Year's Best Fantasy 3 [NOOK Book]

Overview

The door to fantastic worlds, skewed realities, and breathtaking other realms is opened wide to you once more in this third anthology of the finest short fantasy fiction to emerge over the past year, compiled by acclaimed editor David G. Hartwell. Rarely has a more magnificent collection of tales been contained between book covers -- phenomenal visions of the impossible-made-possible by some of the field's most accomplished literary artists and stellar talents on the rise. Year's Best Fantasy 3 is a heady brew of...

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Year's Best Fantasy 3

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Overview

The door to fantastic worlds, skewed realities, and breathtaking other realms is opened wide to you once more in this third anthology of the finest short fantasy fiction to emerge over the past year, compiled by acclaimed editor David G. Hartwell. Rarely has a more magnificent collection of tales been contained between book covers -- phenomenal visions of the impossible-made-possible by some of the field's most accomplished literary artists and stellar talents on the rise. Year's Best Fantasy 3 is a heady brew of magic and wonder, strange journeys and epic quests, boldly concocted by the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Swanwick, Tanith Lee, and others. Step into a dimension beyond the limits of ordinary imagination . . . and be amazed!.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Out of the thousands of fantasy short stories published every year, editor extraordinaire David G. Hartwell has once again compiled his annual "best of" anthology for 2002. Longtime fans of Hartwell's Year's Best fantasy and science fiction collections will undoubtedly rank his newest collection as one of strongest fantasy anthologies they've ever read.

Hartwell begins the introduction with what I consider an understatement: "It was an especially good year for fantasy short fiction in 2002, and we wish this book could have been twice as long so we could have fit in a bunch of longer stories that are just as good as the ones collected here." Included in the meaty 29-story collection are literary gems by some of the biggest names in the genre -- Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles de Lint, Tanith Lee, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Michael Swanwick, and Nalo Hopkinson, just to name a few.

From the first story, Kage Baker's dark WWII fairy tale "Her Father's Eyes," to the very last, R. Garcia y Robertson's "Death in Love," a story about the Demi-Goddess of Death falling in love with the captain of an invading armada, this collection is indeed the best of the best. Simply stated, Year's Best Fantasy 3 is a celebration of fantastic storytelling by some of the masters of the genre. Paul Goat Allen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061757716
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 306,877
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

David G. Hartwell is a senior editor of Tor/Forge Books. His doctorate is in Comparative Medieval Literature. He is the proprietor of Dragon Press, publisher and bookseller, which publishes The New York Review of Science Fiction, and the president of David G. Hartwell, Inc. He is the author of Age of Wonders and the editor of many anthologies, including The Dark Descent, The World Treasury of Science Fiction, The Hard SF Renaissance, The Space Opera Renaissance, and a number of Christmas anthologies, among others. Recently he co-edited his fifteenth annual paperback volume of Year's Best SF, and co-edited the ninth Year's Best Fantasy. John Updike, reviewing The World Treasury of Science Fiction in The New Yorker, characterized him as a "loving expert." He is on the board of the IAFA, is co-chairman of the board of the World Fantasy Convention, and an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He has won the Eaton Award, the World Fantasy Award, and has been nominated for the Hugo Award forty times to date, winning as Best Editor in 2006, 2008, and 2009.


Kathryn Cramer is a writer, critic, and anthologist, and was co-editor of the Year's Best Fantasy and Year's Best SF series. She has co-edited approximately 30 anthologies. She was a founding editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction, and has a large number of Hugo nominations in the Semiprozine category to show for it. She won a World Fantasy Award for her anthology The Architecture of Fear. Kathryn grew up in Seattle. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and a masters degree in American Studies, both from from Columbia University in New York. Recently, she has been a consultant for Wolfram Research, L. W. Currey, an antiquarian bookseller, and for ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination. She currently lives in Westport, New York in the Adirondack Park.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction



Welcome to the first volume of our new paperback series, the Year's Best Fantasy. We hope that this book will give you a convenient reference to what's going on now, to who is writing some of the best fantasy fiction published, and will provide a collection of excellent stories for your reading pleasure. In this book, and this anthology series, we will use the broadest definition of fantasy (to include wonder stories, adventure fantasy, supernatural fantasy, satirical and humorous fantasy). We believe that the best-written fantasy can stand up in the long run and by any useful literary standard in comparison to fiction published out of category or genre. And furthermore, that out of respect for the genre at its best we ought to stand by genre fantasy and promote it in this book. We have been editing fantasy anthologies together since the 1980s, and each of us separately has won a World Fantasy Award for best anthology. So we feel up to the challenge of doing a Year's Best Fantasy.

