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Year's Best Fantasy 6

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Continuing to showcase the most compelling new genre fiction, this annual compendium presents an impressive lineup of bestselling authors and rising stars of fantasy. Fantasy fiction continues to attract talented authors and dedicated readers, and this intriguing sampler features the best new tales. Whether learning garden magic, battling trolls, or discovering one's relat Continuing to showcase the most compelling new genre fiction, this annual compendium presents an impressive lineup of bestselling authors and rising stars of fantasy. Fantasy fiction continues to attract talented authors and dedicated readers, and this intriguing sampler features the best new tales. Whether learning garden magic, battling trolls, or discovering one's relative mortality, these wondrous stories tell of epic heroes and ordinary people performing feats of glory, honor, and occasional ridiculousness. This year’s contributors include Timothy J. Anderson, Laird Barron, Deborah Coates, Candas Jane Dorsey, Esther Friesner, Neil Gaiman, Gavin J. Grant, Ann Harris, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Claude Lalumiere, Yoon Ha Lee, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Tim Pratt, Patrick Samphire, Heather Shaw, Delia Sherman, Bruce Sterling, Jonathan Sullivan, Greg Van Eekhout, Jeff Vandermeer, Liz Williams, Connie Willis, and Gene Wolfe. Contents “Shards of Glass” by Alaya Dawn Johnson “Still Life With Boons” by Anne Harris “The Denial” by Bruce Sterling “Mom and Mother Teresa” by Candas Jane Dorsey “Being Here” by Claude Lalumière “Inside Job” by Connie Willis “Magic in a Certain Slant of Light” by Deborah Coates “Walpurgis Afternoon” by Delia Sherman “The Fraud” by Esther M. Friesner “Read It in the Headlines!” by Garth Nix “Heads Down, Thumbs Up” by Gavin J. Grant “Comber” by Gene Wolfe “Single White Farmhouse” by Heather Shaw “The Farmer’s Cat” by Jeff VanderMeer “Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane” by Jonathan Sullivan “Monster” by Kelly Link “The Imago Sequence” by Laird Barron “Mortegarde” by Liz Williams “Sunbird” by Neil Gaiman “Crab Apple” by Patrick Samphire “Roberts and Falling Hearts” by Tim Pratt and Greg van Eckhout “Newbie Wrangler” by Timothy J. Anderson “Eating Hearts” by Yoon Ha Lee


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Continuing to showcase the most compelling new genre fiction, this annual compendium presents an impressive lineup of bestselling authors and rising stars of fantasy. Fantasy fiction continues to attract talented authors and dedicated readers, and this intriguing sampler features the best new tales. Whether learning garden magic, battling trolls, or discovering one's relat Continuing to showcase the most compelling new genre fiction, this annual compendium presents an impressive lineup of bestselling authors and rising stars of fantasy. Fantasy fiction continues to attract talented authors and dedicated readers, and this intriguing sampler features the best new tales. Whether learning garden magic, battling trolls, or discovering one's relative mortality, these wondrous stories tell of epic heroes and ordinary people performing feats of glory, honor, and occasional ridiculousness. This year’s contributors include Timothy J. Anderson, Laird Barron, Deborah Coates, Candas Jane Dorsey, Esther Friesner, Neil Gaiman, Gavin J. Grant, Ann Harris, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Claude Lalumiere, Yoon Ha Lee, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Tim Pratt, Patrick Samphire, Heather Shaw, Delia Sherman, Bruce Sterling, Jonathan Sullivan, Greg Van Eekhout, Jeff Vandermeer, Liz Williams, Connie Willis, and Gene Wolfe. Contents “Shards of Glass” by Alaya Dawn Johnson “Still Life With Boons” by Anne Harris “The Denial” by Bruce Sterling “Mom and Mother Teresa” by Candas Jane Dorsey “Being Here” by Claude Lalumière “Inside Job” by Connie Willis “Magic in a Certain Slant of Light” by Deborah Coates “Walpurgis Afternoon” by Delia Sherman “The Fraud” by Esther M. Friesner “Read It in the Headlines!” by Garth Nix “Heads Down, Thumbs Up” by Gavin J. Grant “Comber” by Gene Wolfe “Single White Farmhouse” by Heather Shaw “The Farmer’s Cat” by Jeff VanderMeer “Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane” by Jonathan Sullivan “Monster” by Kelly Link “The Imago Sequence” by Laird Barron “Mortegarde” by Liz Williams “Sunbird” by Neil Gaiman “Crab Apple” by Patrick Samphire “Roberts and Falling Hearts” by Tim Pratt and Greg van Eckhout “Newbie Wrangler” by Timothy J. Anderson “Eating Hearts” by Yoon Ha Lee

