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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection Hardcover – August 24, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (August 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312290675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312290672
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,223,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Best" is a subjective judgment, but there's no question that for each of the past 15 years Datlow and Windling have assembled an excellent anthology of richly rewarding imaginative literature. Their harvest of horror and fantasy for 2001 is a bumper crop of 49 stories and poems, many from sources that won't be familiar to the average reader and some from newcomers whose promise bodes well for the future of both genres. As in years past, certain themes cut across genre boundaries and explode notions of horror and fantasy as separate literary forms. Shapeshifters are present in Charles de Lint's upbeat "Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Cafe," where they teach a lesson about trust in a romantic relationship, and in Susan Palwick's haunting "Gestella," where they crystallize the sense of estrangement in a deteriorating marriage. Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Bones of the Earth," written in the classic high-fantasy style, and S.P. Somtow's "The Bird Catcher," which features a legendary serial killer, are both moving coming-of-age parables. Intimations of realities beyond comprehension dominate Anthony Doerr's "The Hunter's Wife," a transcendent meditation on the consolations of mortality, and Caitl!n Kiernan's "Onion," which brilliantly suggests a universe of chaotic cosmic horrors through the dysfunctional lives of people who have seen but not understood them. Enhancing the mix are top-flight tales by Steve Rasnic Tem, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Hand and Gregory Maguire, and Michael Chabon's "The Dark God of Laughter," a metaphysical mystery that ranks as one of the year's most refreshingly uncategorizable stories. Without question, this book is mandatory reading for lovers of weird and fanciful fiction.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Hemon follows his galvanizing debut, The Question of Bruno (2000), a set of interlocking stories, with his first novel, which continues the story of the phoenixlike Jozef Pronek. As suggested by its evocative title, this episodic tale combines a tender musicality and somewhat sardonic affection for humanity with piercing insights into the sorrows of displacement and alienation. Hemon, himself an inadvertent Bosnian refugee, conjures his lost city of Sarajevo in vivid depictions of Jozef's Sarajevan youth, during which he copes with the longings and bewilderment of adolescence by forming a Beatles cover band. Jozef's passion for music brings him to the U.S. just as war breaks out in Yugoslavia, and he finds himself marooned in Chicago. As he has his stubborn hero struggle to find common ground with his father at home, then with oblivious Americans as he takes odds jobs, including canvasing for Greenpeace in Chicago's insular suburbs, where his accent attracts more interest than environmental concerns, Hemon, who possesses a diabolical sense of humor and a wickedly visceral sensibility, and who handles English as though it were nitroglycerine, considers the precariousness of existence, the continual revision of identity and dreams that immigrant life demands, and the ever-present shadow of death. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I've been an editor for over thirty years, first in book publishing, but mostly editing short stories for OMNI Magazine and webzine, EVENT HORIZON, a webzine, and SCIFICTION, the fiction area of SCIFI.COM. I currently acquire and edit short fiction for and I edit original and reprint anthologies. Born and bred New Yorker, although I travel a lot.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mantra ben-ya'akova on February 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I collect this series hungrily. There are always at least 10 stories that excite and amaze me, and I do feel they can honestly be called "the best" of each year. I also buy stacks of other genre anthologies, none of which demonstrate such consistent quality. How there came to be a gap on my shelf where this volume ought to be I'm not sure, but I did find out while shopping for its replacement what others have discovered: it is frustratingly difficult to get an accurate report of the contents of each of these volumes. Of the several well-written and helpful reader reviews, one refers to the 11th edition, another, while begging Amazon to represent it faithfully, nevertheless is clearly misfiled, describing the contents of the 14th. To be sure, even as I snarl and curse my way through the tangle of confusion I salute each reviewer's insights; I only wish their efforts could be properly represented. To help other benighted seekers, I'm suggesting a visit to this site, an extremely valuable and meticulously maintained resource.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scanningtext2002 on September 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I enjoyed many of the stories in this anthology. I normally skip the poetry, so I don't have any real comments on them. Many of the stories did seem to slant toward the literary side of the spectrum, with the fantastic elements only subtley present. Still plenty of good stuff here for almost any taste.
