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Best New Paranormal Romance Paperback – November 30, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Guran's pioneering "best of" anthology, the first in a projected series, offers 12 enthralling tales of romance that incorporate supernatural, fantasy or SF elements. A few of these "stories of love and wonder" end with a standard HEA (romance-speak for "happily ever after"), but all avoid cliché. Among the best are Catherine Asaro's "The Shadowed Heart," about a battle-fatigued starfighter pilot; Elizabeth Hand's "Calypso in Berlin," a siren tale about the obsession an immortal nymph-artist feels for her human muse; Claudia O'Keefe's "A Maze of Trees," an eloquent testament to loneliness and sacrifice in an endangered forest; and Delia Sherman's "Walpurgis Afternoon," a whimsical gem concerning a mysterious Victorian home belonging to two witches that appears literally overnight in a middle-class suburb. Other contributors include Jane Yolen, Sandra MacDonald and Elizabeth Bear. In an illuminating introduction, Guran discusses the recent rise of the paranormal romance genre and the attempts to define what it is and isn't. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Juno Books (November 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809556537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809556533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,725,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on March 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Despite the title, not all of the stories in this book are romances in the traditional sense, nor do all have "paranormal" elements as they are often defined; many are just outright fantasy, which is, at least to me, something different from "paranormal."

The editor's introduction tries to explain what she means by "romance" but not all the stories in the book meet the definition. My favorite story in the whole collection, Delia Sherman's "Walpurgis Afternoon," is not a romance at all - although it happens to involve a wedding, it does not involve courtship at all. It's a very funny fantasy story, though - and it does have a happy ending.

The editor's intro also attempts to define "paranormal" - but has such a broad definition that it includes not only some sort of psychic powers among humans - the narrowest definition often used for paranormal - and supernatural fantasy beings, but also time travel, alternate history, and other sorts of science fiction; usually, science fiction that does not involve, say, elves, witches, or vampires is not considered fantasy or paranormal.

A couple of stories, in my opinion, involve all the worst cliches of the romance genre - big strong men, cowering women who need to be rescued, blah, blah - with some overlay of not-very-good science fiction. However, a couple of stories I don't like doesn't mean the collection isn't worthwhile, especially since there are more stories I did like than not. Elizabeth Bear is always worth reading. Jane Yolen's tale, more gothic horror than paranormal romance, is nonetheless a good story. And Sarah Prineas' "A Treatise on Fewmets" brings an entirely new slant to the old tropes about dragons and virgins.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on May 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Any book entitled "Best..." gives the potential for disappointment, especially in the crowded genre of paranormal romance. However this book was not disappointing in the least and was instead a great collection of short stories within this tricky-to-define genre, each very different in their own way. The editor, Paula Guran, gives an introduction to the genre (or, rather, how difficult it is to define the genre) and there follows twelve different short stories by authors within this field.

Most of these stories are set in the modern world although with paranormal elements: ('Follow Me Light' by Elizabeth Bear; 'A Maze Of Trees' by Claudia O'Keefe; 'Walpurgis Afternoon' by Delia Sherman; 'Calypso in Berlin' by Elizabeth Hand, 'Single White House' by Heather Shaw; 'Magic In A Certain Slant Of Life' by Deborah Coates; 'Fir Na Tine' by Sandra McDonald; 'A Treatise On Fewmets' by Sarah Prineas and 'The Hard Stuff' by John Grant), two are more traditional space science fiction ('The Shadowed Heart' by Catherine Asaro and 'Hero's Welcome' by Rebecca York) and one has historical elements ('A Knot of Toads' by Jane Yolen). Unlike most full-length romance novels there isn't always a Happy Ever After in these stories, they often instead explore some of the difficulties and sadnesses of life on this planet or another.

What really stands out about these stories is the writing styles. Many romance novels have little literary merit but the contributions to this anthology are written with great attention to detail and some wonderful turns of phrase. I particularly highlight "Calypso in Berlin" here which has some wonderful descriptions of Berlin after the Wall came down although in this story the romance is a very minor part of the piece.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Editor Paula Guran begins this anthology with a look at the definition of paranormal romance. It is a genre that is evolving over time, taking bits of its parental genres with it- Romance mixed with sci fi, fantasy and horror. Add a bit of suspense, maybe adventure and a dash of mystery. Shaken, not stirred. It is not an easily defined category as it can include happily ever after sex with a vampire as well as love in a space ship. But it may not even involve the love or sex or a happy ending. Best idea- ignore the need to categorize and enjoy the stories in Best New Paranormal Romance from Juno Publishing.

Best New Paranormal Romance is the first of a planned series by that title. The twelve stories included cover a broad scope but adhere to the basic recipe in the title.

Noteworthy for different reasons are

For sheer imagination and humor, Heather Shaw's Single White Farmhouse is a stand out. It proves that everything has needs and meeting your true love in a chat room is always risky.

For its current, political bent, John Grant's The Hard Stuff as the story of a man who loses both hands in Iraq and the efforts of his wife to save him from himself is hard hitting and forceful.

For depth and intelligence, Calypso in Berlin by Elizabeth Hand is the book's stand out selection. Calypso is alive and smitten with her modern day Odysseus. She again finds it hard to let go.

For fun and a chuckle, a brand new way to rid the property of dragons is explored in the light hearted A Treatise on Fewmets by Sarah Prineas.

Each story is a drink unto itself, best sipped slowly to enjoy the levels of bouquet and aroma. The selection is varied enough to have something to appeal to any reader who enjoys well written, carefully selected short stories that each tell a unique tale on its own.
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