cover image The Year’s Best Fantasy, Vol. 2

The Year’s Best Fantasy, Vol. 2

Edited by Paula Guran. Pyr, $21.95 trade paper (406p) ISBN 978-1-64506-049-9

Guran (editor of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy) draws from a worldwide well of fantasy stories for this admirably wide-ranging anthology, inviting readers to marvel at a truly magical carpet in Tanvir Ahmed’s “The Miraculous Account of Khaja Bairaq, Pennant-Saint of Zabel” or share a meal on a postcolonial Pacific island in “Love Heart Soup” by Wen-Yi Lee. Largely eschewing the epic, Guran gathers tales of romance, likely (in Lavie Tidhar’s “The Portal Keeper”) or not (per J.A. Pak’s “The Gentle Dragon Tells His Tale of Love”); family, both together (Priya Sharma’s “The Short History of My Mother”) and fractured (Elizabeth Bear’s “The Part You Throw Away”); and escape, whether from dancing skeletons (James Enge’s “The Hunger”) or from the rut of daily routine (“The Massage Lady at Munjeong Road Bathhouse” by Isabel J. Kim). Even the more traditional stories invert convention; elves role-play about office politics and email in Max Gladstone’s “To Make Unending” while Sam J. Miller brings unexpected pathos to the saga of a secondhand couch in “Sun in an Empty Room.” Full of enchantments and surprises, this is a treasure trove. (Aug.)