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Format: Paperback
(Because Amazon lumps all of these volumes together, this review is split in halves: Fifteen/2001 and Fourteen/2000.)

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteen Annual Collection collects the best (as determined by the editors) short fiction of both genres in 2001, using wide definitions of the genres in order to build a diverse, quality collection. Introductions survey related novels, anthologies, and media; some of these recommendations are useless, but others are a rich resource. The stories and poems themselves vary in quality, but the standard is high and some stories are a distinct success. It's no surprise that such a large anthology has its ups and downs, but Datlow and Windling achieve many of their lofty goals. This is a varied and successful collection of short fiction and a promising resource for discovering new authors. I recommend it.

Short fiction anthologies and collections are almost always a mixed bag, and this one in particular reaches farther--and is longer--than most collections, so there are plenty of opportunities for failure. But it's a surprising success: there's some underwhelming poetry and some disappointing and odd short stories, but on average the bar is high and the best stories are exceptional. Doerr's "The Hunter's Wife," Arnott's "Prussian Snowdrops," Kiernan's "Onion," Maguire's "Scarecrow," and best of all Palwick's "Gestella," the story of a rapidly-aging werewolf, were among my favorites, and while another reader may have different preferences the best part about this broad collection is that it has something to delight every sort of horror/fantasy fan, and perhaps something new for each reader.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This latest edition contains useful discussions of fantasy and horror publications over the last year (2000-1). I've noticed that increasing attention is given to small press items which most readers will have trouble getting their hands on, as well as media, anime, etc. which are of less interest to me. It was disappointing to see that horror novels were just listed, not discussed. Still, the fantasy section described several works that I'll be seeking out.
Stories in this anthology have over the years become increasingly literary and perhaps are not the most accessible examples of the genre. Imagery and style take precedence over plot and character in most of the works reprinted here. Perhaps the best story in the volume was one about a boy who "swallows a faerie", an elegant metaphor for creativity and its repression--I regrettably forget the author but recommend the piece. Also, Norman Partridge contributed a strong work of historical fantasy.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel V. Reilly VINE VOICE on January 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Made it through another one!!! Once again, Fantasy Editor Terri Windling runs roughshod over Horror Editor Ellen Datlow- Windling weighs in with 26 stories, Datlow with 19. (Datlow continues to beat the drum for awful-poetry lovers everywhere, with no less than EIGHT poems...Yuck.)
As usual, the book opens with Windling's interminably long overview on The Year in Fantasy, which is really no more than a list of every book that's come out that year, along with her rambling on and on about "Magical Realism" for what seems like 5000 pages. I read one page, skimmed the rest, didn't miss a thing.
On to Datlow's Year in Horror- Slightly more interesting, but still WAAY too long. Skimmed once again...
Edward Bryant's Horror and Fantasy in the Media overview is interesting reading, but it seems as if Bryant just throws every movie he's seen into the mix. Does "In the Company of Men" really qualify as Fantasy or Horror...? Seth Johnson's Year in Comic Books overview is very interesting, and considering how much Windling drones on, I don't think it would kill them to let Johnson have a few more pages than he does.
On to the stories themselves....There are a LOT of stories that are bad, if not downright AWFUL, in this book, and most of them go on MUCH too long. Among the Awful/Overlong are: The meandering, pointless "The Skull of Charlotte Corday", "It Had To Be You", which would have been cute if had been 20 pages shorter; Charles Grant's head-scratching yawn-a-thon "Riding the Black", ... "In the Fields" was so bad I actually had to skip to the next story; I also couldn't finish Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Song of Sirit Byar"- It seemed like the song had no end.....
It's not ALL bad, though.
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