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THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR by Ellen Datlow

THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR

Fifteenth Annual Collection

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

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2002
ISBN: 0-312-29067-5
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Splendid by an any measure, whether as fantasy, horror, or simply memorable prose, this fat sheaf of the year’s best is distinguished by two standout stories: “The Hunter’s Wife,” originally published in Atlantic Monthly and also included in author Anthony Doerr’s first book, The Shell Collector (2002), is set in a wild Montana valley. It tells of a hunting guide married to a magician’s assistant who one day finds that her palm can read the last visions of dying or even dead humans, animals, fishes, and insects. Doerr’s astounding prose sings with hyperreal poetic detail and registers every physical object with the palps of a naturalist. Second in merit is Wonder Boy Michael Chabon’s “The God of Dark Laughter” (from The New Yorker), a supernatural police procedural whose weird setting in Yuggogheny County echoes both Lovecraft and Faulkner. Chabon’s prose rises above most other entries in the collection, though many are brilliant, including: Jeffrey Ford’s compelling “The Honeyed Knot,” June Considine’s “To Dream of White Horses” (great first paragraph!), Marion Arnott’s “Prussian Snowdrops,” Gene Wolfe’s “Queen,” Carol Emshwiller’s “The Project,” and Caitlin R. Kiernan’s “Onion.” Editors Datlow and Windling provide their usual absorbing summation of the year’s best fiction; new to the annual are similar assessments for horror and fantasy comics (by artist Charles Vess) and for anime and manga (by Joan D. Vinge). Seth Johnson offers “Swimming in the Mainstream Comics,” while James Frankel surveys the Great Parallel World Beyond in “Obituaries: 2001.”

Treasure abounding.