Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Nineteenth Annual Collection


The legendary anthology is back, with witches and warlocks, fairy rings and gothic tales. The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2006 presents the best short stories and poetry published in this genre, and takes readers into the most fantastic realms imaginable. Culled from thousands of magazines, anthologies, and collections, acclaimed genre specialists Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant offer a broad range of fantastical and horrific fiction, including work from Jeffrey Ford, China Miéville, Bruce Sterling, ...
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The legendary anthology is back, with witches and warlocks, fairy rings and gothic tales. The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2006 presents the best short stories and poetry published in this genre, and takes readers into the most fantastic realms imaginable. Culled from thousands of magazines, anthologies, and collections, acclaimed genre specialists Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant offer a broad range of fantastical and horrific fiction, including work from Jeffrey Ford, China Miéville, Bruce Sterling, Mark Samuels, Barbara Roden and many others. In addition, this critically renowned series offers an extensive overview of the year in fantasy and horror. The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2006 is the best source for fans or nascent readers of fantasy and horror.

The annual excellence that has garnered this series two consecutive World Fantasy Awards and a windfall of critical acclaim continues in an impressive new anthology. Comprehensive in its coverage of the year in horror and fantasy, this collection features works by Ellen Kushner, Pat Cadigan, Jane Yolen, and dozens of others.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
If you read one anthology of fantastic fiction this year, it has to be this one. Datlow and Windling have shown, over this past decade, that they have an unerring eye for the fantastic that is at once literate and accessible, which is no mean feat. I particularly liked the Wrede and the McKillip, but almost all of the stories are worthy of note. Highly recommended.
—Michelle West
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection is short on fantasy and long on horror--with special emphasis on sadomasochism, which, in the hands of an author like Kathe Koja, can result in a darkly illuminating story about sexual fantasies sometimes better left unrealized. Not all writers are so gifted, however. Grant Morrison gives us an offensive story about a blind heroine who is urinated upon and slashed with a razor before being clamped to a ``Chair of Final Submission.'' But Datlow and Windling, who edited the earlier volumes in this series, offer entertaining fare as well, including several appearances by good old-fashioned vampires. K. W. Jeter's aged monster has needs that promise to make his daughter's life a horror for all eternity, while Jane Yolen pens a touching tale of a young girl whose love allows her undead mother to go to her eternal rest. Also included are some enjoyable new turns on famous characters, including Peter Pan, Robin Hood and Santa Claus. Deserving of special mention are Nancy Willard's magically real tale of a man who returns from the dead to retrieve his pets and Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth's suspenseful, literate tale of an archeologist on the trail of immortality. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly
"Best" is a subjective judgment, but there's no question that for each of the past 15 years Datlow and Windling have assembled an excellent anthology of richly rewarding imaginative literature. Their harvest of horror and fantasy for 2001 is a bumper crop of 49 stories and poems, many from sources that won't be familiar to the average reader and some from newcomers whose promise bodes well for the future of both genres. As in years past, certain themes cut across genre boundaries and explode notions of horror and fantasy as separate literary forms. Shapeshifters are present in Charles de Lint's upbeat "Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Cafe," where they teach a lesson about trust in a romantic relationship, and in Susan Palwick's haunting "Gestella," where they crystallize the sense of estrangement in a deteriorating marriage. Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Bones of the Earth," written in the classic high-fantasy style, and S.P. Somtow's "The Bird Catcher," which features a legendary serial killer, are both moving coming-of-age parables. Intimations of realities beyond comprehension dominate Anthony Doerr's "The Hunter's Wife," a transcendent meditation on the consolations of mortality, and Caitlin Kiernan's "Onion," which brilliantly suggests a universe of chaotic cosmic horrors through the dysfunctional lives of people who have seen but not understood them. Enhancing the mix are top-flight tales by Steve Rasnic Tem, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Hand and Gregory Maguire, and Michael Chabon's "The Dark God of Laughter," a metaphysical mystery that ranks as one of the year's most refreshingly uncategorizable stories. Without question, this book is mandatory reading for lovers of weird and fanciful fiction. (Aug. 21) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
You can't improve on the "best," but as the editors of this landmark anthology series show in its most recent volume, you can find fresh new angles from which to present it. For the first time ever, they have selected an essay, Douglas Winter's "The Pathos of Genre," and this incisive critique of the limits of genre branding subtly calls attention to how Datlow and Windling's fiction and poetry selections usually resist simple categorizing. Many of their best picks from 1999 willfully bend, blend and move beyond expected genre materials: Tim Lebbon's "White," a horror and SF cross-stitch, uses B-movie imagery to explore the behavior of people confronted with ecological apocalypse. Kim Newman, in "You Don't Have to Be Mad," grounds a caustic horror satire of modern business mores in set pieces appropriated from television espionage programs of the 1960s. Michael Marshall Smith, in "Welcome," and Charles de Lint, in "Pixel Pixies," conjure alternate fantasy worlds with the most unlikely of talismans--a computer. Neil Gaiman, one of six authors represented by more than one contribution, places both a horror and a fantasy tale: "Keepsakes and Treasures: A Love Story," a nasty bit on the death of romance, and "Harlequin Valentine," a darkly funny fantasy. There are more than a few modern fairy tale variants, but even these show a refreshing range of styles and approaches, notably Patricia McKillip's "Toad," a delightful deflation of the frog prince's tale. The usual generous survey essays by Datlow, Windling, Ed Bryant and Seth Johnson only enhance the volume's reputation as indispensable reading for the year. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
