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.
Now in its 19th incarnation, this annual anthology has won a large, loyal audience with its meticulous selections of the year's best fantasy and horror. The contributors to this hefty (600-plus-page) batch include Jeffery Ford, China Miéville, Bruce Sterling, Mark Samuels, and Barbara Rhoden. A superb sampler for genre readers.
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.)
"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.
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.
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.\
Realms of Fantasy
"The most extensive and reliable guide to the field available."
To those who appreciate fantasy…this book is priceless.
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.”