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The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2011 Edition Paperback – August 23, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books; Original edition (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607012812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012818
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anthologies can often be hit or miss, and at the very least one or more of the stories will be complete drivel. As I said, that is usually the case, but there is nothing usual or mundane about The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2011 Edition. The stories, each and every one, delighted and thrilled me. The wide breadth of examples of the two genres was astounding and well received. Far too often these kinds of compilations can be made to seem cookie cutter, each story being a reflection of the last. You'll find none of that blandness here, and it speaks volumes to the good taste and efforts of editor Paula Guran.

A few of the stand out pieces for me were written by Sarah Langan, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee and Holly Black. I have read both Langan and Gaiman before and was happy to see their usual high form. I was familiar with the reputations for Lee and Black and I can now see why they are both regarded so highly. While these four were my personal favorites, all of the other authors provided tales well worth reading. Each is a gem...a hideously weird, oddly monstrous, quietly beautiful gem.
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For the most part I enjoyed this anthology with the strongest pieces being, for me, "Lesser Demons", "Hurt Me", "Raise Your Hand if You're Dead", "The Stars are Falling" (although this story is not actually any form of speculative fiction, it is still quite eerie and touching) "Oaks Park" and "Thimbleriggery and Fledglings". I slept through "Crawlspace" and a few others that took too long to get to any kind of point, along with the massive George R. R. Martin novella which didn't really feel dark enough to qualify for inclusion here. In addition, many of the stories by Big Name authors (Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolf and, arguably, Peter Watts) are reprints from Prime's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011, and nearly all of the stories here are reprints from one anthology or another. Maybe there just aren't many publications left in the horror genre, but I would've liked to see more space dedicated to reprinting worthy works that would otherwise be lost to the recycling bin. Definitely worth the discounted Amazon price, unless you already have the original anthologies.

(Full contents:
Lesser Demons, Norman Partridge
Raise Your Hand if You're Dead, John Shirley
As Red As Red, Caitlin R Kiernan
Tragic Life Stories, Steve Duffy
The Naturalist, Maureen McHugh
The Broadsword, Laird Barron
A Thousand Flowers, Margo Lanagan
Frumpy Little Beat Girl, Peter Atkins
The Stars Are Falling, Joe R. Landsdale
Hurt Me, M.L.N. Hanover
Are You Trying To Tell Me This Is Heaven? Sarah Langan
Sea Warg, Tanith Lee
Crawlspace, Stephen Graham Jones
Mother Urban's Booke of Dayes, Jay Lake
Brisneyland By Night, Angela Slatter
The Thing About Cassandra, Neil Gaiman
He Said, Laughing, Simon R.
Read more ›
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Lackluster.

Most of these 31 tales are “dark” only if your notion of darkness includes a nightlight.

I did enjoy Norman Partridge’s noir-esque grand guignol “Lesser Demons,” Joe R. Lansdale’s almost Hemingway-like “The Stars Are Falling,” Laird Barron’s “The Broadsword,” John Shirley’s “Raise Your Hand If You’re Dead,” Sarah Langan’s “Are You Trying to Tell Me This Is Heaven” and most particularly Lynda E. Rucker’s “The Moon Will Look Strange.” (Peter Watts’ monster’s take on “The Thing” (“The Things”) is clever, but I found the critter insufferable.)

But that’s not even a fifth of the stories here. And while I know that’s inevitably the way of anthologies -- you can’t please everyone all the time -- this one simply didn’t make my threshold.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great condition!
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As with all anthologies, this is a mixed bag: A compilation of intriguing and frightening to silly and banal. Some of these stories are quite compelling; however, it took me a LONG time to read through this entire anthology. Some of the better known authors like Lansdale and Martin definitely had the best pieces in here...but overall, I'd recommend just reading a full length horror/fantasy book rather than a series of uneven short stories.
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