VOYA - Alison Kastner
The editors present a veritable feast of fantasy and horror, some of which readers will relish, and others of which, in the grand tradition of the genres, may turn stomachs. Gems such as Charles DeLint's Crow Girls, the story of a woman in crisis who is inexplicably moved by a chance encounter with two enigmatic girls, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's reminiscences of Surinam in Caribe Magico, make the collection one worth having. As in past years, the editors give a taste of a wide variety of styles, from the magic realism of Patricia Preciado Martin's Plumas to the B-movie horror style of Terry Lamsley's Walking the Dog. Those who have enjoyed rewritings of fairy tales will be drawn to Tanith Lee's The Reason for Not Going to the Ball, in which the "wicked stepmother" exonerates herself in a letter to the now-grown Cinderella. Jane Yolen's story The House of Seven Angels, about a rabbi who studies in the company of angels, begs to be read aloud. The summations of the year in fantasy and horror will make this a useful tool for those offering reader's advisory. Other chapters include "Horror and Fantasy in the Media" and "Obituaries." VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
VOYA - Ann Welton
Horror expert Datlow joins fantasy team Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant to present forty notable stories and poems published in 2005. The crossover between horror fiction and fantasy is considerable, with a number of stories (for example, Deborah Roggie's The Mushroom Duchess or Kim Newman's wonderful novella, The Gypsies in the Wood) falling into both genres, dealing as they do in the uncanny. Other stories are clearly of one camp or the other, with Reggie Oliver's Among the Tombs representing traditional horror, or Delia Sherman's Walpurgis Afternoon presenting a classic fantasy. The collection as a whole represents a broad range of writing styles-all challenging and demonstrating the eclectic and varied nature of the field. More than one hundred pages of detailed front matter written by such luminaries as Joan D. Vinge and Charles de Lint presents summations of both horror and fantasy in 2004, fantasy and horror in the media, comics and graphic novels, anime and manga, music of the fantastic, and obituaries. A list of stories receiving honorable mentions is appended after the body of the book. This notable collection is excellent for reading either cover to cover or browsing, and it is one that can serve to introduce readers to the work of authors whose writing bends both stylistic and narrative boundaries. It is recommended for larger collections.
Library Journal
Myths and legends, fairytales and folklore, nightmares and dreams imbue the mundane with touches of magic while illustrating essential aspects of human nature. This annual anthology, the 13th in the series, explores those enchanting influences and gracefully demonstrates how the terms fantasy and horror encompass a range of creative writing from the "high" literary to the underrated comic. (Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics are more thought-provoking than most best sellers.) As usual, the editors begin with summaries of the past year in fantasy and horror in publishing, movies, and other media. Stressing the understanding of "interstitial" literature--works that cannot be pigeonholed to a single genre and that consists of much of imaginative writing--the editors then present a variety of short stories and poems portraying wonders that are funny, subtle, lyric, and dreadful. Many are written by such accomplished and well-known authors as Ursula K. Le Guin, Gaiman, Charles de Lint, and Steve Resnic Tem. This volume of all-around high-quality storytelling is highly recommended to imaginations of all shapes and sizes.--Ann Kim, "Library Journal" Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Library Journal
This collection of over 40 stories and poems includes selections by Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, K.W. Jeter, Fred Chappell, and others as well as essays on the state of fantasy and horror in 1991. Recommended for most libraries' anthology collections.
Realms of Fantasy
"The most extensive and reliable guide to the field available."
Tampa Tribune
To those who appreciate fantasy…this book is priceless.
Kirkus Reviews
Splendid by an any measure, whether as fantasy, horror, or simply memorable prose, this fat sheaf of the year's best is distinguished by two standout stories: "The Hunter's Wife," originally published in Atlantic Monthly and also included in author Anthony Doerr's first book, The Shell Collector (2002), is set in a wild Montana valley. It tells of a hunting guide married to a magician's assistant who one day finds that her palm can read the last visions of dying or even dead humans, animals, fishes, and insects. Doerr's astounding prose sings with hyperreal poetic detail and registers every physical object with the palps of a naturalist. Second in merit is Wonder Boy Michael Chabon's "The God of Dark Laughter" (from The New Yorker), a supernatural police procedural whose weird setting in Yuggogheny County echoes both Lovecraft and Faulkner. Chabon's prose rises above most other entries in the collection, though many are brilliant, including: Jeffrey Ford's compelling "The Honeyed Knot," June Considine's "To Dream of White Horses" (great first paragraph!), Marion Arnott's "Prussian Snowdrops," Gene Wolfe's "Queen," Carol Emshwiller's "The Project," and Caitlin R. Kiernan's "Onion." Editors Datlow and Windling provide their usual absorbing summation of the year's best fiction; new to the annual are similar assessments for horror and fantasy comics (by artist Charles Vess) and for anime and manga (by Joan D. Vinge). Seth Johnson offers "Swimming in the Mainstream Comics," while James Frankel surveys the Great Parallel World Beyond in "Obituaries: 2001." Treasure abounding.
From the Publisher
"The excellent 19th volume in this distinguished anthology series offers 40 stories and poems sure to please fantasy and horror connoisseurs."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Praise for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Seventeenth Annual Collection