What we hope for in a fantasy story is a well-told tale with a memorable image — a flurry of bloodthirsty leaves, a sleeping beauty on exhibit in the British Museum. We believe that writers publishing their work specifically as fantasy are up to this task, so we set out to find these stories, and we looked for them in the genre anthologies, magazines, and small press pamphlets. Some fine fantasy writers will still be missing. A fair number of the best fantasy writers these days write only novels; or, if they do write short fiction, do so only every few years, and sometimes it is not their best work.We will find the good examples and reprint them when we can.

We found that the good fantasy short fiction this year is notably international. Although all but one of the writers in this book write in English, many of them live and work outside the United States, in Canada, Australia, the British Isles, Yugoslavia. Australia is still full of energy a year or two after the 1999 Melbourne World Science Fiction Convention. Eidolon and Aurealis are the leading magazines, and Australian fantasy novelists are continuing to break out worldwide, at least in the English language. Canadian SF is still thriving, and Canada is still introducing new world-class fantasy writers to the world stage each year. Interzone has grown into one of the three or four leading SF magazines. Realms of Fantasy and F & SF are its peers. And the best new semi-professional fiction magazine of the year, publishing both fantasy and SF, is Spectrum SF, from Scotland. The World Fantasy Convention is to be held in Montreal, Quebec, in 2001.

There were a number of good original anthologies, including especially Dark Matter, edited by Sheree R. Jeffers (the first SF and fantasy anthology specifically devoted to Black writers); Black Heart, Ivory Bones, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, the sixth and final in their distinguished series of fairy tales retold anew for our times; and Graven Images, edited by Nancy Kirkpatrick and Thomas Roche, an original anthology of fantasy tales of gods and goddesses. There are also the magazines, from Interzone and Realms of Fantasy and F & SF, which publish substantial amounts of fantasy, to Century and Eidolon and On Spec and Weird Tales and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine (now suspended), and several others. The small press has been since the 1980s a force of growing strength and importance in the field, in part due to the availability of computers within reach of the average fannish budget and in part due to the new economies of instant print, now prevalent in the USA and soon to reach everywhere. And the books from the more established small publishers, from Golden Gryphon, Ministry of Whimsy, Borderlands, and others, continue to impress. The field lost two fine magazines this year, Marion Zimmer Bradley's and Amazing (which published both fantasy and SF), but a perceptible increase in the number and quality of small press publications helped to cushion the loss, as did the announcement of several high-paying online short fiction markets.

It would be comforting to be able to say that this was an especially good year for fantasy, but it was not. Still, there were more than enough excellent stories to consider to let us fill this book and have some left over. And there are a lot of promising signs, and talented new writers in unexpected places. Now that we have finished our first annual volume, we are confident of the quality of future books.

— David G. Hartwell & Kathryn E. Cramer
Pleasantville, NY

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First Chapter

Her Father's Eyes

by Kage Baker

Kage Baker [http://members.tripod.com/~MrsCheckerfield/] lives in Pismo Beach, California. She is known primarily as a science fiction writer, especially for her series of stories and novels about The Company, an organization from the future that sends agents back in time to retrieve lost artifacts, such as priceless art treasures. Her collection of stories in that setting -- Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers -- was published to substantial critical acclaim in 2002. She has attracted additional notice in the last few years for fantasy stories. Last year her story "What the Tyger Told Her" appeared in our Year's Best Fantasy 2. Her first fantasy novel, The Anvil of the World, is published in 2003. She worked for some years for the Living History Centre and says, "Twenty years of total immersion research in Elizabethan as well as other historical periods has paid off handsomely in a working knowledge of period speech and details."

