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Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

St. Martin's Press


640pp/$18.95/August 2001

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror:  Fourteenth Annual Collection
Cover by Tom Canty

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Then are dream't of in our Philosophy.
-Hamlet, Act I, scene i

Despite arguments to the contrary, many fantasy and horror fans live in a ghetto, reading stories and novels which appear under their chosen marketing rubric and unaware of the vast amounts of fantasy and horror being published in the mainstream press, read by readers who would never deign to pick up a fantasy novel or a horror story. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow, editors of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology series, once again have gone out of their way to explore the world beyond the ghetto walls, reprinting stories and poems from unlikely sources and by unfamiliar names. 

By scouring the non-genre publications, Datlow and Windling are able to introduce genre readers to authors such as Louise Erdrich, Stacey Richter, or Justin Tussing. At the same time, mainstays of the fantasy and horror field, such as Charles de Lint, Jack Dann and Ramsey Campbell are well represented (Campbell has two stories in the anthology). This gives the editors the opportunity to demonstrate that authors within and without the ghetto are both capable of writing good, original fantasy and horror which doesn’t attempt to recreate the tropes of the genres from scratch. 

Just as the authors and sources are varied, so too is the inspiration for the different tales. Ben Pastor’s “Achilles’ Grave” combines the epic poetry of Homer with the more gritty epic of twentieth-century warfare to provide a story. Harlan Ellison, on the other hand, takes a fantasy cliché, the disappearing shop, and infuses it with new life in “Incognita, Inc.” 

As always, Terri Windling has elected to include several poems in the anthology.  While this may be an indication of Windling’s own preferences and view of fantasy literature, it is also indicative of one of the attributes which so many fantastic stories share.  Poetry often forces its authors to take great care in word selection in order to create a sense which also frequently occurs in fantastic literature.  Furthermore, the poetry Windling has selected is built around fantastic elements which are as integral to the poems as they are to the stories included in the anthology.

Naturally with an anthology of this type, there will be plenty of opportunities to disagree with specific selections of the editors.  For the most part, Datlow and Windling have selected a good and wide range of representational stories which indicate the health and wealth of the fantasy and horror genres beyond the traditional sword and sorcery epics.  With competition this year from David Hartwell's Year's Best Fantasy anthology, it will be interesting to compare the view of the field presented by Datlow and Windling and by Hartwell. 

Author Story
Harlan Ellison Incognita, Inc.
Claudia Barbosa Nogueira Maria de Jesus
Louise Erdrich Le Mooze
Eve Sweetser Gretel in Berkeley (poem)
Charles de Lint Granny Weather
Ellen Steiber The Shape of Things
Ramsey Campbell No Strings
Jack Dann Marilyn
Nalo Hopkinson Greedy Choke Puppy
Delia Sherman The Crone (poem)
Ben Pastor Achilles' Grave
Tia V. Travis Down Here in the Garden
Laurence Goldstein Meeting the Graiae (poem)
Elizabeth Engstrom Riding the Black Horse
Kathe Koja At Eventide
Terry Dowling The Saltimbanques
Janet McAdams The Monster of Childhood (poem)
Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant Ship, Sea, Mountain, Sky
Glen Hirshberg Mr. Dark's Carnival
Stacey Richter The Cavemen in the Hedges
Carol Ann Duffy Circe and Little Red-cap (poem)
Terry Dowling Basic Black
Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem The Man on the Ceiling
Terry Lamsley Climbing Down from Heaven
Jack Cady Jeremiah
Jane Yolen Three Questions (poem)
Ian Rodwell & Steve Duffy The Penny Drops
Bret Lott The Train, The Lake, The Bridge
Claudia Adraizola Buttons
Elizabeth Howkins Snow Blindness (poem)
Greer Gilman Jack Daw's Pack
Justin Tussing The Artificial Cloud
Ramsey Campbell No Story In It
John F. Deane A Migrant Bird
Donelle R. Ruwe The Thousandth Night
Andy Duncan The Pottawatomie Giant
Howard Wandrei George Is All Right
Susanna Clarke M. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower
Francesca Lia Block Bones
Tanith Lee The Abortionists Horse (A Nightmare)
Stewart O'Nan Endless Summer
Jonathan Carroll The Heidelberg Cylinder
Jack Ketchum Gone
John Crowley An Earthly Mother Sits and Sings
Dawn Karima Pettigrew Atasdi:  A Fish Story
Amy Wack Tooth Fairy and The Sandman
Leone Ross Tasting Songs
Dennis Etchison My Present Wife
Jeffrey Thomas The Flying Season
Paul J. McAuley Bone Orchards
Neil Gaiman Instructions
Esther M. Friesner Hallowmass

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