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The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-First Annual Collection (The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #21 - year 2008)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  21 reviews
As in every year since 1988, the editors tirelessly scoured story collections, magazines, and anthologies worldwide to compile a delightful, diverse feast of tales and poems.
On this anniversary, the editors have increased the size of the collection to 300,000 words of fiction and poetry, including works by Billy Collins, Ted Chiang, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Hand, Glen H
Paperback, 571 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Aug 26, 2009 Jayme rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People looking for a change from your typical fantasy works
This book was a total surprise. I got it expecting to pick out a few of the better looking stories to read at most and I expected a lot of the stereotypical stories you would think are included in a fantasy and horror anthology. There wasn't a single dragon or elf in the whole book and I could not have been happier about that. The stories were incredibly original and I read ever single one.

However, I wasn't a huge fan of the poetry, but I'm in no position to criticize poetry in the first place.
As with most anthologies, there are two losers for every enjoyable story. In this case, though, I generally disliked stories purely because they did not fit to my personal taste. (A few too many were pretentious stories about the mystical ways of writers.) Still, it was a nice change from disliking stories because they're sloppy cliched messes.

I enjoyed:
"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A fairy tale of economics" by Daniel Abraham. A debauched lord with unlimited wealth and power finds amusement out
Overall I was disappointed with this anthology. I didn't find many of the stories compelling or interesting. I think this is mainly due to the difficulty in creating suspense-rich worlds in a short story format. The stories that I did really enjoy were as follows:

The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics: I really liked how the writer integrated some principles of economics into the story and how they were used to explore two very interesting characters.

The Merchant and the Alchemist'
I gave the anthology, as a whole, two stars because I found most of the stores mediocre and rather forgettable. However, there are a few I really enjoyed and want to point those out. I'm not going to give a synopsis of each of one. You can look them up yourself if you're that intrigued. They are:

"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" by Daniel Abraham
"The Swing" by Don Tumasonis
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang
"Closet Dreams" by Lisa Tuttle
"The Evolution of Tr
michael spencer
Not being able to invest in this anthology is a bigger mystery than anything in the anthology itself. Perhaps it's the "in-circle" selection of authors, or the fact that the stories aren't clearly foreshadowed (so it feels like a crap shoot), or the fact that most of the stories are fantasy, when the intention existed mostly for horror. Regardless, much of the storytelling seems simply included because the writers were looking to write something to get published in this anthology, not because th ...more
I've been buying this series every year for 18 years, starting with the third volumne (and I picked up the first two as well). This series is great not only for the short fiction contained in each book, but for the essays that appear in the beginning. You get a nice overview of fantasy and horror books, an obit section, film and music overview as well as comics, but not Marvel and DC. It's a must read for me.

This editon was better than last years. Sometimes, the editions seem to have too much fr
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This is a huge omnibus of 36 stories and 7 poems as chosen by Ellen Datlow for works premiering in 2008. With so much to choose from, there are some wonderful standouts and some that just made me go, "Huh?" (luckily, only 3 of them made me do that). I read this throughout February (a story or sometimes two each night before bed), and now I just want all of the collections I don't have yet.

Here are some of my notes:

The Forest by Laird Barron - feels like you have to be high to appreciate it

The Me
Always a grand assorted bag. Here's what I liked:

"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" by Daniel Abraham - a fantastic story that actually makes economic matters interesting; "Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell - in which vampires are on the hunt for new wondrous tastes; the poem "Scenes of Hell" by Billy Collins - both Boschian and modern; "The Last Worders" by Karen Joy Fowler - where twins are not the best of friends; "The Monsters of Heaven" by Nathan Ballingrud
I've been reading the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror for most of its run, always devouring the essays at the beginning, then carefully skipping or skimming the stories introduced by Ellen Datlow, and reading those edited by (then) Terri Windling and (now) Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. I really can't read horror, but I find myself peeking in. Surely the best horror is worth reading, right? It's a delicate balance. A single story in one of these anthologies when I was a teenager is responsible ...more
Genevieve Williams
This excellent collection makes me sad that it was the last (though Datlow is editing a horror-specific anthology; being less of a fan of horror than of fantasy, however, for me it comes to the same thing in the end). There isn't a weak piece in it, though everyone will like some stories better than others, and it includes stories by authors who are (or who have since become) household names as well as relative unknowns. The review essay was interesting and provided fodder for additional reading ...more
Kathy Sebesta
Well I didn't read the intro stuff - all 100+ pages. And I didn't read the horror stories (identified as being chosen by Ellen Datlow). Which means I read about a third of the 550ish pages and found perhaps three stories I liked well enough to recall. Must not have been my year.
"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" by Daniel Abraham - 5 stars

"Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell - 2 stars

"Holiday" by M. Rickert - 4 stars

"Hum Drum" by Gary McMahon - 2 stars

"Splitfoot" by Paul Walther - 2 stars

"The House of Mechanical Pain" by Chaz Brenchley - 3 stars

"The Last Worders" by Karen Joy Fowler - 2 stars

"The Monsters of Heaven" - 2 stars

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" by Delia Sherman - 3 stars

"Mr. Poo-Poo" by Reggie Oliver - 1 star

"Winter's Wife" by Eli
Joanna Compton-Mys
I loved the ingenuity of Daniel Abraham's tale "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics". It was very well written and kept my attention riveted through various toddler sabotage attempts, so I give this one 5 stars.

"Vampires in the Lemon Grove" was told from a truly unique perspective, and I think if I were in a different place emotionally I would give it 5 stars. For now, a 3.5, even though stars must be whole. Phttt.

M. Rickert's "Holiday" gave me a little too much stomach squishin
In short, this book is simply too much of a good thing. There are 63 pages of editorial writing about the background of horror and fantasy, and obits of writers and all sorts of flotsam. The text is dense and there are ALOT of stories jammed into this book. The cover's text states "more than 250,000 words..". Folks, that's too much. I'd prefer a smaller anthology and a more exclusive set of stories. I have some small anthologies in my personal collection and nearly every story is a true gem. An ...more
Okay, so I haven't read every single story in here, but I've read a lot of them, and this book is LONG. It is also awesome. The overall quality of the stories is great, it's just that some of the horror ones are not quite to my taste. I get scared, or grossed out. LOVE Daniel Abraham's story "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics." And this is worth buying for the 50+ pages of other reading recommendations (annotated) at the beginning alone. I'm so sad this series is being discont ...more
Brenda Sutton
Sep 27, 2009 Brenda Sutton rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves good short stories
Once again Datlow, Link, and Grant have created a collection of powerful fiction. The very first story, "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics", is one of the best stories I've EVER read.
voluminous collection of short-stories, thematically there's a clear tendency towards horror, only a handful of stories being included that I'd consider fantasy.
Mary Overton
"Mother's Milk" by Mary Overton, originally published in ZAHIR 13, is listed as an honorable mention .... along with a gazillion other stories.
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: 21st Annual Collection (Year's Best Fantasy and Horror) by Kelly Link (2008)
I love short stories and these were some really great ones.
Kevin Gallan
Sep 24, 2010 Kevin Gallan marked it as to-read
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter
More about Ellen Datlow...
Snow White, Blood Red Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy Lovecraft Unbound The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm Black Heart, Ivory Bones

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“Silence blew from the hole she had dug like smoke. She could feel what lay just beyond. The new countryside. The unspeaking multitude. Steeples and arches of bone; temples of silence. She felt the great shapes that moved there, majestic and unfurled, utterly silent, utterly dark.” 0 likes
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