cover image The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection

The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection

. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (512pp) ISBN 978-0-312-01851-1

Indicative of the increased popularity of fantasy and horror is this anthology, the first of a new series and a companion to Gardner Dozois's science fiction annual. Among the best entries in this generous selection of 37 stories and poems are Jonathan Carroll's ``Friend's Best Man,'' about a man who comes to understand that his dog and all other animals are not just dumb beasts; Edward Bryant's chilling ``Author's Notes,'' a glimpse into the mind of a psychotic writer; John Robert Bensink's poetically compressed tale of a family drowning, ``Lake George in High August''; George R. R. Martin's depiction of a woman who is destroyed by the attentions of her repellent downstairs neighbor, ``The Pear-Shaped Man''; Lucius Shepard's Vietnam ghost story, ``Delta Sly Honey''; John Brunner's bittersweet ``The Fable of the Farmer and Fox''; and Michael McDowell's brutal account of a contemporary vampire, ``Halley's Passing.'' Fine pieces by Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Shea, Harlan Ellison, M. John Harrison, Lisa Tuttle and Joyce Carol Oates are also featured. There are excellent surveys of the year's horror and fantasy fiction by the editors (Datlow is fiction editor of Omni magazine and Windling is a veteran fantasy editor) and of films in the genres by Edward Bryant. (September)