30 review for Year's Best Fantasy 6

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anatha

    I've had this anthology of short stories for a long, long time. In fact, I believe I snagged it when it first appeared on the bookshelves of my local Barnes & Noble in 2006. I must confess, though, that when I first bought it, I didn't even know Neil Gaiman's name or the prestige associated with it in all things fantastic and science fiction-y. Even years later, the only names that I finally recognized were Gaiman's and Nix's. I knew only two out of... what, about twenty stories? I'm sorry that I've had this anthology of short stories for a long, long time. In fact, I believe I snagged it when it first appeared on the bookshelves of my local Barnes & Noble in 2006. I must confess, though, that when I first bought it, I didn't even know Neil Gaiman's name or the prestige associated with it in all things fantastic and science fiction-y. Even years later, the only names that I finally recognized were Gaiman's and Nix's. I knew only two out of... what, about twenty stories? I'm sorry that it's taken my this long to get around to this anthology, and truthfully it makes me curious as to how many other gems I've been neglecting on my bookshelves for the past several years. 1. "Eating Hearts" - Yoon Ha Lee ★★☆☆☆ - I'm afraid I don't remember all of the details of this story. Perhaps it's a victim to its position as the first short story in the collection, but that isn't really much of an excuse, now, is it? If it made an impression on me, it would have stuck with me, wouldn't it? I do recall it reading like a folk tale, and the magical diction held the reader for but a moment. A sensual story of a woman's transformation from a tiger into a human, it was short but otherwise unimpressionable. 2. "The Denial" - Bruce Sterling ★★★★☆ - I truly enjoyed this one. After surviving a great flood that overtakes his village, young cooper Yusuf, post-deluge, is troubled when he realizes his wife did not in fact survive a flood that ravaged their village and that she is instead undead, an unholy creature in denial of her apparent death. 3. "The Fraud" - Esther M. Friesner ★★★☆☆ - It was this story that caused me to prepare myself for the extent of the mature material that would appear later in subsequent short stories. It's an interesting albeit cumbersome read that examines the relationship between rational Mankind and his adversity to miracles of a mythical sort and all that they may stand for. 4. "Sunbird" - Neil Gaiman ★★★★☆ - I had first read "Sunbird" in Gaiman's Fragile Things, but my lack of memory allowed me to savor the story's novelty nonetheless. 5. "Shard of Glass" - Alaya Dawn Johnson ★★★☆☆ - A girl of mixed race inadvertently "inherits" a magical shard of glass and travels around the world with her mother as they're pursued by her father and his relatives. The shard of glass gives its beholder the option of spying on other people,as well as the ability to access violent & intense memories of places both nearby and faraway. 6. "The Farmer's Cat" - Jeff VanderMeer ★★★★☆ - Charming, tiny short story about a farmer blighted with the company of trolls every year that destroy his property and mar his name in the village. To solve his problem, he purchases a "kitten," that grows larger and larger every year, gradually wearing down the trolls' repugnant, indulgent nature with terror until, at last, the Last of the Trolls fled away into the forest, never to bother him again. Charming twist, short read -- some of my favorite things in a short story. :) 7. "Crab Apple" - Patrick Samphire ★★★★★ - The literary devices and parallels between the main character's "real life," where he's coping with the fact that his father has cancer, school, etc. and his... well, "social/love/supernatural life," where he encounters a young, wild girl whom he saves from the thrall of a dryad in a crab apple tree. Samphire did not make this apple dryad the beautiful, elusive humanoid Epimeliad that we'd be familiar with in lore. Indeed, I loved how menacing and insectlike he made the dryad, frightening and awing but darkly enchanting: "the way I thought an angel should look, glorious, alien, and terrible." (pp. 89) It was chilling, slowly but surely assimilating Emma into one of his kind and wanting Josh, as well. Though the menacing dryad's threat is resolve by story's end, the short story ends on a bittersweet, albeit hopeful, note. "Resilience" is a key motif in the story. 