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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection

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For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, nearly four dozen stor For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, nearly four dozen stories ranging from fairy tales to gothic horror, from magical realism to dark tales in the Grand Guignol style. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, new Year's Best sections on comics, by Charles Vess, and on anime and manga, by Joan D. Vinge, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror. The critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition continues with another stunning collection, including stories by Kelly Link, Kim Newman, Corey Marks, Eric Schaller, M. Shayne Bell, Helga M. Novak, Terry Dowling, Michael Libling, Zoran Zivkovic, Bentley Little, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Hodge, Conrad Williams, Tom Disch, Melissa Hardy, Joel Lane, Nicholas Royle, Tracina Jackson-Adams, Karen Joy Fowler, Jackie Bartley, Peter Dickerman, Ramsey Campbell, Adam Roberts, Robert Phillips, Jay Russell, Luis Alberto Urrea, Margaret Lloyd, Stephen Gallagher, Robin McKinley, Haruki Murakami, Theodora Goss, Kathy Koja, Lucy Taylor, Elizabeth Hand, Kevin Brickmeier, Sharon McCartney, Susan Power, Don Tumasonis, Nan Fry. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, Year's Best sections on comics, by Charles Vess, and on anime and manga, by Joan D. Vinge, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror.


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For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, nearly four dozen stor For more than a decade, readers have turned to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror to find the most rewarding fantastic short stories. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling continue their critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition with another stunning collection of stories. The fiction and poetry here is culled from an exhaustive survey of the field, nearly four dozen stories ranging from fairy tales to gothic horror, from magical realism to dark tales in the Grand Guignol style. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, new Year's Best sections on comics, by Charles Vess, and on anime and manga, by Joan D. Vinge, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror. The critically acclaimed and award-winning tradition continues with another stunning collection, including stories by Kelly Link, Kim Newman, Corey Marks, Eric Schaller, M. Shayne Bell, Helga M. Novak, Terry Dowling, Michael Libling, Zoran Zivkovic, Bentley Little, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Hodge, Conrad Williams, Tom Disch, Melissa Hardy, Joel Lane, Nicholas Royle, Tracina Jackson-Adams, Karen Joy Fowler, Jackie Bartley, Peter Dickerman, Ramsey Campbell, Adam Roberts, Robert Phillips, Jay Russell, Luis Alberto Urrea, Margaret Lloyd, Stephen Gallagher, Robin McKinley, Haruki Murakami, Theodora Goss, Kathy Koja, Lucy Taylor, Elizabeth Hand, Kevin Brickmeier, Sharon McCartney, Susan Power, Don Tumasonis, Nan Fry. Rounding out the volume are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantasy and horror, Year's Best sections on comics, by Charles Vess, and on anime and manga, by Joan D. Vinge, and a long list of Honorable Mentions, making this an indispensable reference as well as the best reading available in fantasy and horror.

30 review for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Wise

    This volume begins with 134 pages of essays reporting all things fantasy and horror from the year 2002. These contain the usual detailed reports from editors Terri Windling (fantasy) and Ellen Datlow (horror) plus the year’s obituaries of pertinent individuals by James Frenkel. But what made this material especially interesting were the essays by Charles Vess and Joan D. Vinge. The former explained the rise of graphic literature in recent decades – its abundance, popularity, and respect from the This volume begins with 134 pages of essays reporting all things fantasy and horror from the year 2002. These contain the usual detailed reports from editors Terri Windling (fantasy) and Ellen Datlow (horror) plus the year’s obituaries of pertinent individuals by James Frenkel. But what made this material especially interesting were the essays by Charles Vess and Joan D. Vinge. The former explained the rise of graphic literature in recent decades – its abundance, popularity, and respect from the literary establishment. The latter was a useful primer on the world of manga and anime. The anthology of the year’s best works contained 49 stories, poems, and essays. I found all of them enjoyable and more than a third of them exceptionally so. The standouts were: “A Letter of Explanation” (poem) by Corey Marks; The “Coventry Boy” by Graham Joyce; “The Violin Maker” by Zoran Živković; “Aquerò” by Melissa Hardy; “Creation” by Jeffrey Ford; “Seven Pairs of Iron Shoes” (poem) by Tracina Jackson-Adams; “Mermaid Song” by Peter Dickinson; “Pages from a Journal Found in the Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky” by Neil Gaiman; “No End of Fun” by Ramsey Campbell; “Swiftly” by Adam Roberts; “The Green Man” by Christopher Fowler; “Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush” by Luis Alberto Urrea; “Five Poems” (poetry) by Margaret Lloyd Gwynne; “A Pool in the Desert” by Robin McKinley; “Thailand” by Haruki Murakami; “Inside Out: On Henry Darger” (essay) by Elizabeth Hand; “The Prospect Cards” by Don Tumasonis; and “The Least Trumps” by Elizabeth Hand.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaimie

