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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Collection Hardcover – July, 1999
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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror annuals are always a treat; read this one and The Year's Best Science Fiction Sixteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois and you'll have a fairly complete overview of speculative fiction from 1998 as well as hours of great reading.
Datlow and Windling, renowned for crossing genre boundaries, gather stories and poems from mainstream magazines, literary journals, and Internet zines. There are vampires, a Lovecraft homage, enchanted birds and animals, shapeshifters, adult fairy tales, ghosts, and even a hunted muse. The best are Byatt's sensuous, enchanting "Cold"--about an ice princess who marries a glass-blowing desert prince--and Straub's novella, "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff" (which won the Stoker award for Best Long Fiction in 1999), a black comedy of revenge gone awry. The reference material includes each editor's review of the year's best novels, collections and anthologies, magazines, related nonfiction, children's books, and art. There's also a roundup of 1998's film, television, and dramatic offerings by Ed Bryant, a brief essay on comics by Seth Johnson, and obituaries by James Frenkel.
It's an invaluable source of introductions to authors you might not otherwise try, plus thought-provoking observations on fantasy in all its guises. You may not get to a convention this year, but if you've read Datlow and Windling, you'll know what a good one is like. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Twelve years of taking the pulse of literary horror and fantasy fiction haven't dulled Datlow and Windling's discrimination. The latest volume in their acclaimed series is a cornucopia of treats harvested from a wide assortment of trade and specialty press publications (including e-zines) issued in the U.S. and abroad. Though the editors split space evenly, Datlow's 11 solo horror picks run long, the better to accommodate their atmospherics and meticulously orchestrated chills. Peter Straub's "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff," an arch revenge thriller of Dickensian style and scope, is one of several stories that give old-fashioned horrors a contemporary twist. Modern terrors get their due in Dennis Etchison's "Inside the Cackle Factory," a flicker of Hollywood noir, and John Kessel's brilliant "Every Angel Is Terrifying," a sequel to Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" that stands on its own as a haunting meditation on failed redemption. Windling's 32 fantasy selections include eight poems and 24 stories that span a variety of story types: dark fantasy in Stephen King's unsettling dream tale "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French"; magic realism in Kurahashi Yumiko's man-to-animal fable "The House of the Black Cat"; parable in Jorge Luis Borges's brief "The Rose of Paracelsus." Kelly Link, in her wry metafiction "Travels with the Snow Queen," and A.S. Byatt, in her exquisite romance "Cold," show the traditional fairy tale to be alive and well. In addition, three stories were chosen by both editors. Notwithstanding the very different paths horror and fantasy fiction have taken in recent years, this indispensable anthology proves that a well-told tale can enthrall readers regardless of genre preference.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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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".