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on May 6, 2003
For some reason, the folks at Amazon keep posting my reviews for this series in the wrong place, so expecting that to happen again this time, let me clarify: The review is covering the FOURTEENTH edition.
Years ago, I made the mistake of taking "The Year's Best" title seriously, and rushed out and bought all the books in the series I could get my hands on. That turned out to be a BIG mistake, as Editors Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling seem to have very different ideas from me about what makes a good story. Luckily, this is the last volume I was unfortunate enough to purchase.
I'll skip the usual complaints this time out. I won't rant about the overlong year-in-review segments. I won't mention the fact that Windling's Fantasy selections monopolixe the book. I won't utter a word about Windling's bizarre penchant for poetry and rehashed versions of older-than-dirt fairy-tales. I'll concentrate on the stories that were actually readable.
Charles de Lint contributes another Newford story, "Granny Weather"; As usual, it's a good read.
Ramsey Campbell offers up two creepy little gems, "No Strings", and "No Story In It".
Jack Dann's "Marilyn" turns a young boy's sexual fantasy into a waking nightmare.
Glen Hirschberg's "Mr. Dark's Carnival" is a great haunted house tale.
Ian Rodwell & Steve Duffy's "The Penny Drops" is waaayyy too long, but the knockout ending makes the suffering worthwhile.
Bret Lott's "The Train, The Lake, The Bridge" could almost be a true story, and it's all the creepier for that.
Jonathan Carroll's "The Heidelberg Cylinder" is a hilariously bizarre tale that needs to be read to be appreciated.
Jack Ketchum contributes "Gone", a short but excellent halloween tale.
Paul J. McAuley's "Bone Orchards" is a follow up to his tale from the previous Year's collection, "Naming The Dead"; It's a real treat, and I'd love to see more with the main character.
Search out the aforementioned Authors, by all means; Just don't waste your money on this stankass series....unless you have MUCH more patience than me.
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on March 22, 2002
A great way to sample the best old and new writers in the fantasy and horror genres. As with previous annual anthologies in the series, Datlow and Windling have pulled together a great collection, all stories drawn from books, chapbooks, and magazines published in the year 2000. The stories come from all over the globe, wherever weird stories are published in an English-language edition--Canada, USA, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia. Besides a sampling of the best stories, there are wrap-ups of the year in both genres (fantasy & horror), necrology of persons related to the fields, overviews of magazines, ezines, books, movies, recordings, personalities, and so much more, including the titles, authors, and sources of the stories which made Honorable Mention but didn't get in. A cornucopia of information on horror and fantasy in the Year 2000. No mistake this volume is the size and weight of a seminarian's study Bible; it is the bible of the two genres, and a bargain for the money.
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on January 15, 2002
I have to confess embarrassment here. 14 and 13 got mixed up, perhaps on Amazon, perhaps just in my head. This review is of 13.
I felt this was one of the weakest volumes of this anthology yet.
I read these as much for the introduction, giving the "state of the industry" and recommending books, as for the stories. I was disappointed therefore that that section in this volume was very short and few books were mentioned. I've read some of the recommended books and found them to be of low quality, making me wonder if the editors had really read them. On the other hand, though I haven't checked publication dates, I'm pretty sure some good work came out in 2000 that was not mentioned.
On to the stories: The editors of this series consistently make an effort to scour the globe for the "best" fantasy and horror stories. I rarely like their more exotic findings, since literature in translation (not to mention kooky magic realism without plot) tends not to work for me. This edition seemed to have more translated and out-of-left-field stories than others, which weakened it for me. Overall, the quality of the stories seemed rather low, particularly in the area of horror, though there was one nice story about a haunted house.
Standouts here are Gilman's incomprehensible but gorgeously poetic folktale story and a wonderful novella by John Crowley based on a selkie ballad. Nalo Hopkinson's story, despite a rather unsupported character twist, also is worth reading.
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on December 29, 2001
These two fabulous editors have done it again, bringing together the best fantasy and horror fiction of 2000 in one magnificent volume. What I enjoyed most about this anthology was the sheer variety, in authors, stories, and publications. Many of the stories and poems in this volume were originally published in hard-to-find anthologies or literary journals, and I wouldn't have been able to enjoy them had they not put them in this book. "The Heidelberg Cylinder" by Jonathan Carroll is one example, first published as a hardcover chapbook in a limited print run of only 1000, and which sold out almost immediately. "Granny Weather" by Charles de Lint is another, first appearing in Imagination Fully Dilated, Volume II. "Ship, Sea, Mountain, Sky" by newlyweds Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link is yet another, first appearing in Altair #6/7. I also greatly enjoyed "Greedy Choke Puppy" by Nalo Hopkinson, "The Pottawatomie Giant" by Andy Duncan and "Instructions" by Neil Gaiman. This anthology runs the entire gamut of the fantasy and horror genres, from urban fantasy to Carribean folklore to magical realism, and it is the best representation of the field today.
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on August 19, 2001
this year collection sets of with the amazing stiry "Incognita INC." by harlan ellison and it gave me the confirmation I needed that buying this book was agood idea. Te fourteenth annual collection brings us, once again, some of the most brilliant works of fantasy and horror of this year. I myself am aman of horror and I hardly read Fantasy, unless im shure its good. Ellen datlow and Terri windling are doing and inspiring and well deserved work by uniting all of this great stories in one vokume. I first learnd about the annual collection when i got the 13th book. after finishing it I wanted more, MORE! MORE! and here it is in my hands and I couldnt stop reading it. I have to admit that some of the stories here are not my cup of tea, as they say, and yet I found thema appealing and enjoing. I garentee any one who gets this collection hours of deligt, by the fire or by light of lamp, the magic is there to last.
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on April 2, 2002
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is always exactly that.I pick up this anthology every year because everything Datlow and Windling edit i am guaranteed to like. I am a devotee of both genres,so sometimes I have come across the stories elsewhere(like in their fairy-tales-rewritten-for adults series)but they are always ones i would enjoy rereading.I'm never able to put these down until i'm completely finished,and then im sorry there wasn't more.Highlights of this issue include "At Eventide" by Kathe Koja,and "Granny Weather" by Charles De Lint.
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on October 1, 2001
No one will ever like every story in a multi-author collection, but I found that I disliked a majority of this year's Fantasy and Horror collection. Even the list of Honorable Mentions did not seem impressive. Still, the good stories were good, and in themselves are worth reading. However, I suggest borrowing it from your library rather than buying it.
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