The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Sixteen Original Works by Speculative Fiction's Finest Voices
, . . Del Rey, $16 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-345-49632-4
Declaring that short stories are the “heart and soul of fantastical fiction,” prolific and venerable editor Datlow collects 16 impressive original stories in this unthemed anthology. Standout selections include Margo Lanagan's deeply disturbing “The Goosle,” which eloquently corrupts the Hansel and Gretel fable with bubonic plague, sexual slavery and mass murder; Jason Stoddard's “The Elephant Ironclads,” which describes an emergent 20th-century Navajo nation struggling to become a world power while staying true to its culture; Elizabeth Bear's “Sonny Liston Takes the Fall,” a poignant tale about the life, death and sad legacy of the troubled heavyweight fighter; and Pat Cadigan's “Jimmy,” a strange and supernatural coming-of-age story set in the moments just after John F. Kennedy's assassination. The thematic diversity and consistently high quality of narrative throughout make for a solid and enjoyable anthology.
Reviewed on: 02/18/2008