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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection (1991)

by Ellen Datlow (Editor), Terri Windling (Editor)

Other authors: Dale Bailey (Contributor), Nicholson Baker (Contributor), B. Brandon Barker (Contributor), Ray Bradbury (Contributor), Scott Bradfield (Contributor)49 more, John Bradley (Contributor), Edward Bryant (Contributor), Emma Bull (Contributor), Jonathan Carroll (Contributor), Lenora Champagne (Contributor), Douglas Clegg (Contributor), Charles de Lint (Contributor), Bradley Denton (Contributor), Harlan Ellison (Contributor), Margarita Engle (Contributor), Kelley Eskridge (Contributor), Gregory Feeley (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), David S. Garnett (Contributor), Charles L. Grant (Contributor), M. John Harrison (Contributor), Noy Holland (Contributor), Pagan Kennedy (Contributor), Jack Ketchum (Contributor), Stephen King (Contributor), Andrew Klavan (Contributor), Nancy Kress (Contributor), Geoffrey A. Landis (Contributor), Barry Lopez (Contributor), Ian McDonald (Contributor), Patricia A. McKillip (Contributor), Steven Millhauser (Contributor), Brian Mooney (Contributor), A. R. Morlan (Contributor), Emily Newland (Contributor), David Nickle (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Composer), Leroy Quintana (Contributor), Carme Riera (Contributor), Kevin Roice (Contributor), Nicholas Royle (Contributor), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Contributor), Darrell Schweitzer (Contributor), Delia Sherman (Contributor), Will Shetterly (Contributor), Michael Marshall Smith (Contributor), William Browning Spencer (Contributor), Michael Swanwick (Contributor), Judith Tarr (Contributor), Steve Rasnic Tem (Contributor), Linda Weasel Head (Contributor), Rachel Wetzsteon (Contributor), Jack Womack (Contributor), Jane Yolen (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
284670,802 (3.74)7
This acclaimed series, winner of numerous World Fantasy Awards, continues its tradition of excellence with scores of short stories from such writers as Michael Bishop, Edward Byrant, Angela Carter, Terry Lamsley, Gabriel Garcia Marquex, A.R. Morlan, Robert Silverberg, Michael Swanwick, Jane Yolen and many others. Supplementing the stories are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantastic fiction, Edward Bryant's witty roundup of the year's fantasy films, and a long list of Honorable Mentions - all of which adds up to an invaluable reference source, and a font of fabulous reading.… (more)
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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
As with most books of collected short stories by various authors, there were some worthwhile tales but a lot of the material was lacklustre. Ironically, as I’m not generally a fan of horror novels (unless it’s vampires not of the Twilight variety) I enjoyed many more of the stories chosen by Ellen Datlow, who takes charge of selecting the year’s best horror publications, than I did of the set picked by Terri Windling. Stephen King’s short stories, for example, are always surprisingly enjoyable, even though I am not a fan of his slow burn horror style full length novels. Maybe his style is just more palatable to me in short stories, where I can enjoy his concise storytelling style in a small dose without having to really consider the longer arcs of character development and drawn out midwestern settings. Out of this collection, there weren’t any authors who I really felt compelled to explore more of, which was kind of the point in reading the collection, but that’s okay - we’ll try another year and see if we fare any better. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
just guessing at year
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
This is one installment of a prestigious annual anthology of fantastic and "horror" genre writing—mostly fiction, with a smattering of poetry and an essay. The over 50 selections represent both established names in the field and relatively less known authors, and the structure of the book is typical of "year's best" collections.
  Cultural_Attache | Jul 27, 2018 |
Writing quality of each story is high, but I didn't care for many of them. High incidence of lit-porn. ( )
  librisissimo | Dec 30, 2013 |
Among modern fantasy anthologists, no one has been quite able to match the success of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as an editing team. Together, these two intrepid women have launched the annual The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collection, the Snow White, Blood Red series, and the Mythic Fiction series, as well as putting together a couple of standalone YA collections. I’d previously read one of the latter, and was fairly unimpressed, but resolved to give them at least one more try.

This volume, the eighth annual Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror collection, seems to be one of the more popular entries in its particular series, whatever that counts for.

