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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection

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Witches and warlocks, fairy rings and gothic tales, this work presents some of the best short stories and poetry published in this genre.


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Witches and warlocks, fairy rings and gothic tales, this work presents some of the best short stories and poetry published in this genre.

30 review for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a trade sized paper back. I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set by signing up for pre-orders with the book store. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a trade sized paper back. I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set by signing up for pre-orders with the book store. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say the same thing. I rated this whole anthology based on the variety of the stories within, how many people seem to report finding the same ratio of gems & well received stories. I am happy to own this whole anthology and keep them in excellent shape, no matter how many times I have read them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    My man bought this book because he was honorably mentioned in it for one of his stories from Thou Shalt Not and was happily surprised by it (oh the things you can find out about yourself on a search engine). I read it because it was lying about the house and anything that has print on it I consider fair game for reading material. Many of the stories in here were better than good. Like almost any collection, a few of the stories are gems and a few are a few shades past fresh. I am fond of Margo L My man bought this book because he was honorably mentioned in it for one of his stories from Thou Shalt Not and was happily surprised by it (oh the things you can find out about yourself on a search engine). I read it because it was lying about the house and anything that has print on it I consider fair game for reading material. Many of the stories in here were better than good. Like almost any collection, a few of the stories are gems and a few are a few shades past fresh. I am fond of Margo Lanagan and really liked "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter" as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    If this is supposed to be the year's "best," why do they spend so much time talking about the pieces they didn't put in? Wouldn't those be, then, by default, not the best? Then why talk about them? Also, why spend 150 pages summing up the year in horror, fantasy, anime, media, and music if you're not putting it in the book, and then cap off the book with another 20 pages or so of "Honorable Mentions," most of which you've already mentioned in the first 150 pages?! The stories in this collection a If this is supposed to be the year's "best," why do they spend so much time talking about the pieces they didn't put in? Wouldn't those be, then, by default, not the best? Then why talk about them? Also, why spend 150 pages summing up the year in horror, fantasy, anime, media, and music if you're not putting it in the book, and then cap off the book with another 20 pages or so of "Honorable Mentions," most of which you've already mentioned in the first 150 pages?! The stories in this collection are not very good. The editors give themselves a way out by saying the year in question (2006) wasn't a very good year, but then they go ahead and fill the same size book as previous years, obviously stretching to make some of the pieces fit and be under the "fantasy and horror" umbrella. Give this one a sip, but if you're curious, here's what I thought of each story (poetry excluded): Good The Muldoon (the only one to give me chills) A Siege of Cranes (finally a fantasy; a bit uneven, but good) Journey into the Kingdom (well-written, keeps you guessing until the end) Winkie (very creepy) Father Muerte and the Flesh (creepy) Dog Person (nice twist at the end) The Box (nice little ghost story) Messages (interesting idea, well-told) Lionflower Hedge (nice and sweet, but not scary) The Night Whiskey (neat idea and well-done) Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter (nice language and set-up) Cup and Table (good set-up and well-written, interesting idea, nice ending) Okay In the House of the Seven Librarians (nice idea, lame ending) The Last to be Found (good set-up, lame ending) Drowning Palmer (nice set-up, but lame ending) Dead Sea Fruit (long set-up, but okay ending) Directions (good descriptions, but not all that scary) 31/10 (okay, but would have worked better if it hadn't needed foreknowledge of a television program) Raphael Not so Good A Pig's whisper (apparently a continutation of an Australian children's story that doesn't work without knowing what went on before) A Fearful Symmetry (basic ghost story, lame ending) La Profonde (not sure what happened in this one) The Good Ones Are Already Taken (voodoo elements, but nothing else) Sob in the Silence (not so scary and rather predictable) Femaville 29 (boring) The Lineaments of Gratified Desire (an entire novella, it's too long for a collection; uneven in its language; seems like it was written in haste or by someone who doesn't know how to write; if that's purposeful, ugh) Bad Another Word for Map is Faith (what?) Fourteen Experiments in Postal Delivery (neat idea, bad execution) First Kisses from Beyond the Grave (neat concept, disgusting) Halfway House (what?) Doesn't Belong (not horror or fantasy) Landfill (good style, but lame ending, nothing scary or fantastic) La Fee Verte (boring) The Extraordinary Limits of Darkness (well-written, but nothing f/h) The Churring (stupid, as well as not f/h)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s long-running anthology of the year’s best fantasy and horror has been, for me, one of the most reliable sources for really good fantasy fiction. For the last couple of years, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have taken over the fantasy side from Terri Windling, and I’m happy to say that they keep up the anthology’s high standards. If you