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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection

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Collecting the creme de la creme of the horror and fantasy fields, this third volume amasses the best from 1989, including works by Scott Baker, Pat Cadigan, Joe Haldeman, Tanith Lee, Jonah Carroll, Robert McCammon and Bruce Sterling, as well as extensive overviews of the year in horror and fantasy, and Ed Bryant's survey of the year's movies.


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Collecting the creme de la creme of the horror and fantasy fields, this third volume amasses the best from 1989, including works by Scott Baker, Pat Cadigan, Joe Haldeman, Tanith Lee, Jonah Carroll, Robert McCammon and Bruce Sterling, as well as extensive overviews of the year in horror and fantasy, and Ed Bryant's survey of the year's movies.

30 review for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    CD {Boulder Blvd}

    I'm not rating this as the story line is far from my normal genre but I happened on it and decided to give it a try. The characterization of Miss Carstairs was good and the development of the merman was interesting. But the rest of the story was more like a biology read as she's dissecting (not literally) and learning about a species. I found the story a bit dry. Free read from Fantasy Magazine: http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/n... I'm not rating this as the story line is far from my normal genre but I happened on it and decided to give it a try. The characterization of Miss Carstairs was good and the development of the merman was interesting. But the rest of the story was more like a biology read as she's dissecting (not literally) and learning about a species. I found the story a bit dry. Free read from Fantasy Magazine: http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/n...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    These Datlow/Windling collections were the best 'bests' ever! I've totally lost track of which ones I've read and which ones I haven't, though. This one was definitely new to me - and most of the stories were new to me as well - and mostly excellent. The 'Year' in question here was 1989. Apparently a good year for short stories! The book also includes a quite-long round-up/summation of pretty much everything in the genre published that year, including films. The Edge of the World - Michael Swanwi These Datlow/Windling collections were the best 'bests' ever! I've totally lost track of which ones I've read and which ones I haven't, though. This one was definitely new to me - and most of the stories were new to me as well - and mostly excellent. The 'Year' in question here was 1989. Apparently a good year for short stories! The book also includes a quite-long round-up/summation of pretty much everything in the genre published that year, including films. The Edge of the World - Michael Swanwick This is so nice. It meshes sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, fantasy and mythic fiction into a wonderful and creepy tale. In a decrepit place called The Edge of the World, three all-too believable teenagers... and three wishes. I haven't read any of Swanwick's novels - but I think I should. Just ordered two of them! The Adder - Fred Chappell A rather good tribute to Lovecraft. How can you go wrong with a cursed and evil book? Cat in Glass - Nancy Etchemendy An evil, haunted sculpture destroys a family. Monsters, Tearing Off My Face - Rory Harper A short-short with a twist. A child draws her family as monsters, which attracts the attention of child welfare specialists. Family - Joyce Carol Oates A mix of post-apocalyptic and weird fiction. I know Oates is supposed to be one of those amazing, respectable authors, but she never really quite does it for me. A Dirge for Clowntown - James Powell I didn't like this one either. If a send-up of murder-mystery-noir tropes where all the characters are clowns sound like it'll do it for you, it probably will. Miss Carstairs and the Merman - Delia Sherman A sad but beautiful story of a 19th-century woman who aspires to be a scientist. When she captures a merman, she thinks the paper she will write will make her reputation. Unknown Things - Reginald Bretnor An antiques dealer finds a collector who will pay top dollar for any gadget or item whose original use is unknown. But what does he do with his mysteries? Return to the Mutant Rain Forest (poem) - Bruce Boston and Robert Frazier A poem. Date with a Bird - Tatyana Tolstaya I've read Tolstaya's novel 'The Slynx.' This is very much in the same vein: surreal, and unabashedly Russian. Them Bald-Headed Snays - Joseph A. Citro After his mother dies of cancer, a boy is sent to live with his grandfather in a rural hick town with some very weird neighbors. Failing to explain things in advance leads to a bad outcome. A Sad Last Love at the Diner of the Damned - Edward Bryant If you are looking for as much completely gratuitous violence as you can fit into a few pages of text, you will find it here, in this nasty zombie story. Hanging the Fool - Michael Moorcock If you like Moorcock's more 'serious' fiction, you'll like this story, where rumors of a horrible crime spread amongst the upper crust of post-WWI European society. Hansel's Finger - Leif Enger A man finds a severed finger on a ride at Disneyworld and has a nervous breakdown. eh. I didn't really find this convincing. Dogfaerie - Garry Kilworth A nice faerie tale of a haunted house, a young boy, and turning the tables. A Bird That Whistles - Emma Bull This one I'd read before, in the 'Double Feature' anthology. It was