Monday, December 03, 2007

Book Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 Edited by Ellen Datlow and Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

In many ways, reviewing The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is one of the most difficult books to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, a lot of stories that's included in this collection has been featured in other anthologies as well so there's an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I'll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies. In many ways, the book is quite comprehensive about its subject matter, not just featuring short stories but poems and articles. The first dozen pages are articles summarizing the important events that happened in the two genres including the obituaries of the previous year and I think that's really quite valuable from an archiving standpoint and you won't get that anywhere else. When it comes to the story selection--well, that honestly depends on your taste and hopefully it aligns with the editors. I'm not that familiar with the horror genre but I did enjoy Datlow's choice of stories. As for the fantasy stories, while I enjoyed Link and Grant's selection, I find that editor Richard Horton's selection is more aligned with my personal tastes, although that is not to say the choices in this collection weren't great (and in fact many of the stories, as I said before, do overlap). Overall it's a great read and while there are some stories in which I don't feel quite strongly about, they are for the most part well written and competent. What I can't deny however is the book's thoroughness and any serious speculative fiction fan should include this tome in their collection. The size might be intimidating but I'd like to think the quality of the stories more than makes up for it. Anyone who's looking into what the genre can offer should give this book a try although people looking for more mainstream fantasy might want to look elsewhere.

Rating: 4/5.

1 comment:

banzai cat said...

Well, I always figured if you want mainstream fantasy, the best anthologist is David Hartwell's year's best collection. Strahan is located between the Datlow and Hartwell collections while Horton... hmmm, am not sure where to place Horton yet.