    The last annual collection that I read (the eighth, dating back to the mid-1990s) was a pretty big disappointment, but thankfully this sixteenth annual collection had a lot more like-able stories! I guess 2002 was when the fantasy/horror market hit a really good stride with lots of monthly magazines, the web just starting to share materials, and the world taking a turn towards the fantastic even in Hollywood and YA marketing, so it makes sense that this collection would have some excellent examp The last annual collection that I read (the eighth, dating back to the mid-1990s) was a pretty big disappointment, but thankfully this sixteenth annual collection had a lot more like-able stories! I guess 2002 was when the fantasy/horror market hit a really good stride with lots of monthly magazines, the web just starting to share materials, and the world taking a turn towards the fantastic even in Hollywood and YA marketing, so it makes sense that this collection would have some excellent examples of the fantasy and horror genres (and some which span both). I won’t go into too much detail about the collection as a whole, but one story that stood out for me was Jeffrey Ford’s medieval horror-tinged fantasy “The Green Word.” Ford explores pagan beliefs, woodslore, and the clash of culture when Christianity was introduced to Britain to tell a story of resistance, resurgence, and belief that is captivating even in its more horrific and sad moments. The other two stand-out pieces for me were a set of poems: “The Seven Pairs of Iron Shoes” by Tracina Jackson-Adams and “The Wolf’s Story” by Nan Fry. Both use narrative poetry to re-tell the stories of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively, from different and unexpected perspectives, which turn both stories on their heads and make us think more deeply about the traditions and expectations of the world. All three of these authors are new to me (amongst a handful of others who told intriguing tales), so the collection did what it was supposed to and has inspired me to seek out some new reading material!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sir He-Man

    This is probably one of the most enjoyable out of all the volumes by Datlow and Windling. The stories I enjoyed were: Egyptian Avenue - Kim Newman Details - China Mieville The Pagodas of Ciboure - M. Shayne Bell - Quiet French magical realism. The Coventry Boy - Graham Joyce - Joyce is always thought provoking. His ghost stories are so emotional they seem to inhabit a world of their own. The Green Word - Jeffrey Ford - I keep telling you Jeffrey Ford is a genius. This is probably the best fantasy st This is probably one of the most enjoyable out of all the volumes by Datlow and Windling. The stories I enjoyed were: Egyptian Avenue - Kim Newman Details - China Mieville The Pagodas of Ciboure - M. Shayne Bell - Quiet French magical realism. The Coventry Boy - Graham Joyce - Joyce is always thought provoking. His ghost stories are so emotional they seem to inhabit a world of their own. The Green Word - Jeffrey Ford - I keep telling you Jeffrey Ford is a genius. This is probably the best fantasy story in this anthology, along with his other "Creation". Stitch - Terry Dowling Puce Boy - Michael Libling - One of the best horror stories I have ever read. It's like Stephen King at his best. Thrilling all the way through. The Violin-Maker - Zoran Zivkovic Nesting Instincts - Brian Hodge - Hodge is a find. This is one of the weirdest stories I have ever liked. Aquero - Melissa Hardy - Quiet, strange magical realist story. Creation - Jeffrey Ford - My favorite story in this anthology. Equally horrifying and wondrous. What I Didn't See - Karen Joy Fowler - Nice little tale of a woman gone into the jungle to find something she can't find in civilization. Mermaid Song - Peter Dickinson Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky - Neil Gaiman No End of Fun - Ramsey Campbell Swiftly - Adam Roberts - Great alternative world fantasy where Europe is at war using Lilliputians and Brobdinbagians. Awesomely dark. The Green Man - Christopher Fowler - Survival of the fittest in the most romantic and horrifying way possible. Read anything by Christopher Fowler that you can find. Some Other Me - Brian Hodge - Weird, dark, brilliant. Hides - Jay Russell - A nice little break into the horror Western genre, a subgenre I enjoy immensely. Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush - Luis Alberto Urrea - Really good Latin American magical realism story. Little Dead Girl Singing - Stephen Gallagher - One of the most horrifying stories I have ever read that has no gore in it whatsoever. It just messes with your mind. A Pool in the Desert - Robin McKinley - Alternate world fantasy, and strange, but original. Thailand - Haruki Murakami The Rose in Twelve Petals - Theodora Goss - same goes for this. Unspeakable - Lucy Taylor Inside Out: On Henry Darger (essay) - Elizabeth Hand The Green Children - Kevin Brockmeier Feeders and Eaters - Neil Gaiman - Dark for Gaiman's taste, but excitingly so. Roofwalker - Susan Power The Prospect Cards - Don Tumasonis - another wonderful horror story The Least Trumps - Elizabeth Hand - Epic story of one family and their lake island home. Wonderful little fiction within fiction segments abound. Hand is great with portraying families in fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    There are some good kernels amongst the chaff, but many of the stories seem to be missing something important, like a point. Most seem to leave the reader hanging...where is the horror? The resolution? I keep reading, hoping to find what many other reviewers are raving about, but I am just not seeing it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sandi (Zorena)