“Datlow (the horror half) teams with new coeditors (who assume the fantasy detail once handled by Terri Windling) and the series doesn’t skip a beat in quality, delivering forty-three stories and poems published in 2003 that illustrate modern fantasy’s breadth and variety...proof that the best fantastic fiction is modern mythmaking at its finest.”

—-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Link and Grant’s good taste in outré setups, stylistic and formal adventurousness, and ambiguity shows in these challenging selections.”


Praise for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Sixteenth Annual Collection

“This sixteenth incarnation of their award-winning anthology series shows fantasy and horror fiction to be alive, well and accessible in an impressively broad array of venues...delectably varied in theme and approach.”

—-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A diverse collection of fiction and poetry…The stories constitute an entertaining, eerie mixture of creepiness and suspense.”


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312356149
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/2006
  • Series: Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Series, #19
  • Edition description: Nineteenth Annual Collection, 2006 Editi
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Datlow is the acclaimed editor of such anthologies as Blood Is Not Enough, Little Deaths, Alien Sex, Vanishing Acts, and The Dark. She has won the Hugo Award for Best Editor once, the World Fantasy Award seven times and the International Horror Guild award for The Dark. She and Terri Windling also won the Bram Stoker Award for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Thirteenth Annual Collection. She currently edits fiction for SCIFI.COM.

