The good collection is "Twelve Tomorrows - 2014", published by MIT's Technology Review magazine. A very good collection. I particularly liked "Countermeasures", by Christopher Brown, and "Petard: A Tale of Just Deserts", by Cory Doctorow. In addition to the short stories, there was also an interview with Gene Wolfe and a collection of sci-fi art by John Schoenherr. The only disappointment here was surprisingly "Death Cookie/Easy Ice" by William Gibson. It was a disappointment because it was the 1st chapter of his latest novel "The Peripheral", which I had already read and blogged here. I was looking forward to something from Gibson I hadn't already read. Plus, I didn't think that this really worked as a short story.
The mediocre collection is "The Alien Chronicles (The Future Chronicles)", edited by David Gatewood. "The Future Chronicles" is a series of collections on different themes put together by Samuel Peralta. These are mostly (all?) new writers, this kind of has a self-published feel. The editor says that they are aiming for quality in the stories. Generally, these stories are OK, but not up to the level of say, "Twelve Tomorrows" above or "The Years Best" edited by Gardner Dozois. The stories that stood out did so by being really not so good.
- "Hanging with Humans" by Patrice Fitzgerald reminds me of something from the 1950s, with wacky aliens. It just doesn't seem to work in modern times.
- "Remember Valeria", by W.J. Davies was just really badly written. I find myself trying to put my finger on identifying what triggers my "this person can't write" response. I know unnecessary words is one thing. Stating the obvious too many times is another. Using names from mythology for no apparent reason seems wrong as well.
- "Life" by Daniel Arenson again seems like something from the 1950s, and its subject matter I found pretty unbelievable.