cover image Year's Best Fantasy & Horror

Year's Best Fantasy & Horror

Ellen Datlow, Parkin. St. Martin's Griffin, $17.95 (624pp) ISBN 978-0-312-14450-0

The delicious promise of the first piece, ""Home for Christmas,"" a lyrical tale of modern-day magic by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, is fully realized in this year's offering of the best fantasy and horror by today's finest writers, including Terry Bisson, Joyce Carol Oates, A.S. Byatt, David Schow, Amy Tan and Jane Yolen. Editors Datlow and Windling should be congratulated for selecting a delightful blend that shows the variety of work created in both genres without compromising quality. The 46 short stories and poems range from the folkloric, such as ""King of Crows"" by Midori Snyder, which weaves the sorrowful tale of a musician who falls in love with a crow, to the truly terrifying as demonstrated in Stephen King's ""Lunch at the Gotham Cafe,"" in which a crazed maitre d' turns what is already a tense situation into a bloodbath. Delia Sherman offers a brilliant 17th-century pastiche about a printer's apprentice created by an alchemist from a pile of papers and ultimately returned to that form. From ghosts to unicorns, from dragons to murder on the Internet, there are stories to enthrall and entertain any reader with a love of the bizarre, the mysterious, the frightening. (Aug.)