YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR
TENTH ANNUAL COLLECTION
St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
One of the purposes for reading best of year anthologies is to discover great stories which the reader otherwise would have missed. If I get the book home and discover that I already have the entire table of contents scattered among various issues of magazines, I'll be disappointed and feel as if my money was wasted. Datlow and Windling's series has never had to worry about disappointing in this regard. These two editors comb through small and obscure publications in their (successful) attempt to bring the best the fields of fantasy and horror have to offer to their readers. In addition to looking in the normal genre magazines and anthologies which were published in 1996, they also looked as far afield as The New Yorker, The North American Review, and The Iowa Review.
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Tenth Annual Collection also serves to remind us that there is more to fnatasy than massive, multi-volume series. I imagine that readers of Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks and David Eddings would not necessarily recognize many of these selections as fantasy, but the lack of swords and mighty magics does not preclude the categorization. Epic fantasy is only a part of the writing which makes up the genre. The fantasies which are presented within the covers of this book are, perhaps, more subtle than the fantasies which line the bookshelves at the neighborhood bookstore.
Although High Fantasy may be missing from this anthology, the contents run the gammut from magic realism to fairy tales. Perhaps indicative of the field is the fact that the gaming-related and influenced novels which sell so well in the bookstores show a minimal influence on the stories which make their appearance in this volume.
The anthology opens up with a tremendous 100 page introduction, written by Datlow, Windling, Edward Bryant, Seth Johnson and James Frankel, which successfully gives an in depth overview of what happened, not only in the literary fields of Fantasy and Horror, but also in the media and comics-related fields, ending with Frankel's obiutuary listing for the year.
My only question about their selection concerns the story which was chosen for the pride-of-place first-story position. Although I'm a big fan of Parke Godwin's, I have to wonder why his story "The Last Rainbow," first published in 1981 was chosen for this book. As far as I know, this is the first time in ten years Datlow & Windling have chosen a reprint for their anthology series.
If you never read fantasy short stories, you should make a point to purchase this collection. It contains several wonderful tales and writing talents who you might otherwise miss. Datlow and Windling do such a wonderful job scouring for stories that the same can be said even if you do read fantasy short stories. Their anthologies are the broadest based of all the Year's Best anthologies available.
|Parke Godwin||The Last Rainbow|
|Jay Russell||Lily's Whisper|
|Tanith Lee||The Reason for Not Going to the Ball|
|Michael Bishop||Among the Handlers|
|Ana Blandiana||The Phantom Church|
|Angela Carter||The Snow Pavillion|
|Robert Silverberg||Diana of the hundred Breasts|
|Yxta Maya Murray||La Llorona|
|Thomas Ligotti||Teatro Grottesco|
|Graham Masterton||The Secret of Shih Tan|
|Bruce Holland Rogers||In the Matter of the Ukdena|
|Douglas Clegg||O, Rare and Most Exquisite|
|Stephen Dedman||Never Seen By Waking Eyes|
|Terry Lamsley||Walking the Dog|
|Garry Kilworth||The Goatboy and the Giant|
|Isobelle Carmody||The Phoenix|
|Gabriel Garciá Marquez||Caribe Mágico|
|Delia Sherman||The Witch's Heart|
|Patricia Preciado Martin||Plumas|
|Charles de Lint||Crow Girls|
|Lisa Russ Spaar||Rapunzel's Exile|
|Patricia A. McKillip||The Witches of Junket|
|Chris Bell||The Cruel Countess|
|Chang Hwang||Little Beauty's Wedding|
|Neil Gaiman||Eaten (Scenes from a Moving Picture)|
|Amy Breau||Elk Man|
|Terry Dowling||Beckoning Nightframe|
|Dennis Etchison||The Dead Cop|
|Kathe Koja & Barry N. Malzberg||Ursus Triad, Later|
|Robert Olen Butler||JFK Secretly Attends Jackie Auction|
|A.R. Morlan||. . . Warmer|
|Michael Marshall Smith||Not Waving|
|Susanna Clarke||The Ladies of Grace Adieu|
|Gerald Vizenor||Oshkiwiinag: Heartlines on the Trickster Express|
|Shara McCallum||Persephone Sets the Record Straight|
|Patricia C. Wrede||Cruel Sisters|
|Jane Yolen||The House of Seven Angels|
|Michael Swanwick||Radio Waves|
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