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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding entry in an excellent series
I am working my way back through all of the Datlow/Windling annuals, and although I love all of them, this collection is definitely outshines some of its colleagues (such as the third edition, which is the least thrilling of the ones I have read so far). Many of the stories will cling to your memory, and the scope of genres is commendable. The editors have found works...
Published on Nov. 20 2000 by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Some Great Stories Make Up For the MANY Duds....
This is actually one of the better "Years Best" that I've read so far. Again, I skimmed right past Windling & Datlow's Summations- They go on waaayyyy too long, as usual. Also as usual, Fantasy Editor Terri Windling monopolizes the bulk of the book with her choices. Horror Editor Ellen Datlow does get some payback, though: One of her choices, Peter Straub's "Mr. Clubb and...
Published on Jan. 16 2003 by Daniel V. Reilly


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4.0 out of 5 stars A mix of diamonds and duds, July 7 2003
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I was really impressed with some of the fiction in this book. I really loved the stories Travels with the Snow Queen and Quiting Loup. I also loved Twa Corbies. But some were a little bit to be desired. I really thought that the whole feminist fairy tale theme was a little bit hard to swallow and a tad annoying but overall a good read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some Great Stories Make Up For the MANY Duds...., Jan. 16 2003
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Daniel V. Reilly (Upstate New York, United States) - See all my reviews
This is actually one of the better "Years Best" that I've read so far. Again, I skimmed right past Windling & Datlow's Summations- They go on waaayyyy too long, as usual. Also as usual, Fantasy Editor Terri Windling monopolizes the bulk of the book with her choices. Horror Editor Ellen Datlow does get some payback, though: One of her choices, Peter Straub's "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff", runs in excess of 50 pages. The titular duo is memorable, but the story goes on too long, and the style it's written in is difficult to stick with. The end is worth it, though.
The book opens with Kelly Link's "Travels With the Snow Queen" which I couldn't even finish; I hated it. Link appears again towards the end of the book with "The Specialist's Hat", an absolutely chilling ghost story with a drop-dead scary ending. I couldn't move on to the next story until the next day, because I was turning Link's story over in my mind all night. It was absolutely one of the spookiest stories I've ever read. Sara Douglass offers up the REAL secret behind those Gargoyles on Church roofs in "The Evil Within", a far-fetched but fun Horror tale, and Lisa Goldstein's "The Fantasma of Q____" is an interesting victorian tale with an neat twist at the end. Stephen King's contribution is pretty good; Not his best, but the end makes it worthwhile. One of the book's better tales is Terry Lamsley's "Suburban Blight", where an abandoned building hides a terrifying secret. "Inside the Cackle Factory", by Dennis Etchison, tells us just what happens to all of those washed-up stars we never see on TV anymore. John Kessel's "Every Angel is Terrifying" is a realistic story of escaped killers that takes a mildly fantastic twist at the end; It's extremely well-written, and creepy as hell. As always, there's a Dracula story (Sort of)- It's Mark W. Tiedmann's "Psyche", and it's a keeper. Drac himself is only peripherally involved, but his influence permeates the entire story. Jane Yolen, Norman Partridge, and Michael Blumlein all contribute interesting stories as well. I couldn't get through Christopher Harman's "Jackdaw Jack"- It was just awful. There's another Charles De Lint Newford story, which is excellent as usual, and Terry Dowling's story, "Jenny Come To Play" is just a nasty read; Although they're nothing alike, it has the same feel as "The Silence of the Lambs". And as usual, Terri Windling monopolizes the end of the book with dud stories that I can't get through. Windling tends to favor feminist fantasy stories that are all too much alike; I was actually offended by Carol Ann Duffy's ode to man-hating, "Mrs. Beast"; The less I say about this trash the better. If a man had written such an anti-female story, he'd be finished.
As I said, there are some GREAT stories here, but they're outweighed by the duds, and when one of these stories are bad, they're BAD. I'll read the other two volumes of "Year's Best" that I own, but I'll pass on buying new ones. Windling & Datlow's selections leave a lot to be desired, and I wish they would get a little more daring.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars The current pulse of nonrealistic fiction., June 27 2002
By A Customer
In their twelfth annual survey, Datlow and Windling have assembled a rewarding collection of genre (and extra-genre) fiction from English language sources of all kinds from 1998, with a little poetry thrown in as well. In a format based on Dozois's science fiction anthologies, Datlow and Windling's series has become an annual "event" for lovers of nonrealistic short fiction. The editors are open to just about anything and everything, as long as it has significant fantasy or horror elements, but they are more likely to reprint material by women writers, or about female characters. As far as biases go, that's not a bad one to have: some of the best fantasists working today are women.
The editors look at mainstream magazines like "The New Yorker" and "Ms." -- both of which had strong stories chosen for this book. From "The New Yorker" they selected Stephen King's "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French," which in 20 tightly-written pages gives the reader the entire life of a woman who may be getting precognitive flashes about the crash of the plane she and her husband are on, or who may simply be fantasizing the crash as a death wish. I knew this woman completely by the end of the story (whose title refers to déjà vu). The "Ms." story was Lisa Goldstein's "The Phantasma of Q-----," with a moment of magic realism passing so quickly it's hard to catch. It is a strength of this series that it covers work in mainstream, genre and academic/small press sources.