There’s quite a bit of mature content here (of various types), but I was expecting that, and whenever things got too uncomfortable for me I simply skipped to the next story. What I was not expecting was for the collection to be so blasted literary. While I understand the temptation to branch out and reach for the highbrow, this is after all a volume that celebrates genres—two of them, to be exact. And yet there was little of the horrific or the fantastic in several of the stories included here (Jonathan Carroll’s “A Wheel in the Desert, the Moon on Some Swings,” David Garnett’s “A Friend Indeed,” Barry Lopez’s “The Entreaty of the Wiideema,” to name a few). And even when a story was, say, a fantasy, it couldn’t be the kind of fantasy people expect to read. No medieval settings or sword-and-sorcery epics. Just urban fantasy and magic realism, and genre-benders.

One of the horror stories was about potatoes.

I’m not even kidding.

After all of that, it was a relief to run into a real live unicorn in Jane Yolen’s “De Natura Unicorni.” Not that Yolen’s treatment of the subject was at all generic: I was simply happy to encounter something recognizable among the collection’s tribal languages and man-eating potatoes. (The author’s poem “Märchen” was also a breath of fresh air.) It was even more of a relief to make the acquaintance of a bona fide original fairy tale by science fiction author Geoffrey A. Landis, “The Kingdom of Cats and Birds.” I think my very favorite story, however, was Judith Tarr’s “Mending Souls.” It was wonderfully Celtic and fey, and reminded me quite a bit of Susanna Clarke’s faerie stories—and believe me, you can’t get much higher praise from me than that.

I ended up skipping most of the horror stories (not my cup of tea), but enjoyed Michael Marshall Smith’s “Rain Falls” and Stephen King’s “The Man in the Black Suit.” The subject matter of King’s tale was not incredibly appealing to me, but boy can he write! I can see myself reading more of his short stories and novellas, although not, perhaps, his novels.

And of the stories that I wouldn’t properly consider either fantasy or horror, I must admit that I was quite taken with Kelly Eskridge’s “Strings,” a dystopian tale about a government-run classical music industry, which ends with the lines “Her hands were empty. She was full of music.”

But for every story that I enjoyed, it seemed that there were at least five that were completely awful, and overall I have to rank this the worst anthology I’ve ever read.

If this was the best of 1994, I don’t want to see the worst.

Strike two for Datlow and Windling. ( )
3 vote ncgraham | Jan 11, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Datlow, EllenEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, DaleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, NicholsonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barker, B. BrandonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradfield, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradley, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bull, EmmaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Champagne, LenoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clegg, DouglasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Lint, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Denton, BradleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Engle, MargaritaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eskridge, KelleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feeley, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garnett, David S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grant, Charles L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, M. JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holland, NoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, PaganContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ketchum, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klavan, AndrewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kress, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landis, Geoffrey A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lopez, BarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKillip, Patricia A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mooney, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morlan, A. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newland, EmilyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nickle, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quintana, LeroyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Riera, CarmeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roice, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Royle, NicholasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rusch, Kristine KathrynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schweitzer, DarrellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sherman, DeliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shetterly, WillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Michael MarshallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spencer, William BrowningContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swanwick, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tarr, JudithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tem, Steve RasnicContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weasel Head, LindaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wetzsteon, RachelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Womack, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yolen, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Canty, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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We dedicate this volume to Jenna Felice (1976-2001), colleague and friend, who was a lover of the fantastic and a champion of short fiction.
--E. D., T. W., and J. F.
to
Doris Liebowitz Datlow
and
Nathan Datlow
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Summation 1994: Fantasy  In this anthology, we have once again collected a representative sampling of the very best fantsy fiction published in the English language in the past year.
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This acclaimed series, winner of numerous World Fantasy Awards, continues its tradition of excellence with scores of short stories from such writers as Michael Bishop, Edward Byrant, Angela Carter, Terry Lamsley, Gabriel Garcia Marquex, A.R. Morlan, Robert Silverberg, Michael Swanwick, Jane Yolen and many others. Supplementing the stories are the editors' invaluable overviews of the year in fantastic fiction, Edward Bryant's witty roundup of the year's fantasy films, and a long list of Honorable Mentions - all of which adds up to an invaluable reference source, and a font of fabulous reading.

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