definitely worth a re-read: the tale of an elvin man who turns up at a human nightclub to play music, and his interaction with one of the regular musicians there is touching, memorable - and perfectly captures the almost-but-not-quite-human nature of Faerie. The Walled Garden - Lisa Tuttle A girl has a vision of herself, as an adult, in a garden, with a man. She lets this vision color the path of her entire life, perhaps unwisely. This was beautifully written, but I found the ending unsatisfying. Which was undoubtedly the point - but still. Varicose Worms - Scott Baker Magicians masquerade as homeless persons - it gives them power. One of the most powerful lives a double life, and uses his wife as a pawn, ruthlessly. But the worm turns... The War with Things - Leszek Kolakowski Actually written in the 1950's, but first translated into English in 1959. Absurd and allegorical, a man anthropomorphizes the commonplace objects around him - which he believes are all turning against him. The Faery Flag - Jane Yolen A sweet love story of an affair between faery and human; with a very authentic feel. Souls Tied to the Knots on a Leather Cord - Zhaxi Dawa Interesting to read a story by a Tibetan author, rooted in his culture's history and mythology. I can't help feeling that perhaps a Western reader expects different things from a narrative, however. I found the outcome strange, and felt I didn't really understand what I was supposed to take from it. The Illusionist - Steven Millhauser A story for anyone who loves traditional, theatrical magic - as well as 'real' magic. The 2006 movie of the same title was based on this story. Timeskip - Charles de Lint Features one of de Lint's favorite recurring characters, Jilly Coppercorn. Here Jilly tries to get a shy young couple with crushes on each other together... but a strange haunting interferes. Something Passed By - Robert R. McCammon A post-apocalyptic tale where some strange occurrence has changed the laws of physics, and a few remnants of humanity wait for the anomalies to kill them. Self-Portrait Mixed Media on Pavement, 1988 - Dan Daly An artist comes in to a prestigious gallery with a proposal for his next - and last - performance piece: a suicide. The Plane Tree and the Fountain - Michael de Larrabeiti A French Medieval-flavored tale about the abdication of responsibility. White as Sin, Now - Tanith Lee Tanith Lee sure does love the story of Snow White - but I don't mind. More imagery-oriented than plot-oriented, reading this is still pure pleasure. The Power and the Passion - Pat Cadigan A nasty, brutal, and very, very good story of a vampire killer. Jack Straw - Midori Snyder A girl makes a deal with Death. Lovely and even uplifting. The Sudd - J.N. Williamson Very Heart-of-Darkness via JG Ballard feel to this one. A cruise down the Nile stalls out. Mr. Fiddlehead - Jonathan Carroll I always feel like I should like Jonathan Carroll, but then I don't. The concept here wasn't bad... a woman gets into a relationship with her best friend's invisible childhood friend. But the betrayal in the story felt too abrupt, like it was just stuck in for shock value. It wasn't convincing. Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites - Dan Simmons Barbers are part of an ancient guild... of vampires? A little silly, but fun. Cinema Altere - Andrew Stephenson To create the art of the future, filmmakers engineer disasters in alternate universes. Matters of Family - Gary A. Braunbeck A horror story about the stresses and horrors of guilt over having to take care of an invalid family member given physical form. Eh, not really for me. Beauty and the Beast: An Anniversary (poem) - Jane Yolen A poem. Very sweet. Find Me - Joan Aiken A short-short. It's rather horrible, but all-too-accurately captures the thought processes of young children. I've always loved Aiken. Unidentified Objects - James P. Blaylock A bittersweet tale of decisions made, and the road not taken... in this case a road almost unimaginable. Meeting the Author - Ramsey Campbell An evil, evil, evil childrens' book author, and the damage he wreaks, even from beyond the grave. The Lovers - Gwyneth Jones A retelling of the myth of the 'Unseen Bridegroom.' Psyche looks upon her lover's face, and in punishment, his mother sets her to impossible tasks, to keep the lovers apart. An unexpected but unsatisfying ending. Your Skin's Jes's Soft 'n Purty...He Said (Page 243) - Chet Williamson Another gratuitous violence selection, for those who might be fans of both 'Brokeback Mountain' and of lots and lots of gore. Dori Bangs - Bruce Sterling I'd read this one before, and skipped it this time, 'cause I didn't really like it the first time around. The Steel Valentine - Joe R. Lansdale An insanely jealous, and unusually wealthy, husband holds his wife's lover captive. Lots of violence. Equilibrium - John Shirley An insane veteran plays a nasty joke. One for the horror fans. Time Lapse (poem) - Joe Haldeman A poem. Disturbing. White Noise - Garry Kilworth Could the Voice of God be trapped in echoes from the past? What would happen if one heard it, if it echoed down to modern times? Eh, I didn't feel that this worked on a logical level, and the religious stuff didn't do it for me. Terrible Kisses - Robley Wilson The lipstick stains won't wash off. Oooooohhhh Noooooo. Sleepside Story - Greg Bear A retelling of Beauty & the Beast, in a sort of surreal and futuristic ghetto; where the Beast is a wealthy and aging prostitute, and Beauty an innocent young man. Nicely told, but I actually felt it would have worked better without the sci-fi-ish Sleepside/Dayside aspect to it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Whitehead

