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Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy Paperback – September 26, 2006

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Paperback, September 26, 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 1 edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258339
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this all-original anthology, the editors, longtime partners in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, bring together mostly new fantasy writers, most of them contributors to previous Datlow/Windling books and perhaps forming a distinct "school." Call it American magic realism. In most stories, a departure from (usually) contemporary reality is taken for granted, with no one asking questions or expressing wonder. In Jeffrey Ford's "The Night Whiskey," a small town holds a lottery to see who gets to drink magic wine made from a bush that only grows in corpses. The drunken winners are then ritually knocked out of the trees into which they climb while communing with ancestral ghosts. Why? It merely is. While Ford can make this approach work, the book's weakness is that many of the stories are poetic at the expense of sense. There is, however, an outstanding opener by Delia Sherman, plus good work by Peter S. Beagle, Lucius Shepard, Catherynne Valente and Paul Di Filippo. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The organizing conceit of this story anthology, which is as concerned with style as with plot, is that it presents a circle of like-minded writers similar to a nineteenth-century Parisian literary salon's habitues. The notion proves accidentally apt, for, like a little magazine devoted to writers who agree with its stance, the book is variable in readability more than quality. The contribution deliberately fraught with Shakespearean coinages and obsolete words, for example, is more show-off than showpiece. Most of the rest are more concerned with plot and characterization. Fortunately, the best comes first: Delia Sherman's "La Fee Verte," reporting a young prostitute's encounters with an older one who is clairvoyant; set in Paris around the Franco-Prussian War, it is solid historical fiction and superb realistic fantasy with a touch of glistening grunge. Peter S. Beagle's old salt's tale "Chandail," Gregory Maguire's delirious World War I death scene "Nottamun Town," Lucius Shepard's West Indian ghost story "The Lepidopterist," and Paul Di Filippo's post-Katrina natural-disaster scenario "Femaville 29" all pleasingly blend stylization and substance. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Salon Fantastique is a collection of fifteen original fantasy stories written by some of the greats in today's fantasy field and edited by esteemed editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. It has an eclectic mix of stories, though most of them take place on our own planet, rather than some other fantasy setting. The styles are varied and the authors have written some very good stuff. The stories seem to fit the title of the anthology (which is always a good thing), as all of them seem a bit more sophisticated than your average fantasy story. I could almost picture these stories being passed among patrons of literary salons everywhere. On the other hand, the sophistication is a strike against some of the stories, as I couldn't make much sense of them. That may be a personal failing, but it did affect my enjoyment of the book.

The best stories in the book come from some of the more familiar names (at least to me), with "Femaville," by Paul Di Filippo being my favorite. In this story, a tsunami hits the east coast of the United States (it's not detailed where exactly), and the survivors are herded into camps until they either voluntarily re-settle or the government forces them out. Parrish Hedges is a cop with a problem; during the disaster, he tried to stop the looting, but the stress of this put him on edge. He was so tense that he ended up accidentally shooting a twelve-year-old boy with a water pistol. Now, he's one of the refugees. He meets up with a young woman and her daughter, and becomes the woman's lover. The daughter, along with most of the other kids in the camp, is creating a city out of mud, dirt, and whatever else they can put together. While the adults look upon this as children at play, being resilient through the worst tragedies, there may be something more to all of this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
What a great collection!

The opening story, "La Fée Verte" by Delia Sherman, is worth the price of the book alone. I started reading it in a restaurant and was glued to the booth until I finished it.

I enthusiastically recommend "To Measure The Earth" by Jedidiah Berry, "The Guardian of the Egg" by Christopher Barzac, and "The Night Whiskey" by Jeffery Ford. Fans of Algernon Blackwood, Charles de Lint, and Stephen King will find those tales to their liking, I believe. And I appreciated the wink to Lovecraft fans in "The Mask of '67" by David Prill.

I don't know why they chose to include the stories "My Travels With Al-Qaeda" by Lavie Tidhar and "Nottamun Town" by Gregory MacGuire in the collection. In my layman's opinion, they lacked any fantasy elements (and they were bleak, to boot). I have a great respect for the work of Datlow and Windling; I know their concept of fantasy is more fully formed and sophisticated than mine, so I'm sure I missed something in those stories that their experienced eyes found. However, I didn't enjoy either one, and they seemed out of place.

Oh, and "Down The Hall" by Greer Gilman was a delightful challenge to read. It was almost like trying to read Clockwork Orange without the glossary in the back. Make sure you're in a quiet environment when you work through that story. You have to take your time on that one, but it's worth it.

Congratulations on the award!
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Greensleeves on April 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
A must-read.

Loved every single story.

That's all I can say :)
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