From Publishers Weekly
From its opening story, Patricia McKillip's "Transmutations," about a young woman who cares more for the beauty of language than for the perfectibility of her soul, through its close in Neil Gaiman's horrifically powerful "Snow, Glass, Apples," this anthology proves to be a cornucopia of the fantastic. The scores of entries include humorous tales, such as the amusing character study "Elvis's Bathroom," by Pagan Kennedy, and the whimsical "Superman's Diary," by B. Brandon Barker. There is pure psychological horror in "A Fear of Dead Things," by Andrew Klavan, exceptionally chilling fare in "Is That Them?" by Kevin Roice and the quirkily perverse in Jack Womack's "That Old School Tie." There are bread-and-butter fairy tales, like Geoff Landis's lovely "The Kingdom of Cats and Birds," as well as fictions arising out of historical mysteries, like Greg Feeley's "Aweary of the Sun" and Delia Sherman's "Young Woman in a Garden." Also included are poetry and an incisive essay by Michael Swanwick about the legacy of traditional fantasy. Like its predecessors, this volume lives up to the boast of its title.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The decision some years ago to expand editors Datlow and Windling's best fantasy annual to include horror has meant that it gets fatter each year, as if under some sort of . . . spell. This edition boasts 50-odd stories, poems, and essays, plus four overview essays (on fantasy, horror, the media, and comics, and not available for review) and really does no more than minimally necessary to adequately sample the quantity and quality of work in fantasy and horror these days. Authors represented run the gamut from grand old names like Ray Bradbury, through mainstream figures like Joyce Carol Oates, on to punkers like Pagan Kennedy, and beyond. The editorial bias is definitely toward literary striving (and sometimes pretension), but such ambition dominates short fantasy and horror fiction, so one can hardly complain. Indispensable. Roland Green