"Year's best" Fantasy?

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Tue Oct 8 14:01:46 EDT 2002


Robyn said...

> 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?

Hm.  I haven't read the 15th, but I did get the 14th out of the library.  It
struck me as much like most anthologies, in that it contained one or two
stories I thought were really good, a couple I thought were really bad, and
a lot of mediocrity.

I've only ever read two anthologies (that I can think of, anyway), that
contained a very high proportion of stories I liked.  One was "Prologue to
Analog", edited by John W. Campbell, copyright 1957.  The other is a recent
one whose title I've forgotten; it's a collection of the "best of" from "The
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" over the preceding 5 years or so,
edited by Gordon Van Gelder, which confirmed in me my belief that I really,
*really* want to get published there!  (No luck yet, but at least they have
really fast response times.)  So basically, I don't expect to find lots of
good stuff in *any* antho.

> Leaving aside the fact that
> urbany, horrory fantasy is my least favourite kind,

Well, that's my favourite sub-genre, so I might like the collection better
than you did. :-)  Then again, maybe not...

> Is this collection a good representation of the short story market?

Well, they do trawl through pretty much everything that's published in a
given year - I know; they're currently looking at some of the stuff
published by the webzine I co-edit!  But in the end, it's down to what the
particular editors like.

> 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?

I read Ideomancer (because I co-edit it - I also get a horrible view of what
*doesn't* get published, via my slushpile!), and Strange Horizons, another
webzine.  And Realms of Fantasy, occasionally.  I usually find at least
*one* story that I like in any given issue, though rarely more than that.

FWIW...

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian.
--
Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
mistaken."
- O. Cromwell

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