on December 1, 2002
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Third Edition; ISBN 031204450X
Third in the long-running annual series, the Third Edition is a collection of the "best" fantastical short stories published in 1989. The whole series is consistently high-quality [even if it deos suffer a bit from cronyism], and this edition is no exception. This volume also contains Windling's summation of fantasy in books and publishing, Datlow's summation of horror, and Edward Bryant's summation of fantasy and horror in film for the year 1989. Windling's customary synopses for her "baker's dozen" list of top fantasy novels are, in this edition, extremely short. My favorites from this year are Michael Swanwick's "The Edge of the World," and Steven Millhouser's "The Illusionist." The stinker for this year: "Yore Skin's Jes's Soft'n Purty... He Said (Page 243)" by Chet Williamson. I found it to be wrongheaded, pointless, and in extremely poor taste. I understand that it was written in the style of an early 20th century pulp western, but a poorly-written story is still a poorly-written story, no matter how clever the writer thinks he's being. I also think had the protagonist been a woman, for example, instead of a homosexual man, this story would never have made it out of the editors' slush pile.
Complete list of included writers and their works: Michael Swanwick, "The Edge of the World"; Fred Chappell, "The Adder"; Nancy Etchemendy, "Cat in Glass"; Rory Harper, "Monsters, Tearing Off My Face"; Joyce Carol Oates, "Family"; James Powell, "A Dirge for Clowntown"; Delia Sherman, "Miss Carstairs and the Merman"; Reginald Bretnor, "Unknown Things"; Bruce Boston & Robert Frazier, "Return to the Mutant Rainforest"; Tatyana Tolstaya, "Date With A Bird"; Joseph A. Citro, "Them Bald-headed Snays"; Edward Bryant, "A Sad Last Love at the Diner of the Damned"; Michael Moorcock, "Hanging the Fool"; Leif Enger, "Hansel's Finger"; Garry Kilworth, "Dogfaerie"; Emma Bull, "A Bird That Whistles"; Lisa Tuttle, "The Walled Garden"; Scott Baker, "Varicose Worms"; Leszek Kolakowski, "The War with Things"; Jane Yolen, "The Faery Flag", Zhaxi Dawa, "Souls Tied to the Knots on a Leather Cord"; Steven Millhouser, "The Illusionist"; Charles DeLint, "Timeskip", Robert R. McCammon, "Something Passed By", Dan Daly, "Self Portrait, Mixed Media on Pavement, 1988"; Michael de Larrabeiti, "The Plane Tree and the Fountain"; Tanith Lee, "White as Sin, Now"; Pat Cadigan, "The Power and the Passion"; Midori Snyder, "Jack Straw"; J.N. Williamson, "The Sudd"; Jonathan Carroll, "Mr. Fiddlehead"; Dan Simmons, "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites"; Andrew Stephenson, "Cinema Altere"; Gary A. Braunbeck, "Matters of Family"; Jane Yolen, "Beauty and the Beast: An Anniversary"; Joan Aiken, "Find Me"; James P. Blaylock, "Unidentified Objects"; Ramsey Campbell, "Meeting the Author"; Gwyneth Jones, "The Lovers"; Chet Williamson, "Yore Skin's Jes's Soft'n Purty... He Said. (Page 243)"; Bruce Sterling, "Dori Bangs"; Joe R. Lansdale, "The Steel Valentine"; John Shirley, "Equilibrium"; Joe Haldeman, "Time Lapse"; Garry Kilworth, "White Noise"; Robley Wilson, "Terrible Kisses"; Greg Bear, "Sleepside Story"