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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection    Editors Ellen Datlow & Terry Windling order for
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
by Ellen Datlow
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Ellen Datlow (former editor of the esteemed Omni Magazine) and her long-time co-editor, Terry Windling, have put together another fine collection of fantasy, horror and poetry. The first one hundred pages or so of this award-winning series takes an in-depth look at what's been going on in the horror and fantasy fields over the past year; Windling does an impressive summation of fantasy in all media, while Datlow tackles horror.

Edward Bryant, another writer who's been active in both genres for many years, discusses The Year in Media of the Fantastic, Charles Vess takes a look at Fantasy and Horror in Comics, Joan D. Vinge gives readers her views about the influence of Japanese animation, and to round out the essay collection, James Frenkel pays tribute to the talents who passed in 2002. These essays alone make for fascinating reading for any die-hard follower of the fantastic.

The authors and stories showcased by Datlow and Windling in this 16th Year's Best Fantasy and Horror are a diverse blend. British or European writers seem the runaway favorites. Their tales are rather odd and off-beat, or ones so seemingly ordinary or subtle that their creepiness doesn't hit you until much later when you've had more time to think about it. My two favorites would have to be Bentley Little's Maya's Mother - a suitably grisly detective noir about a Vegas investigator trying to locate a witch who's put a hideous curse on her 'crime boss' employer - and Jeffrey Ford's The Green Word, a beautifully written and wonderfully lyrical tale based on the ancient Green Man legends.

Other well-recognized authors like Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Graham Joyce, Kathe Koje, and Elizabeth Hand make the cut. But it's also good (and important) to see those writers whom Datlow and Windling have singled out and introduced to the North American market, one that's always hungry to find new talent. This 16th collection of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror continues its outstanding track record, and makes a great addition to the bookshelves of lovers of the fantastic.

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