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The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 Edition Paperback – Oct 19 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books; 2010 ed. edition (Oct. 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607012332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012337
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 4.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #630,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback
2010's edition of the Years Best Dark Fantasy and Horror is a diverse collection of stories, themes and styles. Vampires, Lizards, and Mermaids! Oh My! Keeping that in mind, I did find a few stories difficult to get through such as The Horrid wings of its Glory, and Sea-Hearts. I also found a few gems such as The Wide Carnivorous Sky, A Haunted House of Her Own and Copping Squid. I do enjoy HP Lovecraft and there are a few stories that could be classified as Lovecraftian Horror. There are 38 stories in the book. While most of the stories in this book are 10-15 pages, a few are 40-50 pages. At the end of each story there is a brief biography of the author and some short editor comments on the story.
The strength of this book was the diversity of stories within the Dark Fantasy and Horror genres. The few mediocre stories were far outweighed by the quantity of quality stories. A 2011 edition is planned and I plan on purchasing it based on the quality of the 2010 edition.
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By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on Jan. 29 2011
Format: Paperback
There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection. I am not a fan of the pure fantasy genre but was pleasantly surprised by a few. I bought the book for some chills and thrills and those were abundant. Lastly, a few of the entries represented solid fiction. So do not get caught up in the book's title as the entries expand on its definition. Among my favorites:

- The Horrid Glory of Its Wings, an interesting tale plunking a harpy in the present day

- Lowland Sea, an apocalyptic chiller set in the south of France with an arguably fair outcome

- Monsters, an homage to some of Stephen King's boyhood stories

- Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre, a creative thriller that reminded me of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

- A Haunted House of Her Own, a straightforward ghost story with a twist

- The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, a fresh take on the vampire tale with Afghan war vets

- Torn Away, a story of man living and running forever

The roughly forty tales will entertain and are a great value especially if purchased for your Kindle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa2416d44) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa239c420) out of 5 stars The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 Dec 3 2011
By Brendan Moody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third "best horror of 2009" anthology I've read. In March of last year there was Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Two, the new home for the horror half of the venerable Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series. Then last November there was (The Mammoth Book of) Best New Horror 21, edited by Stephen Jones. Between them these two veteran editors have produced 44 annual best-ofs for dark fiction. Given their experience and judgment, one might consider a third such annual anthology unnecessary or overkill. If so, one would be wrong.

In the first place, I'm not at all sure that there could ever be too many best-of series for speculative fiction. Too much great horror, fantasy, and science fiction appears only in expensive limited editions, obscure magazines, or markets not traditionally associated with those genres. Inexpensive, widely available reprint anthologies make this material available to readers who otherwise might never see it. I first encountered virtually every contemporary horror writer I now admire in the pages of one or another best-of. The more such books are published, the wider the range of reprinted material will be, and that's good for writers and readers alike.

In the second place, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2010 Edition distinguishes itself from its fellow best-ofs in a couple important ways. I'll let editor Paula Guran tell you about it herself, in this quote from the acknowledgments:

"The scope and intent of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2010 [sic] is unique. As the publisher allowed me a considerable number of pages to fill, I was able to select some longer works that, in a thinner book, might not have been afforded the space. And, with such a broad theme, I was able to select stories that do not fit anthologies more tightly constrained by definitions. Thanks to Sean Wallace of Prime Books for the lack of boundaries."

And the volume's page count is indeed considerable: 575 large trade paperback pages, all of them, except for an introduction and the back matter, devoted to fiction. For this particular year, Guran's volume includes about as much fiction as Datlow and Jones combined. That's 39 stories, including three novellas. Even though I had previously read over a quarter of those stories on original publication and/or in other best-ofs, there were still 28 pieces completely new to me.

But enough about quantity; it's that other thing that really matters. Fortunately, Guran hits a home run here as well. Part of the fun of a best-of is seeing excellent stories you've already read get the recognition they deserve. Here, for the second or third time, I read such great tales as Suzy McKee Charnas's "Lowland Sea," Michael Shea's "Copping Squid," Barbara Roden's "The Brink of Eternity," Catherynne M. Valente's "A Delicate Architecture," and Norman Prentiss's "In the Porches of My Ears." There are some stories so good that seeing them in a table of contents is an added incentive to buy the book, even if I already own the piece in question in some other format, and all five of these fit that bill.

And I was equally impressed by many of the pieces that were new to me. In particular, I got a kick out of the three novellas. Jones usually includes only one novella a year in Best New Horror, and they're even rarer in Datlow, so Guran's triple threat was a nice change of pace. I'd especially been looking forward to the novella "Sea-Hearts" by the indescribably brilliant Margo Lanagan, and it didn't disappoint. This reworking of the selkie legend, which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella, showcases all of Lanagan's virtues: her ability to modify elements of fantasy and legend in fascinating, dark ways, her insight into harrowing psychological experiences, and the strange, poetic diction that makes her language a joy to encounter. To begin a Lanagan story is to be dropped into a strange, shifting world where the rules have changed and even the most familiar things can become mysterious, but if you persevere you'll find the radiant humanity that defines and enriches all her work.

The other two novellas were equally fascinating in their diverse ways. John Langan's "The Wide, Carnivorous Sky" reinvigorates the vampire by turning it into a force of nature and tying its existence into the traumatic experience of injured Iraq War veterans, while "Halloween Town," by Lucius Shepard, begins with a town hidden in the shadows of an immense gorge and a man who becomes intelligent and jaded after being hit in the head with a rivet, and only gets more surprising, funny, and thoughtful from there. As for the shorter works, I especially want to mention Stewart O'Nan's "Monsters," a story that captures the horror of a very real situation by telling it straightforwardly, avoiding excess and melodrama; Stephen Graham Jones's "The Ones Who Got Away," a spooky tale of memory and regret, elevated by the slightly disjointed language in which it's narrated; and Maura McHugh's "Vic," which is that great rarity, a story told subtly enough that you might well miss its chilling point on first reading.

