Each year editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling compile a collection of what they regard to be the best fantasy and horror short stories published during that year. This volume covers the stories of 1998, and as always includes a discussion of the state of the publishing industry and a list of stories that couldn't be included in the volume but were worthy of note.
Fantasy and horror cover a broad spectrum, from retellings of fairy tales and mythology to magic realism, from subtle psychological horror to grim stories of gore and extreme suffering. Sometimes the lines between fantasy and horror aren't always neatly drawn. For instance Kelly Link's "Travels with the Snow Queen" gives us a very grim look at the dark side of the fairy tales we so cheerfully tell our children.
But it isn't always dread and misery. Sometimes there can be whimsy as well, if one is willing to play by the rules of the fairy world instead of demanding that it work by human rules. We see this in some of the poetry, such as "Kokopelli," which tells of the ancient dancer spirit of Native American tradition and art. Peril exists when the boundaries are crossed, not simply because the other exists.
In all, this is an excellent compendium, a particularly good resource for the writer who wants to see what a top editor in the field considers to be the best of the best.
Table of Contents
Summation 1998: Fantasy by Terri Windling
Summation 1998: Horror by Ellen Datlow
Horror and Fantasy in the Media: 1998 by Edward Bryant
Comics: 1998 by Seth Johnson
Obituaries: 1998 by James Frenkel
"Travels with the Snow Queen" by Kelly Link
"Running Dogs" by Steve Duffy
"Wiglaf" (poem) by Marisa de los Santos
"Mrs. Mabb" by Susanna Clarke
"Due West" by Rick Kennett
"Kokopelli" (poem) by Catharine Savage Brosman
"Taking Loup" by Bruce Glassco
"The Evil Within" by Sara Douglass
"Wile E. Coyote's Lament" (poem) by Larry Fontenot
"The Rainmaker" by Mary Rosenblum
"A Place To Stay" by Michael Marshall Smith
"The Fantasma of Q_______" by Lisa Goldstein
"Hoopa, the White Deer Dance" by Ralph Salisbury
"That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French" by Stephen King