8. "Comber" - Gene Wolfe ★★☆☆☆ - While I was reading the story, I couldn't make myself interested, but... I didn't just outright dislike it, either. I liked it the more and more I thought about the story after I had finished it. It's about a young man who lives on a continent that is, quite literally, on top of a wave, a wave that is rising higher and higher and is threatening to collide with another land mass. He attempts to save his family by... planting an explosive in the crust of their own continent and breaking off and finding his own colony? It's an interesting idea, but from all of the hype and awe I've heard about Gene Wolfe, I was disappointed by this small piece of fiction. Overall: underwhelming. 9. "Walpurgis Afternoon" - Delia Sherman ★★★★☆ - Liking the narrator of a story makes emotional contact with a story more accessible, and I was surprised by how much I liked the narrator in "Walpurgis Afternoon." The title is a reference to the Northern European tradition Walpurgisnacht, the night when witches and sorcerers congregate and celebrate on a great hill (my boyfriend actually educated me on the title while flipping through the table of contents, days before actually reading the story). In a quiet, otherwise normal suburban neighborhood, an empty lot is inexplicably occupied overnight by a large, impressive house that was NOT there the night before, inhabited by two women. They later proclaim that they are to be married, and host the event in the midst of their strange but enchanting abode, and, as one can only guess, the place is rife with peculiar and eccentric characters. There were numerous references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and that in itself delighted me, but the sheer, whacky but unyieldingly warm nature of the story ensorcelled my fancy. 10. "Monster" - Kelly Link ★★★★★ - As a reader, I was converted to Kelly Link immediately upon concluding this story. What began as a lighthearted tale, rife with the kiddish diction and mischief that we (or at least I) learned to love when I delved into a nice children's book, actually revealed a most disturbing, hideous incident while taking into account what it truly means to be lonely and different, the butt of all jokes but also the lone survivor. 11. "Robots and Falling Hearts" - Tim Pratt & Greg van Eekhout ★★★☆☆ - I can't tell how well I like or dislike this story. It certainly was not up my alley of delights, but I couldn't bring myself to put it down, either. At first I thought I found myself face-to-face with futuristic, robot-ridden pending-dystopian short story, but then the plague of robots actually turned out to not be animated... conventionally? Whatever that might mean? Anyway, it's a love story unlike anything I've ever read before, and I think I liked it, but I don't think I'd ever recommend it to anyone I know, nor will I ever reread it. A plague of robots besots Los Angeles, and a researcher travels there to better investigate the phenomenon. (My favorite part was the robots themselves--frog robot, Doombot, etc. Pratt & van Eekhout did a good job simultaneously creeping you out and piquing your interest with the 'bots.) 12. "Still Life with Boobs" - Anne Harris ★★★★★ - This was a weird read, but a good kind of weird read. As I said in an earlier update, the stories in here were much more mature than I initially thought, but this one was also disturbing, humorous, and touching. It's for every person whose own "tools"--from buttocks, to genitalia, to boobies themselves--have worked against them in the worst possible time: at a party; a most unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in front of an assembly at your high school; or just when you're about to get it on and connections aren't as smooth as you originally thought. Gwen wakes up one evening and those boobs of her have simply... disappeared. They always return in the mornings, nestled back into their proper place on her chest, but after that they simply seem to have a mind of their own, inconveniencing our heroine in the most outrageous ways. The bizarre nature of the story explores sexuality and the importance of self-respect and the maintenance of self-interest, as well as the importance of doing what you love and not caring what anyone else thinks. It's a surreal and terribly uncomfortable piece of fiction, but it's surprisingly human and, I thought, precious. 