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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)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  22 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

Paperback, 571 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 25, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
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
Aug 08, 2009 Jayme rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 22, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
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'
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
Jun 04, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
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
May 04, 2014 Dan rated it it was ok
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
Feb 15, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Jun 18, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set

I own a trade sized paper back.

I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set by signing up for pre-orders with the book store.

What sets this anthology apart from many others is that I always find two or three gems within its pages, many liked stories and very few I have to force myself through. More importantly, from those people I have noted who read these anthologies too, they say
Genevieve Williams
Jan 12, 2011 Genevieve Williams rated it really liked it
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
michael spencer
Jun 25, 2014 michael spencer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2013 Greg rated it it was ok
"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
Jun 21, 2011 Joanna Compton-Mys rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Mar 09, 2010 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
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
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
Brenda Sutton
Sep 27, 2009 Brenda Sutton rated it it was amazing
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.
Kathy Sebesta
Apr 19, 2015 Kathy Sebesta rated it liked it
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 Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: 21st Annual Collection (Year's Best Fantasy and Horror) by Kelly Link (2008)
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.
Apr 01, 2009 Felix rated it liked it
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.
Juniper rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2012
Jenny Ashford
Jenny Ashford rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2009
E.C. rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2008
Lyndsay Gilbert
Lyndsay Gilbert rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2015
Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2015
JayDeeReading rated it liked it
Oct 12, 2008
Bill rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2011
Tema rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2012
Jason Howard
Jason Howard rated it it was ok
Feb 26, 2014
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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...

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