happen to like the editors’ taste in stories. You can’t quite take this for granted. The stories in this collection lean heavily to Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s long-running anthology of the year’s best fantasy and horror has been, for me, one of the most reliable sources for really good fantasy fiction. For the last couple of years, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have taken over the fantasy side from Terri Windling, and I’m happy to say that they keep up the anthology’s high standards. If you happen to like the editors’ taste in stories. You can’t quite take this for granted. The stories in this collection lean heavily towards the literary/slipstream/weird edge of the genre, and I think fans of traditional epic fantasy might not find much to suit their tastes. But there’s still a tremendous amount of variety in plot, setting, and style; you can read it almost straight through without getting a sense that the stories are all alike. I enjoyed nearly all of the fantasy, and appreciated most of the horror. I don’t really read horror, but some of the stories are superb. In “First Kisses from Beyond the Grave,” the hero ends up going to the same high school as his dead best friend, a high school for the dead; it takes some tired elements and turns them into something unexpectedly tender. “Fourteen Experiments in Postal Delivery” is silly, wacky, but with a human heart inside. “The Night Whiskey” is gorgeous, haunting, a juxtaposition of nostalgia and anxiety. “Another Word for Map is Faith” has an absolutely startling premise and runs with it; it’s about cartography, but don’t let that scare you off. “A Siege of Cranes” and “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” are two of the stories that fit more closely, perhaps, with the traditional boundaries of genre fantasy–but both stories are way at the far-out inventive edge, and Ysabeau Wilce’s writing in the latter makes me think I should’ve picked up Flora Segunda months ago. “Halfway House” and “Drowning Palmer” are two more standouts in a collection that, really, is almost all standouts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    Keeping up with my newly discovered love for the short fantasy & horror prose, after a remarkable first volume edited by Ellen Datlow I delved right into the third "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" anthology (I take no particular interest in their order, since they are stand alone collection of short stories). These third book's stories had a stronger "epic" character somehow, lacking the "poetic" feeling that seemed to vibrate through those in the prior collection. The stories themselves were Keeping up with my newly discovered love for the short fantasy & horror prose, after a remarkable first volume edited by Ellen Datlow I delved right into the third "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" anthology (I take no particular interest in their order, since they are stand alone collection of short stories). These third book's stories had a stronger "epic" character somehow, lacking the "poetic" feeling that seemed to vibrate through those in the prior collection. The stories themselves were longer, and the narrative style approached a novel's one - multiple novels, in fact, condensed in fewer pages, but with a more powerful impact. The overall strangeness and the eerie feeling (which I got reading several of the stories published in the first volume) were less strong now, being replaced with a vague fear at times, or (most of the times) with insightful new perspectives. All in all, some of "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror"'s works will follow me everywhere. Be it "the dog" (a very short but strong and bitter piece of writing) or "the goddess" (unusual on so many levels, because it's so close to reality), "the ghosts" (blending with the current technology and, thus, calling forth the past vs. present and the old vs. the modern analogies) or "the un-living" (especially that imitation of life so unnervingly close to the nowadays numbing depressions), "the taste" (truly disgusting) and "the sorrow" (where the author plays with the presence of his reader)... these have all made an impression on this reader:)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This was a total roller coaster. It was a very exciting ride and I never knew what was coming next. There was so much creativity and originality that I despair of ever being a good writer. The editors put together this group of stories that transported me all over the world as well as into the intricate magic in the unseen microcosm of anyone's backyard. Some stories were challengingly subtle and some were expansive and grotesque. The stories followed me. I found myself thinking about them at odd This was a total roller coaster. It was a very exciting ride and I never knew what was coming next. There was so much creativity and originality that I despair of ever being a good writer. The editors put together this group of stories that transported me all over the world as well as into the intricate magic in the unseen microcosm of anyone's backyard. Some stories were challengingly subtle and some were expansive and grotesque. The stories followed me. I found myself thinking about them at odds times. Something out of the corner of my eye would remind me and I'd think, "What if?" Unfortunately, I'm still completely disappointed in so many of the authors who couldn't seem to write their story without an "F" word. Did that really add anything? I imagine that they're trying to be "real," but more often it takes me out of the story. Hey, I was in your world, I totally believed it, but you drop an f-bomb, and I'm back in my chair, in the hum-drum "real" world. So, sorry, I can't recommend the book. Also, the horror stories were scary enough that I couldn't tell someone who liked fantasy, but not horror, to read it, even though the fantasy stories were delightful. None of the stories were labeled "Fantasy" or "Horror" and half the time you didn't know until the end of the story anyway. But if you like short story horror, this book is for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    C

