About the Author
Ellen Datlow is a winner of two Bram Stoker Awards, seven World Fantasy Awards, and the Hugo Award for Best Editor. In a career spanning more than twenty-five years, she has been the long-time fiction editor of Omni and more recently the fiction editor of SciFi.com. She has edited many successful anthologies, including "Blood Is Not Enough," "A Whisper of Blood," and, with Terri Windling, "Snow White, Blood Red" and the rest of their Fairy Tales series. She has also edited the "Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" series, "The Green Man," and, for younger readers, "The Wolf at the Door" and "Swan Sister," Ellen Datlow lives in Manhattan.
Terri Windling divides her time between Tucson, Arizona and Devon, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Among modern fantasy anthologists, no one has been quite able to match the success of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as an editing team. Together, these two intrepid women have launched the annual The Year¿s Best Fantasy and Horror collection, the Snow White, Blood Red series, and the Mythic Fiction series, as well as putting together a couple of standalone YA collections. I¿d previously read one of the latter, and was fairly unimpressed, but resolved to give them at least one more try.This volume, the eighth annual Year¿s Best Fantasy & Horror collection, seems to be one of the more popular entries in its particular series, whatever that counts for.There¿s quite a bit of mature content here (of various types), but I was expecting that, and whenever things got too uncomfortable for me I simply skipped to the next story. What I was not expecting was for the collection to be so blasted literary. While I understand the temptation to branch out and reach for the highbrow, this is after all a volume that celebrates genres¿two of them, to be exact. And yet there was little of the horrific or the fantastic in several of the stories included here (Jonathan Carroll¿s ¿A Wheel in the Desert, the Moon on Some Swings,¿ David Garnett¿s ¿A Friend Indeed,¿ Barry Lopez¿s ¿The Entreaty of the Wiideema,¿ to name a few). And even when a story was, say, a fantasy, it couldn¿t be the kind of fantasy people expect to read. No medieval settings or sword-and-sorcery epics. Just urban fantasy and magic realism, and genre-benders.One of the horror stories was about potatoes.I¿m not even kidding.After all of that, it was a relief to run into a real live unicorn in Jane Yolen¿s ¿De Natura Unicorni.¿ Not that Yolen¿s treatment of the subject was at all generic: I was simply happy to encounter something recognizable among the collection¿s tribal languages and man-eating potatoes. (The author¿s poem ¿Märchen was also a breath of fresh air.) It was even more of a relief to make the acquaintance of a bona fide original fairy tale by science fiction author Geoffrey A. Landis, ¿The Kingdom of Cats and Birds.¿ I think my very favorite story, however, was Judith Tarr¿s ¿Mending Souls.¿ It was wonderfully Celtic and fey, and reminded me quite a bit of Susanna Clarke¿s faerie stories¿and believe me, you can¿t get much higher praise from me than that.I ended up skipping most of the horror stories (not my cup of tea), but quite enjoyed Michael Marshall Smith¿s ¿Rain Falls¿ and Stephen King¿s ¿The Man in the Black Suit.¿ The subject matter of King¿s tale was not incredibly appealing to me, but boy can he write! I can see myself reading more of his short stories and novellas, although not, perhaps, his novels.And of the stories that I wouldn¿t properly consider either fantasy or horror, I must admit that I was quite taken with Kelly Eskridge¿s ¿Strings,¿ a dystopian tale about a government-run classical music industry, which ends with the lines ¿Her hands were empty. She was full of music.¿But for every story that I enjoyed, it seemed that there were at least five that were completely awful, and overall I have to rank this the worst anthology I¿ve ever read.If this was the best of 1994, I don¿t want to see the worst.Strike two for Datlow and Windling.