"Year's best" Fantasy?
rohina at shaw.ca
Mon Oct 7 20:55:39 EDT 2002
I just had the dubious pleasure of reading the collection called 15th
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror - I'm sure you know the ones, big trade
paperback, nice cover with lots of short stories; edited by Datlow and
Windling. And I was wondering, is it just me? Does their taste in Fantasy
totally and utterly suck?
In the beginning of the book there is a "summation" which includes a list
of the "best" novels of the year. Most of them I haven't heard of.
"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman and "Lirael" by Garth Nix are well down on
this list, and they (fairly enough, I suppose) criticise the Nix book for
not really being a complete novel. They nominated a couple of things I
found unreadable, and nothing else that was a Nebula or Hugo nominee, not
even "Passage" by Connie Willis.
I always feel like DWJers are well informed about good fantasy, so I was
surprised, I guess, that so few of the books mentioned in this collection
have been recommended on this list. I got to the end of the introduction
when I realised that the editors had totally failed to nominate Bujold's
"Curse of Chalion," although they mention its publication. So I was kind of
intrigued to read the stories. My goodness, they were, almost without
exception, absolutely, unreadably dreadful. Leaving aside the fact that
urbany, horrory fantasy is my least favourite kind, even the ones that were
not of this sub-genre were just plain bad, for the most part, and only one
or two were more than mediocre.
Is this collection a good representation of the short story market? I have
to say, I don't read a lot of fantasy short stories because I find it a
difficult form, and often the products are disappointing, but are they all
really this drear? Does anyone regularly read any short story magazines?
What do you think?
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