cover image Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Eighth Annual Collection

Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Eighth Annual Collection

. St. Martin's Press, $27.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13220-0

From its opening story, Patricia McKillip's ``Transmutations,'' about a young woman who cares more for the beauty of language than for the perfectibility of her soul, through its close in Neil Gaiman's horrifically powerful ``Snow, Glass, Apples,'' this anthology proves to be a cornucopia of the fantastic. The scores of entries include humorous tales, such as the amusing character study ``Elvis's Bathroom,'' by Pagan Kennedy, and the whimsical ``Superman's Diary,'' by B. Brandon Barker. There is pure psychological horror in ``A Fear of Dead Things,'' by Andrew Klavan, exceptionally chilling fare in ``Is That Them?'' by Kevin Roice and the quirkily perverse in Jack Womack's ``That Old School Tie.'' There are bread-and-butter fairy tales, like Geoff Landis's lovely ``The Kingdom of Cats and Birds,'' as well as fictions arising out of historical mysteries, like Greg Feeley's ``Aweary of the Sun'' and Delia Sherman's ``Young Woman in a Garden.'' Also included are poetry and an incisive essay by Michael Swanwick about the legacy of traditional fantasy. Like its predecessors, this volume lives up to the boast of its title. (Aug.)