Naturally, there were a few stories I thought were adequate but not exceptional, including one I'm not going to name that I've now read three times in various anthologies, always vainly hoping that I'll like it better this time around. But the nice thing about an anthology this size is that I can find six of its stories underwhelming and still be a fan of the other 33. And the volume's wide scope means that you can go from a retold fairy tale to a ghost story to a doppelganger to a vampire to a deal with the devil to a story that isn't supernatural at all. For the reasonable price of $20 US, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2010 Edition offers an excellent overview of where dark fiction went in 2009. Here's hoping this series, unlike other recent attempts at a new horror best-of, will have some staying power. It certainly deserves to.
HASH(0xa239c540) out of 5 stars I researched at Amazon for more books by those authors I am delighted that this collection was from 2010 It means that ... Jan. 14 2015
By Frances P Woodard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A delightful gathering of fantasy tales that will make you shiver Some unworldly elements, thrills, mystery, suspense with endings that are often unexpected A group of very creative writers, tops in their chosen type of writing, left me wanting more to each and every story I read Several of the stories were so excellently done, I researched at Amazon for more books by those authors I am delighted that this collection was from 2010 It means that there are other collections out there just like this one, waiting for me to find and enjoy
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa239c4f8) out of 5 stars A solid "first volume" in an anthology series. Nov. 27 2013
By Eric Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the stories within are hit-and-miss, as any broad anthology will be. I found the editor's commentary at the end of each short story to be a worthwhile in concept but lacking in depth. I am hoping that in future volumes of this anthology series this editor will allow herself to delve deeper into a given story's themes and reasons for inclusion in the book.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa239c7b0) out of 5 stars Strong & Eclectic Collection Jan. 29 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection. I am not a fan of the pure fantasy genre but was pleasantly surprised by a few. I bought the book for some chills and thrills and those were abundant. Lastly, a few of the entries represented solid fiction. So do not get caught up in the book's title as the entries expand on its definition. Among my favorites:

- The Horrid Glory of Its Wings, an interesting tale plunking a harpy in the present day

- Lowland Sea, an apocalyptic chiller set in the south of France with an arguably fair outcome

- Monsters, an homage to some of Stephen King's boyhood stories

- Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre, a creative thriller that reminded me of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

- A Haunted House of Her Own, a straightforward ghost story with a twist

- The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, a fresh take on the vampire tale with Afghan war vets

- Torn Away, a story of man living and running forever

The roughly forty tales will entertain and are a great value especially if purchased for your Kindle.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa239c774) out of 5 stars Weird, dark, mostly hits Jan. 28 2012
By Scott Roach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this collection, although it does start off a little slow, with "The Horrid Glory of It's Wings" which I thought kind of slapped the reader in the face with the phrase "a harpy" over and over again rather than actually describing the creature: the real-world aspects of the story are much darker and more disturbing. "The Lowland Sea" is also another "everything is crap and everyone sucks" story, but I love a good Poe tribute so I enjoyed it. "Copping Squid" was random enough to make me actually read HP Lovecraft for the first time (as it turns out, there's A LOT of "lovecraftian" stuff in this collection, for better or worse) although I didn't really think much of the story. "Monsters"...well, check out some of the other reviews. Knowing what to expect I actually did like it, but it fits better in Paula Guran's "Halloween" collection than it does here. From here the collection really picks up in pace and quality, with the much better Poe-reference "The Brink of Eternity" followed by my absolute favorite from the whole collection, "The Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre", which I read as a dark satire rather than a literal horror story. I don't usually like Margo Lanagan's work, mostly because her characters are usually pretty flat and everyone is selfishly evil and bitter, but "Sea Hearts" was a refreshing change of pace. There were a few I could've skipped in here - "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" which, while I realize was attempting to skewer cheesy vampire-romance drivel like Twilight and True Blood, was still too reminiscent of it for my taste, and "Strange Scenes from an Unfinished Film", which felt like Strange Scenes from an Unfinished Idea. The same goes for "Variations on a Theme from Seinfeld". "A Delicate Architecture" was fantastic, "The Wide Carnivorous Sky" was a little amateurish but still fun, "Leng" made good use of a an obscure, real setting and a creepy real-life phenomena (ie, cordyceps fungi, which parasitize insects and alter their behavior to favor the fungus) and "In The Porches of My Ears" which managed to be quite unsettling despite nothing really "horrific" happening. "The Bone's Prayer" and "The Long Cold Goodbye" didn't do much for me, but I got the feeling something about them might be going over my head. I had fun reading "Halloween Town", which I would call "weird for the sake of weird", but I couldn't shake the disturbing idea that both Ms. Guran and Lucius Shepard have no idea what kind of plant walnuts come from (In the story, the town's main business is gathering walnuts from a large pond, and yet there is one tree somewhere that is described as "the only tree in town"; of course there's also a forest described at the beginning, so maybe the "only tree in town" comment is really the outlier...either way, this one feels pretty raw, editing-wise).

Unlike some reviewers I actually like reading the editor's comments at the end, sometimes to get an idea of why they included a particular story or to explain something I may have missed, but it seems kind of random which stories she comments on in detail and which she just says, "wasn't that creepy?" or, literally, "You didn't really expect me to comment on this story, did you?" I can see why this format wasn't kept for the 2011 edition. Overall, a great collection with some very unusual works that was definitely worth the $4.95 I paid to get it on Kindle.


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