13. "Heads Down, Thumbs Up" - Gavin J. Grant - ★★★☆☆ - It was written prettily and whimsically, just as if you really were inside a young boy's head whose country's borders and country's language and teacher's names were susceptible to lightning-fast change and disturbance. To this little boy in the story, there is no telling what is real, and there is no real knowing if there is a good or an evil to believe or misplace one's faith in. 14. "Mom and Mother Teresa" - Candas Jane Dorsey ★★☆☆☆ - the editor goes so-far as to say in the introduction of Dorsey's story that it is "low-key fantasy," but even so I didn't enjoy it. It seemed arbitrary and forced, and... unfunny? Was it going for vaguely amusing? A selfish, overbearing, nagging woman in her eighties is taught the lesson of giving and generosity when Mother Theresa and a host of nuns and a brigade of orphans invade her home. 15. "Newbie Wrangler" - Timothy J. Anderson ★★★☆☆ - a soldier passes into a Shadow of the afterlife shortly after having his legs blown off in a war, pestered in his tent by small children for oranges to nibble on and by a Jim Morrison lookalike that he experimented with sexually one drunken night in college. The Jim Morrison lookalike, or "guitar man," as the narrator calls him, is the cattle herder of the recently dead, gathering musical instruments and informing the narrator that he needs to bring his guitar to sing music ("Stairway to Heaven," nonetheless) to God, to keep him awake, because "it's a strain, paying attention all of the time" (pp. 293). Intriguing, surreal, but not wholly captivating. I had to reread the final two or so pages before I decided to give it three stars instead of two stars. 16. "Being Here" - Claude Lalumiere ★★★★☆ - "Being Here" broke my heart. Simple as that. It's about a young man who has an awful argument with his girlfriend one evening, but the next morning he realizes that he is invisible and immobile, watching his girlfriend become enraged by his morning absence, concerned in the evening, and somewhere between broken-and-worried in the evening as she misses him more, and more. And he can do nothing but watch her, and reflect on his own behavior in the relationship and how his being punished by being invisible makes him realize how much he, too, loves and misses her. It's just... sad, is all. A heartbroken hum of a story, that I found myself turning over and over again long after I fnished it. 17. "The Imago Sequence" - Laird Barron ★★★☆☆ - A prime example of horror fantasy fiction. Unfortunately, the "prime" part didn't really become so "prime" until the last ten pages or so of the short story. Whatever terrified the main character in the first half of the story didn't do a thing to unease me. He became frightened faster than I could sympathize with him. Perhaps I didn't put as much effort into this story as I did the others (thought it was masterfully written; despite the content, I found myself pleasantly charmed by some of Barron's diction) and should eventually reread it, but as of right now... not my a thing. A photograph (#1 of 3 of the so-called Imago Sequence) exhibited at a swanky millionaire's "art party" awakens something terrible in the main character, who is paid and convinced to search for the other two of the collection and to find out what happened to the millionaire's missing uncle. There spooky house investigations, sex, cavemen, warped photographs, a disturbing scene of trepanation (and not to get RID of the evil spirits housed in a man's body, but rather to grant him "Enlightenment"), and beautiful language. Cthulian in the sense of insanity-called-enlightenment-inspiring quasi-gelatinous alien creature of old, but not terribly remarkable. Perhaps I'm picky. 18. "Magic in a Certain Slant of Light" - Deborah Coates ★★★★★ - A woman with the power to foresee the future discovers that her husband, the only man she's ever loved, is going to leave her in a little less than a year. The story consists of her reconciling her die-hard dogma of science with the chaos of love and all of the uncertainty that even certain love can entail. Needless to say, it was a charming piece, a romantic story with a small, sweet twist. 19. "Single White Farmhouse" - Heather Shaw ★★★★☆ - It's a love story... about a house. Surreal and strange and saturated with silliness and warmth. For the longest time, the house (or "Housey") has sheltered a normal four-member family .When the family gets internet, the sentient House grants herself (for it is a she) access, and starts meeting other buildings online... that she wants to hook up with! Before they know it, Housey stretches her chicken legs out and makes a run for San Francisco, where she can meet her house-boyfriend once and for all (because she, too, agrees that long distance relationships are difficult to cope with). It's absurd, well-written and good-humored. 