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The Year's Best Fantasy First Annual Collection

(The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #1 - year 1988)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This groundbreaking anthology inaugurates an exciting new annual tradition—a giant collection of the greatest fantasy and supernatural stories published in 1987.
Paperback, 527 pages
Published July 15th 1988 by St. Martin's Griffin (NY) (first published January 1st 1988)
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4.07  · 
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 ·  196 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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DeAnna Knippling
When I started the anthology, at first I felt robbed.

I hadn't read this one before, so most of the stories were new to me, but I have read other books in the series, as well as other things that the editors have done together.

I wasn't prepared to come back to it. Not only have both fantasy and horror moved on since this came out, but it was kind of a game changer at the time.

I don't often say this, but--I want that world back, not the one where 80s horror novels were blunt instruments of vanit
Aug 03, 2014 is currently reading it
Shelves: anthology, fantasy

I love anthologies, and I thoroughly enjoyed Datlow's The Faery Reel, so... ?.? stars

Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight by Ursula K. Le Guin * *
A strange story about a girl who apparently falls out of a plane, and is found and helped by Coyote and other desert denizens.

A World Without Toys by T. M. Wright * * * *
Alex and Blanche from the historical society are interested in an old house found under a street. The house has toys in the attic.

DX by Joe Haldeman * * *
A day in the life of any

Erik Graff
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This is a creditable attempt to do for fantasy collections in the eighties and beyond what Judith Merrill did for science fiction collections decades before. I don't usually like fantasy very much, but a lot of these items were quite good.
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Great Anthology, first of the series. All the stories are worth reading, but some I like more than others. My favorite is "Fat Face" by Michael Shea. Also has an excellent year-in-review for an introduction. Highly Recommended.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn't expect this anthology to be fantasy *and* horror and I'm still a bit confused by the decision to anthologize both genres together. Mind you, I don't love horror, and this anthology is pretty old, so things may have been thought about differently back then. I'm not ashamed to say that I skipped virtually all the horror by the simple method of seeing which editor had written the little blurb before the story and avoiding all the ones that were signed 'E.D.' It did feel rather unsatisfacto ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are some very good stories in here. I actually thought I was picking up a different volume that follows along the more traditional pairing of SF&F, rather than fantasy and horror. As a person who is more than enough terrified of everyday life events - I skipped a good 40% of the book that was exclusively dedicated to horror. The names presented were all excellent authors, and I'm certain that if I was a horror reader that I would have enjoyed them.

An exceptional look back into the 80s
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
All the stories are from 1987, and a few feel that way. Mostly in a bad way, although "The Other Side" by Ramsey Campbell has a 1980s Stephen King feel that was deliciously creepy. Ursula K. Le Guin starts the collection off with the fantastic "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight;" it's the highest point in the book. Like all short story collections, the rest is a roller coaster, some stories great fun (and/or great literature) and some (dated) duds.
Richard Leis
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took me over a year to read this 1988 collection of short stories selected by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, but it wasn't because of any problems I had with the anthology. I'm rating this 5 stars for a very good reason: nearly ever story in the collection are themselves 5-star worthy. Some stories overwhelmed me so much with their greatness that I had to take a break to process them, which led to gaps in my reading this anthology when I fell into reading some other book. Every time I came ...more
The rockabilly werewolf from Mars .
This is the first entry in a now classic series of anthologies, and possibly the best book in the series; partially due to the inclusion of Michael McDowell, likely the most underrated writer in the horror genre (Sadly, he died young and wrote few short stories, but if you happen to find his novel The Elementals, read it immediately, you won't regret it). I will admit, I am more interested in the horror genre than the fantasy genre; so I will probably focus more on the horror stories. Notes on t ...more
♦ Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight by Ursula K. Le Guin
A World Without Toys • (1986) • shortstory by T. M. Wright
DX • (1987) • poem by Joe Haldeman
Friend's Best Man • (1987) • shortstory by Jonathan Carroll
The Snow Apples • (1987) • shortstory by Gwyneth Jones
Ever After • (1987) • novelette by Susan Palwick
My Name Is Dolly • (1987) • shortstory by William F. Nolan
The Moon's Revenge • (1987) • shortstory by Joan Aiken
Lake George in High August • (1987) • shortstory by John Robert Bensink
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sorry for virtually the same review on whole anthology set

I own a Book Club hardcover edition.

I started this anthology with the 5th Annual and I loved it so much I started collecting the whole set including finding copies of those before it.

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
O. Ouellette
Some of the short stories were very imaginative, funny or even a little inspirational, but most of them were mediocre and seemed either half-heartedly thrown together or not very well developed. Some of them were just plain random. It makes me sad when I read an anthology and feel like I could have done better than the writers in the book...and I don't think I'm too arrogant, so I don't feel this way often. At times, I almost felt like I was reading contest entries for the L. Ron Hubbard writing ...more
So I can say that I liked George R.R. Martin before it was cool because his story "The Pear Shaped Man" is the story that I remember the most from this collection. And it is one of those stories that holds up to a re-read. Yolen's short fiction and poetry are also good. But watch out for these cheese curls with Martin. Honesty, you thought you get worried about characters dying? You have to worry about cheese curls now.

There are several quiet fantasy stories here as well and a Le Guin that is qu
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This anthology was ok. I was expecting more I think. It was more horror than fantasy, and even the horror was questionable, there were a lot of stories about serial killers. My favorite stories were Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight by Ursula LeGuin. DX a poem about Vietnam by Joe Haldeman. Ever After by Susan Palwick, Cinderella and Vampires...
Csucskari by Steven Brust. Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair by Charles DeLint, Words of Power by Jane Yolen and The Maid on the Shore by Delia Sherman.
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Poised on the brink, he looked forward.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
So many stories but hardly any of them good
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it it was ok

Features fantasy and horror short stories from lots of different writers.

Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it
The first volume in what would become The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. Nothing really memorable apart from the Jonathan Carroll story.
The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection by Ellen Datlow (1988)
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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