    Many people have little real idea of what makes up horror or fantasy. Those who shun the genres would probably be suprized to find they enjoy many of the titles listed here. The editors of this collection stray far from the accepted literary journals devoted to these genres. As such they have found horror and fantasy stories from many accepted nongenre journals. This collection didn't resonate for me as much as some others (one story in particular made no sense at all, requiring an afterword to Many people have little real idea of what makes up horror or fantasy. Those who shun the genres would probably be suprized to find they enjoy many of the titles listed here. The editors of this collection stray far from the accepted literary journals devoted to these genres. As such they have found horror and fantasy stories from many accepted nongenre journals. This collection didn't resonate for me as much as some others (one story in particular made no sense at all, requiring an afterword to explain it). Stories of particular note in this collection: "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter", by Geoff Ryman, orig pu. in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction "In the House of Seven Librarians" by Ellen Kalges, orig. pub. in Firebirds Rising, an anthology "Another Word for Map is Faith" by Christopher Rowe, orig. pub in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction "Cup and Table" by Tim Pratt, orig. pub, in Twenty Epics, an anthology "Femaville 29" by Paul Di Filippo, orig. pub. in Salon Fantastique, an anthology "Raphael" by Stephen Graham Jones, orig. pub. in Cemetert Dance magazine #55. Of these my favorite by far and away was "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I love this series. It's like picking up a magazine where every story is good, if not great. For me, the horror this year was superior to the fantasy. I think that horror short fiction is on an definite upward rise. However, a lot of contemporary fantasy is starting to wear on me, especially cutesy urban fantasy and slipstream. Literary fantasy has had a great run lately, but I'm starting to see a lot of derivative stuff that feels escapist and fanciful and leaves me feeling nothing at all. I love this series. It's like picking up a magazine where every story is good, if not great. For me, the horror this year was superior to the fantasy. I think that horror short fiction is on an definite upward rise. However, a lot of contemporary fantasy is starting to wear on me, especially cutesy urban fantasy and slipstream. Literary fantasy has had a great run lately, but I'm starting to see a lot of derivative stuff that feels escapist and fanciful and leaves me feeling nothing at all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I've just finished this one, and like the others I've read from previous years, it contains some wonderful stories. "The Last to be Found" by Christopher Harman; "Lionflower Hedge" by Ira Sher; "Father Muerte and the Flesh" by Lee Battersby; "Dog Person" by Scott Nicholson; "Raphael" by Stephen Graham Jones; "Journey Into the Kingdom" by M. Rickert; and finally, "The Muldoon" by Glen Hirschberg, were the standouts in this volume. I've just finished this one, and like the others I've read from previous years, it contains some wonderful stories. "The Last to be Found" by Christopher Harman; "Lionflower Hedge" by Ira Sher; "Father Muerte and the Flesh" by Lee Battersby; "Dog Person" by Scott Nicholson; "Raphael" by Stephen Graham Jones; "Journey Into the Kingdom" by M. Rickert; and finally, "The Muldoon" by Glen Hirschberg, were the standouts in this volume.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I appreciate the editors of these anthologies, as they never fall into the trap of summarizing or spoiling the stories in the introductions to the stories. This particular anthology, though, wasn't my cuppa tea. None of the stories stood out. I appreciate the editors of these anthologies, as they never fall into the trap of summarizing or spoiling the stories in the introductions to the stories. This particular anthology, though, wasn't my cuppa tea. None of the stories stood out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    1-17 Just started on this anthology picked up at the library on a whim. 1/4 of the book was just "news" for the fantasy/horror genre, so I skipped it. The first story is interesting so far, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to love this like I love The Year's Best Sci-fi. 1-17 Just started on this anthology picked up at the library on a whim. 1/4 of the book was just "news" for the fantasy/horror genre, so I skipped it. The first story is interesting so far, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to love this like I love The Year's Best Sci-fi.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    now i know you cant expect every story to be awesome, but there were just a few to many average stories in here to merit a 5 star rating. there are many good ones in here. lets see, first kiss from the grave, yeah it is exactly what it sounds like, and still manages to be cool.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jodee

