cover image The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 4th Ed.

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 4th Ed.

. St. Martin's Press, $27.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06005-3

There is nothing bad in this newest in the series edited by Datlow and Windling; but among more than 50 pieces, too few are memorable or engrossing. The anthology is most successful with humor: ``Truman Capote's Trilby: The Facts'' by Garry Kilworth is a delightful look at a man's relationship with his somewhat fickle hat; and ``The Dog's Tale'' by Karel Capek is a canine fairy tale that will warm the hearts of dog owners everywhere. Some of the better entries give a new spin to an old story: Angela Carter reexamines Cinderella in ``Ashputtle: or, The Mother's Ghost,'' while a fresh view of Lewis Carroll is provided by Steven Millhauser in ``Alice, Falling.'' Perhaps the most inspired story is Ian Frazier's ``Coyote V. Acme,'' a transcript of the opening statements made on behalf of Wile E. Coyote, who is suing Acme for selling him inferior merchandise. Some of the horror stories are very effective (especially those by Joyce Carol Oates, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, George Szanto and John Brunner); others (by David J. Schow, Michael Bishop, Peter Straub and Haruki Murakami, for example) are more soporific than horrific. (Aug.)