This hefty volume, a companion to the The Year's Best Science Fiction, includes nearly 600 pages of fantastic and horrific fiction, as well as summaries of the year in fiction and on film (the latter by Edward Bryant). Not everything here is of equal weight, but enough is outstanding to justify the ""Year's Best"" label. Short fantasy and horror are far more diverse bags than a reader of the popular novels in those categories might think. There's a good deal of recent work by established genre stars: Michael Moorcock, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Jonathan Carroll, Ramsey Campbell, and Greg Bear, as well as occasional category visitor Joyce Carol Oates. But Datlow and Windling also include such quirky entries as Michael Swanwick's ""The Edge of the World,"" about a stairway into nowhere; Bruce Sterling's ""Doff Bangs,"" a tiny slice of alternate history; and Robert McCammon's nasty ""Something Passed By,"" based on a change in the laws of nature. The stories here as often as not begin in the familiar mundane world--Emma Bull's ""A Bird That Whistles"" introduces elves into a story about folk music, and Dan Simmon's ""Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites"" takes as its setting a small-town barbershop, and Lief Eager uses Disney World as a foil for horror in ""Hansel's Finger."" And Joe Haldeman's disturbing poem ""Time Lapse"" begins from the dry premise of a series of photographs of a young woman growing up. With its summaries and the comprehensive ""honorable mention"" list, here's another valuable compilation of often-hard-to-find short fiction in these two categories; Datlow and Windling have done a fine job once again.