Her attention to period detail in certainly evident in "Her Father's Eyes." This story was published in Asimov's, where most of her short fiction has appeared. A girl child and her parents -- her father just back from military service -- are riding a train in the late 1940s, and she sits next to a little boy who is in the custody of an evil couple who are not really his parents. There are perhaps echoes of Hans Christian Andersen's great fairy tale "The Snow Queen."


It was so long ago that fathers were still gaunt from the war, their awful scars still livid; so long ago that mothers wore frocks, made fancy Jell-O desserts in ring molds. And that summer, there was enough money to go for a trip on the train. She was taken along because she had been so sick she had almost died, so it was a reward for surviving.

She was hurried along between her parents, holding their hands, wondering what a dome coach was and why it was supposed to be special. Then there was a gap in the sea of adult legs, and the high silver cars of the train shone out at her. She stared up at the row of windows in the coach roof, and thought it looked like the cockpits in the bombers her father was always pointing out.

Inside it was nicer, and much bigger, and there was no possible way any German or Japanese fighter pilots could spray the passengers with bullets; so she settled into the seat she had all for herself. There she watched the people moving down on the platform, until the train pulled out of the station.

Then her parents exclaimed, and told her to look out the wonderful dome windows at the scenery. That was interesting for a while, especially the sight of the highway far down there with its Oldsmobiles and DeSotos floating along in eerie silence, and then, as they moved out into the country, the occasional field with a real horse or cow.

The change in her parents was more interesting. Out of uniform her father looked younger, was neither gloomy nor sarcastic but raucously happy. All dressed up, her mother was today as serene and cheerful as a housewife in a magazine advertisement. They held hands, like newlyweds, cried out in rapture at each change in the landscape, and told her repeatedly what a lucky little girl she was, to get to ride in a dome coach.

She had to admit they seemed to be right, though her gaze kept tracking nervously to the blue sky framed by the dome, expecting any minute steeply banking wings there, fire or smoke. How could people turn on happiness like a tap, and pretend the world was a bright and shiny place when they knew it wasn't at all?

The candy butcher came up the aisle, and her father bought her a bag of mint jellies. She didn't like mint jellies but ate them anyway, amazed at his good mood. Then her mother took her down the car to wash the sugar from her face and hands, and the tiny steel lavatory astonished and fascinated her.

From time to time the train stopped in strange towns to let people off or on. Old neon signs winked from brick hotels, and pointed forests like Christmas trees ran along the crests of hills, stood black against the skyline. The sun set round and red. While it still lit the undersides of the clouds, her parents took her down to the dining car.

What silent terror, at the roaring spaces between the cars where anyone might fall out and die instantly; and people sat in the long room beyond, and sipped coffee and ate breaded veal cutlets as calmly as though there were no yawning gulf rushing along under them. She watched the diners in awe, and pushed the green peas round and round the margin of her plate, while her parents were chatting together so happily they didn't even scold her.

When they climbed the narrow steel stair again, night had fallen. The whole of the coach had the half-lit gloom of an aquarium, and stars burned down through the glass. She was led through little islands of light, back to her seat. Taking her place again she saw that there were now people occupying the seats across the aisle, that had been vacant before.

The man and the lady looked as though they had stepped out of the movies, so elegant they were. The lady wore a white fur coat, had perfect red nails; the man wore a long coat, with a silk scarf around his neck. His eyes were like black water. He was very pale. So was the lady, and so was their little boy who sat stiffly in the seat in front of them. He wore a long coat too, and gloves, like a miniature grownup. She decided they must be rich people.

Presently the Coach Hostess climbed up, and smilingly informed them all that there would be a meteor shower tonight. The elegant couple winked at each other. The little girl scrambled around in her seat, and peering over the back, asked her parents to explain what a meteor was. When she understood, she pressed her face against the cold window glass, watching eagerly as the night miles swam by. Distant lights floated in the darkness; but she saw no falling stars.

Disappointed, cranky and bored, she threw herself back from the window at last, and saw that the little boy across the aisle was staring at her. She ignored him and addressed her parents over the back of the seat ...

Year's Best Fantasy 3. Copyright © by David Hartwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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