In science fiction's early days, stories often looked past 1984 to the year 2000 as the far unknowable future. Here now, on the brink of the twenty-first century, the future remains as distant and as unknowable as ever . . . and science fiction stories continue to explore it with delightful results:Collected in this anthology are such imaginative gems as:"The Wedding Album" by David Marusek. In a high-tech future, the line between reality and simulation has grown thin . . . and it's often hard to tell who's on what side."Everywhere" by Geoff Ryman. Do the people who live in utopian conditions ever recognize them as such?"Hatching the Phoenix" by Frederik Pohl. One of science fiction's Grand Masters returns with a star-crossing tale of the Heechee---the enigmatic, vanished aliens whose discarded technology guides mankind through the future."A Hero of the Empire" by Robert Silverberg. Showing that the past is as much a province of the imagination as the future, this novelette returns to an alternate history when the Roman Empire never fell to show us just how the course of history can be altered.The twenty-seven stories in this collection imaginatively take us to nearby planets and distant futures, into the past and into universes no larger than a grain of sand. Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents.Supplementing the stories are the editor's insightful summation of the year's events and a lengthy list of honorable mentions, making this book a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.