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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection [Paperback]

Kelly Link , Gavin Grant , Ellen Datlow

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Book Description

Oct. 2 2007 Year's Best Fantasy & Horror
For twenty years this award-winning compilation has been the nonpareil benchmark against which all other annual fantasy and horror collections are judged. Directed first by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling and for the past four years by Datlow and Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, it consistently presents the strangest, the funniest, the darkest, the sharpest, the most original—in short, the best fantasy and horror.  The current collection, marking a score of years, offers more than forty stories and poems from almost as many sources. Summations of the field by the editors are complemented by articles by Edward Bryant, Charles de Lint, and Jeff VanderMeer, highlighting the best of the fantastic in, respectively, media, music, and comics, as well as honorable mentions—notable works that didn’t quite make the cut, but are nonetheless worthy of attention.
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection is a cornucopia of fantastic delights, an unparalleled resource and indispensable reference that captures the unique excitement and beauty of the fantastic in all its gloriously diverse forms, from the lightest fantasy to the darkest horror.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 20 edition (Oct. 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312369425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369422
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,818,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In the two decades since this venerable series was inaugurated, so many venues have begun to welcome horror and fantasy stories that these dedicated editors play a crucial role in bringing the best new works to fans who don't always read far afield. Trend spotters will note numerous ghost stories in Datlow's horror picks, including Christopher Harman's The Last to Be Found and Stephen Volk's 31/10, supremely eerie exercises in the ghost-hunt-gone-bad vein, and Stephen Gallagher's The Box and Glen Hirshberg's The Muldoon, whose spooks are equal parts psychological and supernatural. Link and Grant's eclectic fantasy picks range from the haunting magical realism of Geoff Ryman's Hugo- and WFA-nominated Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter to the light urban fantasy of Ellen Klages's In the House of Seven Librarians and Jeffrey Ford's blend of whimsy and the macabre in The Night Whiskey. As the line between fantasy and horror blurs, this combined presentation of their exemplars will give readers of both genres much to enjoy, and may even broaden a few horizons. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"The best anthology I have read in a while, this is great for keeping up with what is going on in the worlds of fantasy and horror, or simply as a collection of fine stories."
--The Zone
 
"This is the anthology to pick up every year if you want to read the best short fiction from the previous year and get overviews of the best fiction, non-fiction, films and video, anime, and music that was released in that year."--Green Man Review
 
"Long lived and always outstanding." --Science Fiction Chronicle
 
"A standard that... will be the one to beat in the future." --Locus
 
Treasures abound here."  --Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
"You can't improve on the "best," but as the editors of this landmark anthology series show in its most recent volume, you can find fresh new angles from which to present it.. . . The usual generous survey essays only enhance the volume's reputation as indispensable for the year."--Publishers Weekly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Twentieth Annual Collection is a terrific compilation. Oct. 22 2007
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As has been the case (at least since this reviewer began reading this annual collection several years ago), this anthology provides some of the best horror and fantasy short stories, poems and other media from 2006. The forty entries are always fun even for those who may have read most of them in other collections. The tales range the gamut from wishfully whimsical to fundamentally frightening to awesomely amusing. However, once again it is the deep articles that provide "Summation 2006: Fantasy", "Summation 2006: Horror", "The Year in Media of the Fantastic: 2006", "Fantasy in Comics and Graphic Novels 2006", "Music of the Fantastic: 2006", and "Obituaries: 2006" that bring an extra edge to this always strong collection; even the obits enhance the book with its short homage to the famous like the Jims Baen and Williamson and the not so famous (to me) such as "Retro Hugo" winner Wilson Tucker. This reviewer especially enjoys comparing this year's trends as described in the Summations to the last few years. Readers will enjoy meeting new authors (at least to me) like Ira Sher and Margo Lanagan and long time favorites like Gene Wolfe and Terry Dowling. Besides the articles, perhaps the best entry is the realistic futuristic "Another Word for Map Is Faith" by Christopher Rowe (right surname for the author of this tale), who extrapolates the religious right teaming with the Neocons into a scary vision of a Taliban-like control of America. The Twentieth Annual Collection is a terrific compilation.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 Years and Still Great Nov. 23 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the 20th edition of the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and I can recommend this one along with the other nineteen. Most anthologies feature a couple great stories, a few good stories, and several mediocre tales. This anthology consistently provides high quality stories chosen from a wide variety of publications. Most of the stories and poems are designated horror or fantasy, but the distinction can be a very thin line and that's a good thing. If you love horror, but don't think you like fantasy (or vice versa), this anthology may change (and broaden) your mind. I'd be hard pressed to pick an absolute favorite story, but "La Profonde", "The Night Whiskey" and "Father Muerte & the Flesh" were standouts for me.