    A mixed bag, as most of these awards anthologies are, but there are a handful of gems, esp. "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daugher" and "In the House of the Seven Librarians," which are moving stories in very different ways. A mixed bag, as most of these awards anthologies are, but there are a handful of gems, esp. "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daugher" and "In the House of the Seven Librarians," which are moving stories in very different ways.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wile

    I loved the Years Best series, as always. It highlights not only some of the best short fiction between its covers, the spotlight on the best novels, magazine, comic books, etc. is a spectacular must read list.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ingenue

    EEEEEEE new Margo Lanagan story I'll be in my bunk EEEEEEE new Margo Lanagan story I'll be in my bunk

  16. 4 out of 5

    M Scott

    does this work I wonder

  17. 4 out of 5

    bluetyson

    The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection (Year's Best Fantasy and Horror) by Kelly Link (2007) The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection (Year's Best Fantasy and Horror) by Kelly Link (2007)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    disappointing, but def some gold

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura Ruetz

    the first story, Pol Pot's daughter is by far my favorite. the first story, Pol Pot's daughter is by far my favorite.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Martin

    I love this series, I pick up the new one every year. It's a great way to discover new authors and to see some of the short work of old favorites. I love this series, I pick up the new one every year. It's a great way to discover new authors and to see some of the short work of old favorites.

  21. 5 out of 5

    teona

    (recitita 24.06.2016- ) 1. "Frumoasa fiica lui Pol Pot" Geoff Ryman 4/5 (recitita 24.06.2016- ) 1. "Frumoasa fiica lui Pol Pot" Geoff Ryman 4/5

  22. 4 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    Got this for the YS Wilce story. Interesting to get a little of the Tiny Doom/Hardhands backstory.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Spike Anderson

    I just can't get into these. Poor choices. I admit to not reading most of the stories but the first few just suck and I can't justify wasting my time I just can't get into these. Poor choices. I admit to not reading most of the stories but the first few just suck and I can't justify wasting my time

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela Meadon

    Just started reading it, most of the stories are very entertaining. One or two made me go"???". Just started reading it, most of the stories are very entertaining. One or two made me go"???".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A good cross-section of short stories, both serious and humorous. There's a lot here, and it's easy to put it down and come back when you feel like more. A good cross-section of short stories, both serious and humorous. There's a lot here, and it's easy to put it down and come back when you feel like more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Felicia Demeter

  28. 4 out of 5

    A.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michele Davis

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wil

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