Undreamed-Of Wonders From The Farthest Reaches Of Imagination
In this second volume of the previous year's finest short fantastic fiction, acclaimed editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell showcases new works by stellar literary artists -- acknowledged masters of the genre and exceptionally talented newcomers alike. Astonishing worlds come alive in these pages -- realms of strange creatures and remarkable sorceries, as well as twisted shadow versions of our inhabited earthly plain. A bold and breathtaking compendium of tales -- including a new Earthsea story from the incomparable Ursula K. Le Guin -- Years's Best Fantasy 2 is the state-of-the-art of a unique and winning genre, offering unforgettable excursions into new realities wondrous, bizarre, enchanting...and terrifying.
About 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 coeditor of the Year's Best Fantasy and Year's Best SF series. A consulting editor at Tor Books, she won a World Fantasy Award for her anthology The Architecture of Fear.
Read an Excerpt
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