The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2012

Edited by Paula Guran. Prime (, $19.95 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-1-60701-345-7
Guran's third annual retrospective anthology offers a wide-ranging variety of fantasy and horror stories by new and established writers. In Catherynne M. Valente's "The Bread We Eat in Dreams," a demon falls in love with a small town and seduces it with her baking. In Joe R. Lansdale's "The Bleeding Shadow," a musician finds that selling his soul to play the blues is only the beginning of his supernatural problems. Caitlín R. Kiernan's "The Maltese Unicorn" is a noir fantasy about a demon and a madam vying over an obscene artifact, while Norman Partridge pours the lawlessness and vast unknown of the American frontier into the horrific underground vampire city of "Vampire Lake". Naomi Novik, Tanith Lee, and Priya Sharma all contribute vivid, memorable stories that depend less on plot than magnificent world-building and atmosphere. The anthology could be more selective—in Gene Wolfe's "Josh," the reasons behind the horror are not so much implied as incomprehensible, and Maureen McHugh's dreary near-future "After the Apocalypse" is horror only in that the protagonist is horrible—but it still collects some creative and unforgettable works. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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