Aside from the stories and poems, each edition includes articles on horror, fantasy, media, comics, music, and obituaries for each year that are themselves worth the price of the book. This edition is no exception. The authors cover nearly everything published or released in horror and fantasy in 2006, leaving you with a long reading, listening, and watching list. Hopefully, twenty years is just a start for the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently Entertaining Fiction Jan. 15 2008
By Anastasia Beaverhausen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The short stories compiled here range from the hilarious "Fourteen Experiments in Postal Delivery" to the melancholy "Dog Person." While I picked up the "Year's Best" for the horror, I found the fantasy stories to be among the most interesting. The "fantasy" stories included are of the speculative variety and not the sword-and-sorcery variety--that's a plus for me, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea. One of my personal favorites here is Geoff Ryman's magical "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter," a story that reads like a Garcia Marquez/J-horror mash-up. And the supremely bizarro "Night Whiskey" by Jeffrey Ford is just too good to define.

Is every story going to please every reader? With such varied tastes, that's not a realistic assumption. There were a couple of stories I skimmed, but overall I found a lot of sparkling gems here. And even if there were no stories included, I would recommend this annual based on the year-in-fantasy and year-in-horror reviews that begin every volume.
4.0 out of 5 stars Always excellent Feb. 8 2008
By H. Bradstreet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Year's Best series is always a good purchase for the lover of fantasy and horror. Here you get to meet the freshest talent and to sample their wares. My only critique is the "Best Of" sections at the front of the book, which seem to get longer and longer each year. Not that this section isn't worth reading to get ideas, but it's taking up valuable short story space. However, if you are ever in a bookstore and needing a new flavor, I suggest picking up a copy of this book and looking around the store to see if any of their suggestions are in stock. It's my own version of a fiction treasure hunt.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great year of fiction...though not as great as last year's Feb. 6 2008
By David Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
With me not being much of a Horror fan, you wouldn't think I'd get much out of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: #20, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, with half of it being a genre that I really don't have any interest in. However, I really enjoyed last year's edition, with the Horror stories actually being more interesting than the fantasy ones. Sadly, this year the stories aren't quite as gripping, though I can't point to any that I didn't enjoy at least somewhat. It helps that quite a few of them are from one of my favorite anthologies from last year, Salon Fantastique (and thankfully, none of the bad ones in it are included).

As usual, the book begins with the state of the genre, written by all of the authors; Datlow covers the Horror side admirably, with the other two editors doing Fantasy. There's also a round up of media (by Edward Bryant), Comics & Graphic Novels (by Jeff VanderMeer), Music (Charles de Lint) and the past year's obituaries (by James Frenkel). This is a really nice overview of the year that was (2006, in this case), with all of these articles highlighting entries that you may have missed and wish to pick up.

Then we get to the stories. As usual, each story has a brief introduction by the editor(s) that picked it, so you can tell right away whether it falls into the Horror or Fantasy genre, though admittedly some of the lines are a bit mixed. Just because the story was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction doesn't mean that Datlow won't pick it for her list.

The best story in this year's edition is "The Night Whiskey," by Jeffrey Ford (from Salon Fantastique) and it was also one of my favorites from that book as well. The story is about a drink so potent that it leaves people drunk enough to meet up with the dead for a night. It's only consumed once a year by a select (but different) group of people every year. But what happens when one of this year's drinkers brings the dead back with him? This story is powerful and emotional, yet also very quiet. Ford's prose is as good as usual, immersing the reader in this little town that he's created and the characters who are trying to deal with a truly abnormal situation. One of my favorites in the original anthology, it's also near the top this time as well.

While there aren't any truly awful stories in this collection (nor should there be in a "Best of" collection!), there are a few that just didn't do anything for me. Sadly, there were more of those this year than last. For the most part, though, The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: #20 is an excellent read, full of "more than 250,000 words of the finest fantasy and horror." Unless you have a complete aversion to one of the genres, you'll probably find something in here that you like. If I can like a Horror story, some of you non-fans of Fantasy can give one our stories a try. Who knows? It may just grab you and suck you in.

David Roy

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