The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror : Fourteenth Annual Edition

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9780312275419: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror : Fourteenth Annual Edition

For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. The critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition continues with another stunning collection, including stories by Jack Cady, Ramsey Campbell, Susanna Clarke, Jack Dann, Terry Dowling, Dennis Etchison, Greer Gilman, Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link, Kathe Koja, Paul J. McAuley, Delia Sherman. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror.

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Review:

The 14th volume of the critically acclaimed Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology series is a 556-page behemoth combining 44 of the best stories and eight of the best poems from 2000. Editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling provide long, thorough, and insightful summaries of their fields, horror and fantasy, respectively. If that isn't enough, the anthology includes Edward Bryant's detailed and evenhanded "Fantasy and Horror in the Media: 2000," Seth Johnson's concise and knowledgeable "Comics: 2000," and James Frenkel's "Obituaries: 2000."

The stories and poems in this volume are as strong as the title claims; a few are very good, and most are excellent. The contributors include literary greats like John Crowley, Harlan Ellison, and Louise Erdrich; genre giants like Ramsey Campbell, Charles de Lint, and Tanith Lee; acclaimed young-adult authors like Francesca Lia Block and Jane Yolen; excellent foreign authors better known in their native countries, like Australia's Terry Dowling and Bolivia's Claudia Adria'zola; and terrific new talents like Susanna Clarke, Andy Duncan, and Kelly Link.

With a volume this massive, it is difficult to describe all the stories, or even representative examples of the many different subgenres. Here are summaries of two selections from each editor:

In Louise Erdrich's tragicomic tall tale "Le Mooz," a prideful Ojibwa woman wrecks her marriage after a moose hunt goes awry. In Kathe Koja's chilling and startling "At Eventide," a serial killer tracks down the woman artist who escaped him and sent him to prison. "The Man on the Ceiling," a metafiction by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, is a brilliant, moving, autobiographical exploration of the physical, emotional, and creative lives of two writers. In Susanna Clarke's witty, beautifully written fantasy of manners, "Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower," a poor, handsome young priest learns his new parish overlaps Faerie, discovers a shocking ancestral secret, and makes covert marriage proposals to five beautiful sisters.

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is a great and generous collection, perfect for most, but not all, horror and/or fantasy fans. It includes both supernatural and nonsupernatural horror, but it doesn't have anything for the "splatterpunk" fan. Also, while the horror selections are drawn from both genre and nongenre publications, most of the fantasy selections are taken from nongenre magazines, anthologies, and other sources. If you want fantasy drawn largely or exclusively from genre sources, and particularly if you want only heroic/adventure/sword-and-sorcery fantasy, then you should skip the entire Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series. Those subgenres make no appearance in this volume, and have never had much of a presence in this series; it's as if only magic realism, fairy tales, and mythic/folkloric fantasy of a rather sensitive, measured, and grown-up sort need apply (even when it's young adult fiction). Also, extreme, graphic horror may be out of fashion, but its raw, adolescent energy will doubtless reappear in future volumes of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror whenever great graphic-horror stories are published. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author:

Ellen Datlow is the acclaimed editor of such anthologies as Sirens and other Daemon Lovers (with Terri Windling), Lethal Kisses, Off Limits, and Endangered Species, and has won the World Fantasy Award six times. She lives in New York City and currently edits fiction for SCIFI.COM.

Terri Windling won the Mythopoeic Award for her first adult novel, The Wood Wife. She has edited numerous books and anthologies, including The Essential Bordertown and Silver Birch, Blood Moon, the most recent in a series of contemporary fairy tale anthologies, edited with Ellen Datlow. Honored six times with the World Fantasy Award, she divides her time between Devon, England, and Tucson, Arizona.

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Published by St. Martin's Griffin (2001)
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