiction that works within the bounds of known physics and engineering principles has always been one of the most incisive and important sub-genres in the field—that's why MIT Technology Review started the series back in 2011,” explains Roush. “It's great to get a boost in that from folks like Neil Clarke and Jonathan Strahan. Through their well-known collections, new audiences will encounter these provocative stories."

Twelve Tomorrows includes the following contributions:

  • Elizabeth Bear, “Okay, Glory.” A suspenseful and funny story about a reclusive billionaire who’s kidnapped by his own house.
  • SL Huang‚ “The Woman Who Destroyed Us.” A story about a mother angered by the way her son’s brain-implant surgery has altered his personality.
  • Clifford Johnson, “Resolution.” The first-ever graphic novella published as part of the Twelve Tomorrows series, this story from a prominent USC physicist is about a near-future techno-utopia built on an illusion.
  • J.M. Ledgard, “Vespers.” From the author of Submergence, a soliloquy by an autonomous, sentient, and introspective space probe thousands of years into its voyage to the Trappist star system.
  • Liu Cixin, “Fields of Gold.” From China’s leading science fiction author, a story about the scramble to rescue a young astronaut stranded on a ship heading to the outer solar system.
  • Ken Liu, “Byzantine Empathy.” A deeply thought-provoking story about how international aid agencies might use, or misuse, virtual reality and blockchain technology.
  • Paul McAuley, “Chine Life.” A harrowing story about a far-future world ruled by semi-organic machines and a soldier who has a chance to stop them.
  • Nnedi Okorafor, “The Heart of the Matter.” From author of Who Fears Death and the Binti series, a story is about a Nigerian president who’s become a “xyborg” thanks to a new heart grown from plant matter.
  • Malka Older, “Disaster Tourism.” From the author of 2016’s Infomocracy and its sequels Null States and State Tectonics, a story about how drones might change the way we respond to disasters.
  • Sarah Pinsker, “Escape from Caring Seasons.” A touching story about an elderly lesbian couple who discover that their care facility has devolved into a high-tech prison.
  • Alastair Reynolds, “Different Seas.” A seafaring tale about an autonomous sailing ship that goes off course, threatening the life of its sole passenger, and leading to an unexpected new friendship.
  • Also featured in the volume: a profile of gay African-American science fiction legend Samuel R. Delany, by former MIT Technology Review editor-in-chief and publisher Jason Pontin and his brother Mark Pontin, the assistant editor on the Twelve Tomorrows project.

The volume in 2018 inaugurated a new partnership between the MIT Press and MIT Technology Review, and a new collection is planned for 2020.


Media contact: Jessica Pellien, pellien@mit.edu