    The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror I've always liked short stories. They are a great way to fit in a good read when reading time is limited or you just want a tasty morsel you can finish quickly. The whole problem with them is balance. Considering I grabbed this by mistake, thinking it was a fantasy, sci fi mix and not horror, it turned out a lot better and more balanced than a lot of anthologies I have read. That might have to do with the editors. Datlow and Whitling have done not only a fine jo The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror I've always liked short stories. They are a great way to fit in a good read when reading time is limited or you just want a tasty morsel you can finish quickly. The whole problem with them is balance. Considering I grabbed this by mistake, thinking it was a fantasy, sci fi mix and not horror, it turned out a lot better and more balanced than a lot of anthologies I have read. That might have to do with the editors. Datlow and Whitling have done not only a fine job of selecting the authors but also which of their stories were included in this volume. While not all were my cup of tea I can say that the majority of the writers managed to convey the mood they wanted in a short amount of time. A couple of my favourites were represented such as Gaiman and Murikami but I've also discovered a few new authors that I've had on to read lists but now will now get bumped up the list a lot faster. China Mieville, Jeffrey Ford and Brian Hodge come to mind. It's odd because I've already forgotten the misses in this book and can only remember the hits.Maybe that says something about the calibre of writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a trade sized paper back. I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set by signing up for pre-orders with the book store. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a trade sized paper back. I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set by signing up for pre-orders with the book store. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say the same thing. I rated this whole anthology based on the variety of the stories within, how many people seem to report finding the same ratio of gems & well received stories. I am happy to own this whole anthology and keep them in excellent shape, no matter how many times I have read them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    The short story form gets, like, no attention what-so-ever. Which is really sad. I think more people would read more often if the industry would only shine more light on the venue. It could expand readership in larger works by way of temptation. In this collection I read stories I might never have seen. Every one of these deserves to be read. The list of writers alone should be enough to prompt one to pick this collection: Ramsey Campbell, Brian Hodge, Elizabeth Hand, Bentley Little, Neil Gaiman. The short story form gets, like, no attention what-so-ever. Which is really sad. I think more people would read more often if the industry would only shine more light on the venue. It could expand readership in larger works by way of temptation. In this collection I read stories I might never have seen. Every one of these deserves to be read. The list of writers alone should be enough to prompt one to pick this collection: Ramsey Campbell, Brian Hodge, Elizabeth Hand, Bentley Little, Neil Gaiman. There are names as well that I've made note of because, well, I liked what they wrote in this collection: Kelly LInk, Carlton Mellick III, Peter Dickinson. To mention something about each story is beyond the scope of this review. Suffice it to say that this is a great collection of short stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    hit and miss like any anthology but a little bit on the pretentious side (natch; it's someone's idea of The Best) for my tastes. Still some gems in and amongst the pages. 'The Prospect Cards' is one of the best Lovecraftian style stories I've read in a bit and there were a couple of Neil Gaiman stories the are worth reading. And a disturbing story about words.... hit and miss like any anthology but a little bit on the pretentious side (natch; it's someone's idea of The Best) for my tastes. Still some gems in and amongst the pages. 'The Prospect Cards' is one of the best Lovecraftian style stories I've read in a bit and there were a couple of Neil Gaiman stories the are worth reading. And a disturbing story about words....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sir He-Man

    I will add a more detailed review later, but I just wanted to say this is my favorite out of all these volumes, and I've read over a dozen of them. Christopher Fowler, Brian Hodge, and Caitlin Kiernan are all noteworthy for writing truly extraordinary short fiction. Which is an art form that sadly gets much less attention than it used to. I will add a more detailed review later, but I just wanted to say this is my favorite out of all these volumes, and I've read over a dozen of them. Christopher Fowler, Brian Hodge, and Caitlin Kiernan are all noteworthy for writing truly extraordinary short fiction. Which is an art form that sadly gets much less attention than it used to.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    These stories are so amazing. The first one still has my head swimming. I love to pick one of these up this time of year, because I never have much time to read. The short story format is so easy to read one when you have a few minutes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    S. L.

    A great deal of horror, sex, and magical realism, but not too much traditional fantasy - maybe two stories would qualify. There are some brilliant five star stories in here, but as a whole, it's not very interesting. A great deal of horror, sex, and magical realism, but not too much traditional fantasy - maybe two stories would qualify. There are some brilliant five star stories in here, but as a whole, it's not very interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kayleen

    Read: Pages from a journal found in a shoebox left in a greyhound bus somewhere between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky, Neil Gaiman. A strange little tale told in diary form.

  13. 4 out of 5

    bluetyson

    Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Edition by Terri Windling (2003) Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Edition by Terri Windling (2003)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucianna Mee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's amazing. Captured me from the start and I couldn't put it down. It's amazing. Captured me from the start and I couldn't put it down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Apparently Fantasy and Horror is a euphemism for erotica and gay porn.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shane Brasher

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Banker

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Wahle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Mccoy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Pawl

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Ford

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Ruby

  26. 4 out of 5

    Luthien

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vee James

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vladimir

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