20. "Read It in the Headlines!" - Garth Nix ★★★★★ - Sabriel was lovely, and "Read It in the Headlines!" delighted me in a completely different way. Told entirely by news headlines, the story follows the awakening of the gargantuan monster "Geecee" (not totally unlike Godzilla, in my mind's eye) and describing the events that take place as ole Geecee ravages the likes of mankind. It's just... amusing. "Archaeologist Enter Forbidden Tomb! ... Archaeologists Flee Forbidden Tomb!: Tomb Forbidden for a Good Reason! ... What does It Want? the Public Asks ... It Wants the Archaeologists! ... [Professor] Penhood Says Relatives of Archaeologists are at Risk! ... It Thinks We're All Related!" I thought it was hilarious, anyway. 21. "Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane" - Jonathan Sullivan ★★★★★ - My interest is always piqued when I stumble upon a WWII sci-fi/fantasy story, especially when the cast of characters are, in fact, not German. Indeed, the fistful of fugitives are Danish, something of which I have not come across in my limited short story experience. The main character is a young, highly intelligent boy who idolizes both Niels Bohr, the revolutionary scientist who was the first to adequately describe the atom, and his Rabbi father, whose compelling and awe-inspiring personality is just that: compelling and awe-inspiring. The Jews and intellectuals seek refuge in a dungeon beneath an ancient, Danish castle, dank and empty, with the exception of a great, monolithic statue of a Viking at rest. Just as the group was inching closer and closer to freedom, suddenly the worst happens: the Nazis have found them and are scavenging the grounds. Their only option: make a mad dash to safety across a great, open field to a canal that will take them to England. Who will save them? Who will distract and subsequently destroy the cruel Nazis? ... guess. 22. "Mortegarde" - Liz Williams ★★★★☆ - a high fantasy story about a relatively pompous man of science living in one of the cities of the World Tree (not totally unlike the World Tree mentioned in Nordic myths, from what I could tell) who is summoned to another branch inhabited by wyvern-people to deliver a lecture on his most recent discoveries on blood. However, his hard devotion to science and willingness to spurn religion (and therefor the wyvern's radical creation myth, which they all ardently believe) as a destructive mythology that impedes the progress of science, he offends his audience violently and, for a terrorizing but brief span of time, becomes the guinea pig himself. This is hardly an adequate description of such a tale, for I can't even begin to recount the fantastical nuances of the story that made me want to explore the dangerous World Tree myself, but it's a fantastical demonstration how the practice of science should not harden us toward mankind's (and wyvern-mankind's) faith, but to have better faith in Mankind and one's own humanity before science even enters the picture. 23. "Inside Job" - Connie Willis ★★★★★ - I groaned when I saw that I was not about to read a short story, but another novella (the other novella being Barron's The Imago Sequence). However, I found Willis' story much more readable than Imago..., and I found myself liking the characters and the concept of mystery and irony. It's about the skeptic Rob and his unbelievably clever, former movie star sidekick Kildy (I don't even know what that would be short for), both of whom work in the debunking business, revealing channelers, psychics and mediums for the cheesy, money-grubbing shams that they truly are. However, when one particular successful channeler's performance of channeling the god Isus (yes, the god Isus, not the goddess Isis; it makes sense in the book, I promise) is periodically interrupted by the voice of long-dead skeptic H.L. Mencken, witty Americanisms and skeptical rants and all. It's long, but it was well worth reading into the night. It read like a mystery, and as Rob the Debunker tries to figure out the charlatan's designs, you, the reader, do too. But this is Year's Best Fantasy 6, people: as much as you don't want to believe, it comes to a point where you must. When does skepticism hurt more than it helps? The story was smart, amusing, and unintentionally educational (the narrator's knowledge of renowned New Age scam artists was amazing; the only folks that I had heard of mentioned were the Fox sisters. Also, until this story, I had never heard of H. L. Mencken, either!), with a dash of romance on the side. All-around entertaining. One of the few stories that I loved to pieces that I'd recommend to someone else. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ricki