    It goes without saying – though I’ll say it anyway just to get it on the record – that an annual collection like this that spans more than 500 pages is going to include some excellent entertainment as well as some unreadable duds. I also wonder if I would have felt different about some of the stories if I’d read them in 1989 rather than nearly two decades later. On some I think my opinion would have been unchanged; I’ve always hated splatterpunk, and I’m always going to. On the other hand, I lik It goes without saying – though I’ll say it anyway just to get it on the record – that an annual collection like this that spans more than 500 pages is going to include some excellent entertainment as well as some unreadable duds. I also wonder if I would have felt different about some of the stories if I’d read them in 1989 rather than nearly two decades later. On some I think my opinion would have been unchanged; I’ve always hated splatterpunk, and I’m always going to. On the other hand, I liked the mixture of fantasy and horror. I’m more from the latter camp, but I’m willing to broaden my horizons if the experience is worth it. And here it frequently is. This is the second Datlow / Windling editing collaboration I’ve read, and at this point I’m more than willing to stick with the series they have going here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Olatidoye

    Dusty Rick Santorum said Leopold pillows a couple weeks in . #9898#(949 A √√

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    A woman gets gang raped by zombies in this. Seriously. I don't know why the book's title isn't Gang Raped By Zombies because that mental image blows all of the other stories out of memory. Even while you're reading the other stories all you can think of is that gang rape by zombies scene. That's the only reason this gets two stars and not just one. The gang rape by zombies thing. I'm surprised that I wasn't mentally ill enough to think of writing such a story first. Now on to more serious issues i A woman gets gang raped by zombies in this. Seriously. I don't know why the book's title isn't Gang Raped By Zombies because that mental image blows all of the other stories out of memory. Even while you're reading the other stories all you can think of is that gang rape by zombies scene. That's the only reason this gets two stars and not just one. The gang rape by zombies thing. I'm surprised that I wasn't mentally ill enough to think of writing such a story first. Now on to more serious issues infecting this anthology of supposedly fantasy and horror stories: One: I fail to find legitimate the complaint that there wasn't enough space to include more stories when the introductions from BOTH editors totaled a whopping 45 pages. Color me nutty, but axing an intro JUST MAY squeeze another worthy story in between those covers. I've got a feeling that the editors may have just been taking the piss. Two: Some of the stories are neither horrific or fantastic. For example, in one story a man finds a dismembered finger on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. That's not a fantasy or a horror story. That's merely an amusing anecdote for particularly slow moments at class reunions. Why it was included is anyone's guess. Will? Three: The cover has nothing to do with any of the stories inside. Now I know that's not a major criticism but it's something that ticks me off. If there is a sparkly winged woman on the cover of a book, there DAMN WELL better be a sparkling winged woman IN the book. (Well, described in at least one story, anyway. Not that I'm expecting a real sparkly winged woman to jump out of the book as soon as I crack it open. I've outgrown pop-up books, thank you very much.) Four: And wait -- there's more about those effing stupid introductions by the editors. They not only included their favorite stories and books of the year, but also included those they HATED. Hey -- it's hard enough to keep track of what I should be reading than get me messed up on what they hate. Isn't this considered bad editor etiquette or something? If not, why not? Goddammit, these things need to be clarified!

