Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction series is, as the title says, the best (and the biggest) compilation of each year's science fiction around. Every sf collector should have the complete set, but I'll list just the last decade's volumes.
I have occasionally been asked what science reference books are indespensible for a hard-science fiction writer. Here is the list of books that I personally find indespensible on my bookshelf.
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
it's big and expensive and hard to find things in, but the CRC handbook is pretty much the reference book for the working scientist (at least in the physical sciences).
A recent astronomy textbook. The one on my shelf happens to be Chaisson and McMillan, Astronomy Today
A recent physics textbook.
I use Halliday and Resnick. (OK, I admit it's not so recent.)
Human Space Systems: Mission Analysis and Design There are a number of textbooks about space engineering; I picked this one to list because it focusses on missions with humans, not just satellite design. (the fact that I wrote a chapter in it doesn't hurt, either)
Beatty, Petersen, and Chaikin, The New Solar System The best overall volume discussing all of the planets of the solar system. The volume I have is the 4th edition.
Kieffer, Jakowski, Snyder, and Matthews, Mars U. Arizona Press
Actually, now that I think about it, far too many people are writing about Mars, so forget I recommended this. University of Arizona press has one of these thick research compilations for almost every planet in the solar system, plus separate volumes for satellites, asteroids, impact hazards, and resources of near-Earth space. I turn to the Mars volume frequently, of course, but if you are writing about, say, Venus, there is a volume available (actually, there are two Venus volumes available).
Gregory Matloff, Deep-Space Probes (Springer-Praxis Books in Astronomy and Space Sciences); $89.95
Expensive, but this is an updated and more technical version of the Starflight Handbook.
E. F. Taylor and J. A. Wheeler, Exploring Black Holes: everything you need to know about black hole physics, without extensive math.
Krauss, The Physics of Star Trek
a popularization, but gives a good brush-through of physics relevant to science fiction.
and, of course, standard writing references: encyclopedia, dictionary, almanac, atlas, thesaurus, Baby-naming book, NY City telephone directory, and a familiar quotations book.
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