    Great anthology of fantasy stories. Some standouts were "Sunbird" by Neil Gaiman, "Walpurgis Afternoon" by Delia Sherman, "The Imago Sequence" by Laird Barron, "Read It in the Headlines!" by Garth Nix, and "Inside Job" by Connie Willis. Great anthology of fantasy stories. Some standouts were "Sunbird" by Neil Gaiman, "Walpurgis Afternoon" by Delia Sherman, "The Imago Sequence" by Laird Barron, "Read It in the Headlines!" by Garth Nix, and "Inside Job" by Connie Willis.

  3. 5 out of 5

    M—

    Haven't finished; reobtain from library. Eating Hearts ∙∙ Yoon Ha LeeTiger turning human. Fabulous. Short, like a fable. The Denial ∙∙ Bruce SterlingMan and wife not ready to be dead yet. Feel of a Jewish fable. The Fraud ∙∙ Esther M. FriesnerThe unicorn breeds by dint of necessity. Sad; good, but didn't love this one. Sunbird ∙∙ Neil GaimanGastromical society seeks best meal ever. Shard of Glass ∙∙ Alaya Dawn JohnsonMixed-raise daughter of powerful man seeks control over her birthright. Vivid. Trick Haven't finished; reobtain from library. Eating Hearts ∙∙ Yoon Ha LeeTiger turning human. Fabulous. Short, like a fable. The Denial ∙∙ Bruce SterlingMan and wife not ready to be dead yet. Feel of a Jewish fable. The Fraud ∙∙ Esther M. FriesnerThe unicorn breeds by dint of necessity. Sad; good, but didn't love this one. Sunbird ∙∙ Neil GaimanGastromical society seeks best meal ever. Shard of Glass ∙∙ Alaya Dawn JohnsonMixed-raise daughter of powerful man seeks control over her birthright. Vivid. Trickster. Reread. The Farmer's Cat ∙∙ Jeff VanderMeerTrolls flee bear. Was okay. Crab Apple ∙∙ Patrick SamphireTree monster wants girl; boy objects. Was okay. Comber ∙∙ Gene WolfeUm. Man sets explosion to move tutonic plate, gets caught? Not very good. Walpergis Afternoon ∙∙ Delia ShermanHousewifes develop witching skills. Reread. Monster ∙∙ Kelly LinkMonster eats camping boyscouts. Robets and Falling Hearts ∙∙ Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout Still Life with Boobs ∙∙ Anne HarrisSexual organs leave bodies to go jaunting. Rather odd, rather heavy-handed; good. Heads Down, Thumbs Up ∙∙ Gavin J. GrantSchoolchildren see reality shift every few days? Reread. Mom and Mother Teresa ∙∙ Candas Jane DorseyHee. Mother Teresa takes over selfish woman's life. Newbie Wrangler ∙∙ Timothy J. Anderson Being Here ∙∙ Claude Lalumière The Imago Sequence ∙∙ Laird Barron Magic in a Certain Slant of Light ∙∙ Deborah Coates Single White Farmhouse ∙∙ Heather ShawThink Baba Yaga's hut on chicken legs. Think breeding. Think starting to date over the Internet. Read It in the Headlines! ∙∙ Garth NixGodzilla attacks! Somewhat. FABULOUS. Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane ∙∙ Johnathon Mortegarde ∙∙ Liz Williams Inside Job ∙∙ Connie Willis

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I'm not reading every story, just the ones that grab me. Alaya Dawn Johnson's brilliant fantasy-suspense story "Shard of Glass," Delia Sherman's joyous story of magic in suburbia "Walpurgis Afternoon," and "Neils Bohr and the Sleeping Dane" (a unique spin on the 'escape from the Nazis' trope) are my favorites. I also enjoyed my first story by Connie Willis, which ends the book with a clever story about skeptics investigating a channeler. A fine range of well-written stories with a variety of writ I'm not reading every story, just the ones that grab me. Alaya Dawn Johnson's brilliant fantasy-suspense story "Shard of Glass," Delia Sherman's joyous story of magic in suburbia "Walpurgis Afternoon," and "Neils Bohr and the Sleeping Dane" (a unique spin on the 'escape from the Nazis' trope) are my favorites. I also enjoyed my first story by Connie Willis, which ends the book with a clever story about skeptics investigating a channeler. A fine range of well-written stories with a variety of writing styles and fantasy subgenres (including more than a few horror tales) so that at least some stories are bound to please any fantasy fan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    The editor of this anthology has the annoying habit of spoiling stories in the introductions. Thankfully I learned this quickly, and so skipped the introductions. I enjoyed the story by Garth Nix, which is cleverly told using only newspaper headlines. It is clever, but not brilliant. Sunbird, by Neil Gaiman, I found to be very predictable, especially because of the title. I didn't care for Inside Job by Connie Willis. It felt to me like the author was hammering her point across with a very large ha The editor of this anthology has the annoying habit of spoiling stories in the introductions. Thankfully I learned this quickly, and so skipped the introductions. I enjoyed the story by Garth Nix, which is cleverly told using only newspaper headlines. It is clever, but not brilliant. Sunbird, by Neil Gaiman, I found to be very predictable, especially because of the title. I didn't care for Inside Job by Connie Willis. It felt to me like the author was hammering her point across with a very large hammer. I don't have any particular comments on the rest of the stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Here's a collection I've dipped into for my 8th grade language arts students. They love the length of the stories (short) and the emotions (fear, alienation, desperation). One that never fails to get a reaction is a tale called "Crab Apple" by Patrick Samphire, about a wood nymph that barges into the life of a boy whose father is dying of cancer. I believe most of the authors, except for Neil Gaiman, are less-than-famous, at least outside of the world of short fantasy. Worth checking out, especia Here's a collection I've dipped into for my 8th grade language arts students. They love the length of the stories (short) and the emotions (fear, alienation, desperation). One that never fails to get a reaction is a tale called "Crab Apple" by Patrick Samphire, about a wood nymph that barges into the life of a boy whose father is dying of cancer. I believe most of the authors, except for Neil Gaiman, are less-than-famous, at least outside of the world of short fantasy. Worth checking out, especially if you are not a big fantasy reader and want to stick your toe into the genre.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Stone

