The stories and poems in this volume are as strong as the title claims; a few are very good, and most are excellent. The contributors include literary greats like John Crowley, Harlan Ellison, and Louise Erdrich; genre giants like Ramsey Campbell, Charles de Lint, and Tanith Lee; acclaimed young-adult authors like Francesca Lia Block and Jane Yolen; excellent foreign authors better known in their native countries, like Australia's Terry Dowling and Bolivia's Claudia Adria'zola; and terrific new talents like Susanna Clarke, Andy Duncan, and Kelly Link.
With a volume this massive, it is difficult to describe all the stories, or even representative examples of the many different subgenres. Here are summaries of two selections from each editor:
In Louise Erdrich's tragicomic tall tale "Le Mooz," a prideful Ojibwa woman wrecks her marriage after a moose hunt goes awry. In Kathe Koja's chilling and startling "At Eventide," a serial killer tracks down the woman artist who escaped him and sent him to prison. "The Man on the Ceiling," a metafiction by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, is a brilliant, moving, autobiographical exploration of the physical, emotional, and creative lives of two writers. In Susanna Clarke's witty, beautifully written fantasy of manners, "Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower," a poor, handsome young priest learns his new parish overlaps Faerie, discovers a shocking ancestral secret, and makes covert marriage proposals to five beautiful sisters.
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is a great and generous collection, perfect for most, but not all, horror and/or fantasy fans. It includes both supernatural and nonsupernatural horror, but it doesn't have anything for the "splatterpunk" fan. Also, while the horror selections are drawn from both genre and nongenre publications, most of the fantasy selections are taken from nongenre magazines, anthologies, and other sources. If you want fantasy drawn largely or exclusively from genre sources, and particularly if you want only heroic/adventure/sword-and-sorcery fantasy, then you should skip the entire Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series. Those subgenres make no appearance in this volume, and have never had much of a presence in this series; it's as if only magic realism, fairy tales, and mythic/folkloric fantasy of a rather sensitive, measured, and grown-up sort need apply (even when it's young adult fiction). Also, extreme, graphic horror may be out of fashion, but its raw, adolescent energy will doubtless reappear in future volumes of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror whenever great graphic-horror stories are published. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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