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The Years Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourth Annual Collection Hardcover – June, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
There is nothing bad in this newest in the series edited by Datlow and Windling; but among more than 50 pieces, too few are memorable or engrossing. The anthology is most successful with humor: "Truman Capote's Trilby: The Facts" by Garry Kilworth is a delightful look at a man's relationship with his somewhat fickle hat; and "The Dog's Tale" by Karel Capek is a canine fairy tale that will warm the hearts of dog owners everywhere. Some of the better entries give a new spin to an old story: Angela Carter reexamines Cinderella in "Ashputtle: or, The Mother's Ghost," while a fresh view of Lewis Carroll is provided by Steven Millhauser in "Alice, Falling." Perhaps the most inspired story is Ian Frazier's "Coyote V. Acme," a transcript of the opening statements made on behalf of Wile E. Coyote, who is suing Acme for selling him inferior merchandise. Some of the horror stories are very effective (especially those by Joyce Carol Oates, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, George Szanto and John Brunner); others (by David J. Schow, Michael Bishop, Peter Straub and Haruki Murakami, for example) are more soporific than horrific.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Another huge, 51-piece compilation of 44 stories, an essay, and six poems, ranging in tone from light humor through splatterpunk to dark horror. Among the standouts: John Brunner's tale of moths, witchcraft, and vengeance; computer surgery (Adrian Cole); the power of words (Isabel Allende); and a typically brilliant, witty Sleeping Beauty piece from R.A. Lafferty. Elsewhere, Joyce Carol Oates, T.E.D. Klein, Angela Carter, Peter Straub, Karel Capek, Michael Bishop, and others less renowned offer variations on: ghosts, abandonment, carnival freaks, satyrs, sinister festivals, dreams, sex, clocks, baseball, little people, Einstein, snake people, cancer, hats, organ donors, quilts, TV people, butterflies, Alice, Cinderella, dogs, mass murders, therapy, cartoon litigants, haunted houses, initiations, God as an amnesiac, and more. Eclectic, well crafted, with authentic thrills and chills: a solid addition to the series. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
So the publication of these large volumes of short stories is a regular purchase for me, enabling me to forego the magazines, which--to read in the kind of breadth and width brought to this collection by editors Datlow and Windling--would be ruinously expensive. I tend to like Datlow's picks better than Windling, that is, if the initials on the introductions indicate which woman picked which story for the volume, and I think that's because my tastes have always been more in line with Datlow. While both editors try to break free of the genre for at least a portion of their selections, Windling seems to have a certain stable of writers whom she can't stop from including--Yolen and de Lint come to mind--that I have never found as strong as she does.
The highlights in this volume include Stephen King's "The Man in the Black Suit," a Faulkner-influenced meet the devil tale that benefits from King's ability to write colloquially; Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples" which is like Gregory Maquire's Wicked in its ability to reframe a couple of well-known fairy tales so that the reader discovers that history is written by the winners; William Browning Spencer's "The Ocean and All Its Devices," wherein the Cthulhu mythos is reinvigorated; David Garnett's "A Friend Indeed," one of the best twist-in-the-tail stories that I've read in a while; and "Superman's Diary" by B. Brandon Barker, where Clark Kent finally wins the day. I liked some of the others, which tended to have great beginnings but weren't able to end to my satisfaction, including Bradley Denton's "A Conflagration Artist," Ian McDonald's "Blue Motel" and Jack Womack's "That Old School Tie." While I'm glad the editors include poetry, once again I wasn't impressed with the selections.
The following is a complete listing of authors and their included works: Kelly Link, "Travels with the Snow Queen; Steve Duffy, "Running Dogs"; Marisa de los Santos, "Wiglaf"; Susanna Clarke, "Mrs Mabb"; Rick Kennett, "Due West"; Catharine Savage Brosman, "Kokopelli"; Bruce Glassco, "Taking Loup"; Sara Douglass, "The Evil Within"; Larry Fontenot, "Wile E. Coyote's Lament"; Mary Rosenblum, "The Rainmaker"; Michael Marshall Smith, "A Place to Stay"; Lisa Goldstein, "The Fantasma of Q___"; Ralph Salisbury, "Hoopa, the White Deer Dance"; Stephen King, "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French; Karen Joy Fowler, "The Travails"; Terry Lamsley, "Suburban Blight"; Dennis Etchison, "Inside the Cackle Factory"; Kurahashi Yumiko, "The House of the Black Cat"; John Kessel, "Every Angel is Terrifying"; Neil Gaiman, "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar"; Lawrence Osgood, "Great Sedna"; Sylvia Brownrigg, "The Bird Chick"; Mark W. Tiedmann, "Psyche"; Carol Ann Duffy, "Mrs. Beast"; Jane Yolen, "Become A Warrior"; Norman Partridge, "Blackbirds"; Nick DiChario, "Carp Man"; Delia Sherman, "The Faerie Cony-catcher"; Zan Ross, "At the River of Crocodiles"; Steven Millhauser, "Clair de Lune"; Jorge Luis Borges, "The Rose of Paracelsus"; Peter Straub, "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff"; Michael Blumlein, "Revenge"; Holly Prado, "The Tall, Upheaving One"; Patricia A. McKillip, "Oak Hill"; Christopher Harman, "Jackdaw Jack"; Sarah Corbett, "Dark Moon"; Ellen Kushner, "The Death of the Duke"; Judy Budnitz, "Hershel"; Ray Vukcevich, "By the Time We Get to Uranus"; Kelly Link, "The Specialist's Hat"; Charles de Lint, "Twa Corbies"; Terry Dowling, "Jenny Come to Play"; Ilan Stavans, "Blimunda"; Chana Bloch, "Mrs. Dumpty"; A. S. Byatt, "Cold".