"Ellen Datlow is the queen of anthology editors in America."-Peter Straub With original stories by Jeffrey Ford, Pat Cadigan, Elizabeth Bear, Margo Lanagan, and others From Del Rey Books and award-winning editor Ellen Datlow, two of the most respected names in science fiction and fantasy, comes a collection of fifteen all-new short stories, plus a science fiction novella, that could count as a virtual "best of the year" anthology. Here you will find slyly twisted alternate histories, fractured fairy tales, topical science fiction, and edgy urban fantasy. In "Daltharee," World Fantasy Award-winning author Jeffrey Ford spins a chilling tale of a city in a bottle-and the demented genius who put it there. In "Sonny Liston Takes the Fall," John W. Campbell Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear pens a poignant and eerie requiem for the heavyweight forever associated with his controversial loss to Cassius Clay. From hot new writer Margo Lanagan comes "The Goosle," a dark, astonishing take on Hansel and Gretel. In the novella "Prisoners of the Action," Paul MccAuley and Kim Newman take a trip down a rabbit hole that leads to a Guantanamo-like prison whose inmates are not just illegal but extraterrestrial. Many of the writers you'll recognize. Others you may not. But one thing is certain: These stars of today and tomorrow demonstrate that the field of speculative fiction is not only alive and well-it's ever.
This book turns out to be just another not very good original anthology. 3.16 average only. Although billed as The Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy, you could uncharitably call it the Del Rey Book Of Fantasy with a fair helping of mundane and a bit of Science Fiction. The subtitle mentions Speculative Fiction - perhaps that would have been a better actual title as far as content goes. However, the McAuley/Newman novella is a long piece, and clearly SF, and also probably the only story with anything resembling humour. Perhaps not so surprising given the editor's predilection for horror. Lanagan and Barron may well appeal to the horror fan, too, and maybe some of the other stories.
In general though, there is too much average, mediocre, and dull to be found here, and a certain sameness of tone perhaps in the inferior examples. The better tales clearly depart from this sort of atmosphere: McHugh's future China again, Lanagan's not just fractured by actually fracked fairy tale and McAuley and Newman's whacky island, to name a few.
Here's what the editor says in the intro : "This volume reflects the kinds of fiction I published while at SCI FICTION: fantasy, science fiction, a touch of horror—and even a possibly unclassifiable or two. I did not go out and try to pick a story to represent every type of SF, every type of fantasy or dark fantasy. You won’t find off-planet stories or hard science fiction, but you will find two very different alternate histories, some aliens, and some powerful, very timely political science fiction. There’s no sword and sorcery or elves but there are cities in bottles, a twisted fairy tale, and a woman who loves filming volcanoes."
In other words, if you are looking for a variety of centre-core science fiction stories, second world fantasy or the more mainstream urban fantasy to any significant degree, then you should definitely look elsewhere, you definitely won't find it here. Those that like the more mundane or mainstream type stuff will likely find this appealing. Perhaps a strange approach if trying to establish a series title and turn it into a success. Maybe there idea is to be the flipside of the Solaris effort and try and get a different audience. This one isn't in mass market form I don't think though, however the ebook is available and how I managed to get it for a price I thought was worth it. Good thing it was at a nice fictionwise discount as it turns out.
The best story here, Elizabeth Bear's 'Sonny Liston Takes the Fall' is an example of the above approach, it would seem: it has one minor if you are aware of it mention of another character from a supernatural urban fantasy story of hers. 'One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide Kings' which you can find at Subterranean Online and says it is an exceprt from a novel. Otherwise as you should be able to tell from the title, it is a story about a boxer.
There are other stories like that, chop out a line or two and you wouldn't notice it was any sort of fantasy at all.
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : The Elephant Ironclads - Jason Stoddard
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Ardent Clouds - Lucy Sussex
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Gather - Christopher Rowe
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Sonny Liston Takes the Fall - Elizabeth Bear
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : North American Lake Monsters - Nathan Ballingrud
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : All Washed Up While Looking for a Better World - Carol Emshwiller
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Special Economics - Maureen McHugh
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Aka Saint Marks Place - Richard Bowes
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : The Goosle - Margo Lanagan
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Shira - Lavie Tidhar
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : The Passion of Azazel - Barry N. Malzberg
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : The Lagerstätte - Laird Barron
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Gladiolus Exposed - Anna Tambour
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Daltharee - Jeffrey Ford
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Jimmy - Pat Cadigan
Del Rey Book Of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Prisoners of the Action - Paul McAuley and Kim Newman
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