Kelly Link and Gavin Grant started Small Beer Press in 2000. They have published the zine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet ("tiny but celebrated"—-The Washington Post) for seven years.

Kelly Link's first collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, was selected as a Best Book of the Year by Salon, Locus, and The Village Voice. Stories from the collection have won the Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Awards. Her most recent short stories have appeared in The Dark and The Faery Reel. She recently published Magic for Beginners, and when she isn't writing, she edits the anthology Trampoline.

Originally from Scotland, Gavin Grant regularly reviews fantasy and science fiction. Publications where his work has appeared include Scifiction, Strange Horizons, The Third Alternative, and Singularity.

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Table of Contents


Summation 2005: Fantasy—Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant

Summation 2005: Horror—Ellen Datlow

Fantasy and Horror in the Media: 2005—Edward Bryant

Graphic Novels: 2005—Charles Vess

Anime and Manga: 2005—Joan D. Vinge

Music of the Fantastic: 2005—Charles de Lint

Obituaries: 2005—James Frenkel

Walpurgis Afternoon—Delia Sherman

The Mushroom Duchess—Deborah Roggie

An Incident at Agate Beach—Marley Youmans

Among the Tombs—Reggie Oliver

Obedience, or The Lying Tale (poem)—Jennifer Chang

American Morons—Glen Hirshberg

Shallaballah—Mark Samuels

Night Train: Heading West (poem)—Sarah Monette

Denial—Bruce Sterling

Northwest Passage—Barbara Roden

Proboscis—Laird Barron

Kronia—Elizabeth Hand

Omens (poem)—Kelly Everding

Follow Me Light—Elizabeth Bear

Boatman's Holiday—Jeffrey Ford

The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode In On)—Howard Waldrop

When Angels Come In—Adam L. G. Nevill

Twilight States—Albert E. Cowdrey

Jolly Bonnet—Andrew Bonia

The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai—Geoff Ryman

The Souls of Drowning Mountain—Jack Cady

The Last One—Robert Coover

The Ball Room—China Miéville, Emma Bircham, and Max Schäfer

Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus (poem)—Theodora Goss

Vacation—Daniel Wallace

Cruel Sistah—Nisi Shawl

Ding-Dong-Bell—Jay Russell

A Case Study of Emergency Room Procedure and Risk Management by Hospital Staff Members in the Urban Facility—Stacey Richter

The Scribble Mind—Jeffrey Ford

Scarecrow—Tom Brennan

Going the Jerusalem Mile—Chaz Brenchley

Grief (poem)—Willa Schneberg

Boman—Pentti Holappa

The Machine of a Religious Man—Ralph Robert Moore

Hot Potting—Chuck Palahniuk

My Father's Mask—Joe Hill

The Guggenheim Lovers—Isabel Allende

A Statement in the Case—Theodora Goss

The Pavement Artist—Dave Hutchinson

The Gypsies in the Wood—Kim Newman

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent fantasy and horror collection

    The nineteenth annual fantasy and horror collection of forty tales is as always consists of top selections accompanied by seven essays. In the fantasy summation, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant point out that there were many fewer genre anthologies than normal, but that they still had too many strong entries to choose from. Ellen Datlow, on the other hand, felt that the horror genre had an increase in terms of magazines and anthologies to select from, insisting she could have filled three books this year with quality tales. As always the inclusions (from both genres) run the table in terms of themes and format. Fans receive a taste of what happened in 2005, especially how wide the genres have become. There are also treatises on media (¿horror does better during Republican administrations¿), graphic novels, anime and manga, music, and obits in a year in which superstars Andre Norton and Will Eisner, etc. passed away. Though this reviewer enjoys the articles that summarize 2005, it is once again the included tales that make this compilation from famous, almost famous and the newbies a sure shot at award nomination time as this is an excellent entry in one of the superior, if not the best, annual collections. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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