cover image Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy

Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy

, . . Thunder's Mouth, $16.95 (396pp) ISBN 978-1-56025-833-9

In this all-original anthology, the editors, longtime partners in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror , bring together mostly new fantasy writers, most of them contributors to previous Datlow/Windling books and perhaps forming a distinct "school." Call it American magic realism. In most stories, a departure from (usually) contemporary reality is taken for granted, with no one asking questions or expressing wonder. In Jeffrey Ford's "The Night Whiskey," a small town holds a lottery to see who gets to drink magic wine made from a bush that only grows in corpses. The drunken winners are then ritually knocked out of the trees into which they climb while communing with ancestral ghosts. Why? It merely is. While Ford can make this approach work, the book's weakness is that many of the stories are poetic at the expense of sense. There is, however, an outstanding opener by Delia Sherman, plus good work by Peter S. Beagle, Lucius Shepard, Catherynne Valente and Paul Di Filippo. (Dec.)