    An excellent collection of fantasy, from the lighthearted to the serious, from authors as famous as Neil Gaiman to a few I haven't even heard of. I especially liked The Sunbird by Neil Gaiman, Crab Apple by Patrick Samphire, Still Life with Boobs Anne Harris,Newbie Wrangler by Timothy J. Anderson, Single White Farmhouse by Heather Shaw, and Inside Job by Connie Willis. On the other hand, I wasn't that fond of a few of the others. All in all, it's a good collection, worth reading. An excellent collection of fantasy, from the lighthearted to the serious, from authors as famous as Neil Gaiman to a few I haven't even heard of. I especially liked The Sunbird by Neil Gaiman, Crab Apple by Patrick Samphire, Still Life with Boobs Anne Harris,Newbie Wrangler by Timothy J. Anderson, Single White Farmhouse by Heather Shaw, and Inside Job by Connie Willis. On the other hand, I wasn't that fond of a few of the others. All in all, it's a good collection, worth reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    Four stars rather than three almost entirely for the last story, "Inside Job" by Connie Willis, which I adored - but the plot is much better without spoilers. I liked the last few stories much better than the first few, so you may want to jump around within the book. (Don't buy it for the Neil Gaiman story - it's "Sunbird", which has been anthologized in multiple other places.) Four stars rather than three almost entirely for the last story, "Inside Job" by Connie Willis, which I adored - but the plot is much better without spoilers. I liked the last few stories much better than the first few, so you may want to jump around within the book. (Don't buy it for the Neil Gaiman story - it's "Sunbird", which has been anthologized in multiple other places.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike H.

    I like anthologies of stories. I tend to read one story after another without taking the time to digest any of them, which is not something I do if I read a story in a magazine. Weird. Anyway, I would say that this books has 3 good stories, a bunch of okay stories and 1 or 2 aweful ones. Probably not worth picking up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Can someone help me understand why horror is clumped together with fantasy? If it were me, science fiction and horror would be better matched. But they all have such different appeal to me, it's like offering deep fried twinkies with lacto-fermented kimchee because they're both a little off the beaten path of mainstream, so they may as well go together.... Can someone help me understand why horror is clumped together with fantasy? If it were me, science fiction and horror would be better matched. But they all have such different appeal to me, it's like offering deep fried twinkies with lacto-fermented kimchee because they're both a little off the beaten path of mainstream, so they may as well go together....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tessa in Mid-Michigan

    I think I've read this before. Nix's contribution was funny, clever at first glimpse, but less so as I considered it. Reading Willis' story jogged my memory. This book didn't make a big impression on me, so I'm giving it 3 and not finishing this read... I think I've read this before. Nix's contribution was funny, clever at first glimpse, but less so as I considered it. Reading Willis' story jogged my memory. This book didn't make a big impression on me, so I'm giving it 3 and not finishing this read...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Overall this is an enjoyable book and I intend to find other written pieces from most of the authors. Of the few stories I did not care for, it was more because of personal taste than bad writing on the part of the authors.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Spike Anderson

    Decent. Best 'A' stories by friesner, Johnson, samphire,Wolfe, link and Barron. The test ranged from ok to not ok Decent. Best 'A' stories by friesner, Johnson, samphire,Wolfe, link and Barron. The test ranged from ok to not ok

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heather Larcombe

    Not only a great collection of stories, but well-edited so that they get harder to put down as you progress through the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brianna

    Picked this up for Connie Willis, but my favourite stories ended up being Niels Bohr and the Sleeping Dane (Jonathon Sullivan) and The Fraud (Esther M. Friesner).

  16. 4 out of 5

    bluetyson

    Year's Best Fantasy 6 (Year's Best Fantasy) by Bruce Sterling (2006) Year's Best Fantasy 6 (Year's Best Fantasy) by Bruce Sterling (2006)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dave Peticolas

    A collection of recent fantasy short stories. I bought this on a whim. My mistake. There are a few decent stories in here, surrounded by a lot of drek. I was glad to be done with it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris Burton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Guenevere

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This had a number of enjoyable stories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Tackabery

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate O'Neill

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Lovatt

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lewk

  30. 4 out of 5

    GiantPanda

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