A number of British and Australian magazines, anthologies and collections provide selections, with two superior tales well worth reading. The best thing in the book (and saved for last) is the superb modern fairy tale by A. S. Byatt, "Cold" -- sitting in a warm library, I was shivering at the frozen world depicted. A beautifully textured story, the best I've read in several years. It came from Byatt's collection, "Fire and Ice." Christopher Harman's "Jackdaw Jack" (from Ghosts and Scholars, a UK little magazine) is the best shocker in the anthology. Its pieces fall into place like a well-wrought jigsaw, and the end left me numb.
Among the other stories is an unclassifiable gem by Ray Vukcevich, "By the Time We Get to Uranus" (from the anthology, Imagination Fully Dilated). In the story's surreal world, a person's body slowly develops an astronaut's suit from the feet up, and eventually the person floats off into space. When this happens to a man's wife, he's concerned that his suit isn't developing as fast as hers, as they can't leave together. A metaphor for what separates the sexes these days, the story works and then some.
The stories I detailed here are my favorites, but others will find others they like as much or better. Some motifs of the book are hispanic magic realism, foreign fantasy in translation, and stories that are just very strange. I'm not a fast reader, and this long book took me a year and a half to finish. The extensive prefaces (in roman numerals) run over 100 pages before you even get to "page 1." Windling first documents fantasy for 1998; Datlow then does the same for horror, after which we get essays on the media, comics and obituaries for 1998. The prefaces are meant to be references more than essays, and I do use them as a reference, but they are slow going just to read (and some of the info is duplicated by approaching the genres separately). The shortlist of "honorable mention" stories at the end is also useful as a reference.
All in all, a class act by two dedicated anthologists who deeply care about the state of the contemporary nonrealistic story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Fifth Annual, Dec 11 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection (Paperback)
Standout stories here are Holdstock and Kilworth's chilling "The Ragthorn", Cherryh's "Gwydion and the Dragon" and McGrath's gruesome "The Smell". Also worth mentioning are stories by Koja and Kushner, among others. There's the usual useful overview of the industry, and the usual stock of cutesy (De Lint) and nonsensical stories and bad free verse, but this edition contains more truly good work than many of the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding entry in an excellent series, Nov. 20 2000
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This review is from: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection (Paperback)
I am working my way back through all of the Datlow/Windling annuals, and although I love all of them, this collection is definitely outshines some of its colleagues (such as the third edition, which is the least thrilling of the ones I have read so far). Many of the stories will cling to your memory, and the scope of genres is commendable. The editors have found works form many different countries and languages and brought them all together into a very good volume. My favorite entries include "The Ragthorn" a truly frightening story about scholarship, information and resurrection; "Our Lady of the Harbour" Charles de Lint's Newford version of the little Mermaid; "Call Home" a truly scary story about a little girl and the man who doesn't molest her; "At the End of the Day" a disturbing and surreal narrative about endings; "The Poisoned Story" an upside down retelling of Cinderella in Puerto Rico by my compatriot Rosario Ferre; "The Peony Lantern" a Japanese ghost story and "The Witch of Wilton Falls" about human monsters and adapting to unusual circumstances. If you have read other Datlow/Windling anthologies and you want to buy other ones, get this one first. If you have never read these anthologies, this is a great place to start.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Years Horrifyingly Best Politically Correct Stories, July 2 2000
Datlow & Windling's backpatting of personal acquaintances is the basis of their editorial choices, and adherence to political doctrine. Their "years best" collection for 2000 includes Ursula Le Guin twice, and this authors writing is little more then fanciful icing to make her de-hydrated cause (feminism in this case) more palatable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars more horror this year?, April 16 2000
Good collection of stories, though there seems to be a bit more horror than usual, and the inclusion of a couple of stories in which I was hard-pressed to find any fantastic or horrific elements at all. As usual, the poetry selections are the weakest in the bunch, with the delightful exception of Marisa de los Santos' "Wiglaf". My favorites from this collection: "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French" by Stephen King [I'm not a big King fan, but i was pleasantly surprised by this excellent little tale]; "The Faerie Cony-catcher" by Delia Sherman [its ending was not unexpected, but delightful all the same]; and "Cold" by A.S. Byatt [typical Byatt. for those unaquainted with A.S. Byatt, I can only say.. beautiful]. Terri Windling's Fantasy Summation for 1998 is useful as always.
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".
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Horror Book!!!!, Sept. 24 1999
By A Customer
624 pages packed with the best of the best! It's like having all of your best friends at one party! Guaranteed sleepless nights. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys good horror. I also recommend, Steward's--"Tales of Dirt, Danger, and Darkness" a new fresh, up and coming author.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good fiction, poor overview, Aug. 24 1999
By A Customer
There are some fine stories in here, but as usual Ellen Datlow lets intra-genre politics inform her summary of the horror field. Once again, she refuses to acknowledge that authors like Bentley Little even released a book this past year (which he did--the brilliant social commentary THE STORE), and goes on and on praising lesser lights who have not offended her. The stories are worth reading, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet, Aug. 3 1999
This edition is the best I've read yet! All the stories had some sort of magic element. They were all smart and well written.
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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection by Ellen Datlow (Paperback - July 15 1992)
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