Contests & Awards

The Year's Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Award

Other anthologies tell you which stories were the year’s best—we’re letting you decide which of these you liked best. Baen Books is pleased to announce the third annual Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Readers’ Choice Award. The award honors the best of the best in this grand storytelling tradition, and its winner will receive an inscribed plaque and a $500 prize. Reward your favorite story, and its author, for excellence!

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You may also send a postcard or letter with the name of your favorite story from this volume and its author to Baen Books Year’s Best Award, P.O. Box 1188, Wake Forest, NC 27587.

2016 Winner

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller won the third annual Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF Readers’ Choice Award. They won for the short story “Wise Child,” which takes place in the duo’s acclaimed Liaden Universe®. The story originally appeared on

The story was selected via proctored online voting. Fans chose from the table of contents of The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 3, which collected stories published during the 2016 calendar year.

Year’s Best editor David Afsharirad announced the winner at the Baen Traveling Roadshow, at DragonCon. Though Lee & Miller were not on hand to accept the award, Baen executive editor Jim Minz read a speech prepared by the authors.

“We’re pleased to be here, at least metaphorically . . . to stand as the proud parents of ‘Wise Child,’ which readers have chosen—out of a very stiff field!—as the Best Military and Adventure SF of 2016,” Lee & Miller wrote. They added, “Thank you, readers, for reading, and for voting, and for naming ‘Wise Child’ one of the best!”

You can read this story for free at here or read all the stories by purchasing The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Volume 3.

2015 Winner

When I announced the winner of Baen’s second annual Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF Readers’ Choice Award at DragonCon, I said, “If you hand out an award for military science fiction, you really shouldn’t be surprised when David Drake wins it.” The line was met with applause, though I’m sorry to say that Mr. Drake was not there to hear it in person. (He did receive many congratulatory texts and Facebook messages from the audience, however. And he was able to accept the award plaque and prize money at the Baen offices.)

Drake won for his short story “Save What You Can,” which originally appeared in the Baen anthology Onward, Drake!, edited by Mark L. Van Name. The anthology was an all-new collection of stories and essays in appreciation of Drake’s genre-defining work. “Save What You Can” was one of two contributions Drake made to the book himself, and it is the first Hammer’s Slammers story to be published in over a decade.

You can read “Save What You Can” in Onward, Drake! or in The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF 2015.

—David Afsharirad, editor

2014 Winner

The idea behind The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Reader's Choice Award was to put in front of readers stories of the sort that used to be easy to find. Stories that challenged and provoked, but that also thrilled and entertained. Stories with strong characters and a sense of fun, however you define it. The stories in Year’s Best take readers from the battlefields of Earth, to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Selected from the premier markets in the genre, both online and in print, the fifteen tales that make up the table of contents are truly the year’s best.

But what about the best of the best? Everyone has a favorite, and Baen Books wanted to hear yours. So, Baen created The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Reader's Choice Award. Selected from the contents of Year’s Best, through proctored online voting by fans, the award honors the short story that best exemplifies the genres.

The first Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera Award was handed out at DragonCon 2015, to Michael Z. Williamson for his story “Soft Casualty.”

You can read this award winning story for free at by clicking here. Or check out all the stories, including Williamson’s, by purchasing The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF 2015 here.

—David Afsharirad, editor