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a softcover edition signed by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (not for sale). I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set including finding copies of those before it. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set I own a softcover edition signed by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (not for sale). I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set including finding copies of those before it. What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say the same thing. I rated this whole anthology based on the variety of the stories within, how many people seem to report finding the same ratio of gems & well received stories. I am happy to own this whole anthology and keep them in excellent shape, no matter how many times I have read them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    A better mix than the previous collection I read. The notably good stories were as follows: A dirge for clowntown by James Powell Miss Carstairs and the Merman by Delia Sherman Unknown Things by Reginald Bretnor A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull The War with Things by Leszek Kolakowski The Illusionist by Steven millhauser (much better than the movie) Timeskip by Charles DeLint Something passed By by Robert McCammon the Power and the Passion by Pat cadigan Jack Straw by Midori Snyder Mr. Fiddlehead by Jonath A better mix than the previous collection I read. The notably good stories were as follows: A dirge for clowntown by James Powell Miss Carstairs and the Merman by Delia Sherman Unknown Things by Reginald Bretnor A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull The War with Things by Leszek Kolakowski The Illusionist by Steven millhauser (much better than the movie) Timeskip by Charles DeLint Something passed By by Robert McCammon the Power and the Passion by Pat cadigan Jack Straw by Midori Snyder Mr. Fiddlehead by Jonathon Carroll Find Me by Joan Aiken the Lovers by Gwyneth Jones Dori Bangs by Bruce Sterling Sleepside Story by Greg Bear Note: A Sad Last Love is much worse than the intro indicates and Varicose Veins not nearly so bad.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I love Miss Carstairs--a 19th century spinster biologist with a slight lack of empathy problem. On a rainy night, she sees a strange creature beached on a rock beside the ocean. Bringing it inside to study, she realizes what she thought was a dead, unknown sea creature is actually a very much alive merman. Excited about her discovery and the possibilities of becoming famous in the scientific community, she sets out to study and analyze the merman like any good biologist would do, but of course s I love Miss Carstairs--a 19th century spinster biologist with a slight lack of empathy problem. On a rainy night, she sees a strange creature beached on a rock beside the ocean. Bringing it inside to study, she realizes what she thought was a dead, unknown sea creature is actually a very much alive merman. Excited about her discovery and the possibilities of becoming famous in the scientific community, she sets out to study and analyze the merman like any good biologist would do, but of course some problems occur. This novelette can be read for free here: http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/n...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Giles

    This is an older collection, from 1990, I believe. Found at a used bookstore, there are stand out stories by Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Landsdale, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, Dan Simmons, Charles De Lint and Michael Moorcock. I in particular love "A Dirge for Clowntown" by James Powell, "Cat in Glass" by Nancy Etchemendy, "Varicose Worms" by Scott Baker and "Your Skin's Jes's Soft and Purty...He Said. (Page 243)" by Chet Williamson. Fantastic, horrifying, funny and bittersweet, you've got a great selec This is an older collection, from 1990, I believe. Found at a used bookstore, there are stand out stories by Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Landsdale, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, Dan Simmons, Charles De Lint and Michael Moorcock. I in particular love "A Dirge for Clowntown" by James Powell, "Cat in Glass" by Nancy Etchemendy, "Varicose Worms" by Scott Baker and "Your Skin's Jes's Soft and Purty...He Said. (Page 243)" by Chet Williamson. Fantastic, horrifying, funny and bittersweet, you've got a great selection of great stories from the early nineties.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Li

    This series has significantly gone downhill in the recent years due to the advent of "urban horror and fantasy". This seems to me to defeat the purpose of reading fantasy; if I wanted "urban horror and fantasy" I can just hang out in the Tenderloin from 12 to 2 AM instead. Check out volumes 2-5 for quality stories.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Noah Rozov

    I've read "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites" of 1989 by Dan Simmons from this volume. And I have to say that it's another good vampire story of his, side by side with "Children of the Night" (1992) only the first one is shorter. He's got the feeling of the subject and knows how to deliver it wich in my opinion is good especially when you writing about things that do not exists.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sidsel Pedersen

    Weirdly that is the second mermaid story that I read tonight - weird. There do seem to be a theme of publishing merpeople and selkie stories. I really liked the characterization of Miss Carstairs, but the plot itself left me kind of cold

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gapeach

    It had some creepy stories and some boring ones. A few very disturbing ones. Very graphic.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Keep up the good work.

  15. 4 out of 5

    bluetyson

    The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection by Terri Windling (1990)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  20. 5 out of 5

    Libby

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megwind

  22. 4 out of 5

    Worthy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Craig Carter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimberlee Andrews

  26. 4 out of 5

    Regina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

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