The Year’s Best No. 20

Tue 11 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

ybfh20.JPGCome ye to pre-industrial pastoral hills and villages where ye cheese and bread eaters mix with the ale swillers and fight ye evil orcs. Yea, verily, tis time to till the soils and put forth magick into ye lande (and also all ye e’s missing from A Void) in ye name of Ye Annum’s Superlative Phantasies & Politicians.

A few things happening on The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2007: Twentieth Annual Collection front. First: the book is out there (and makes a wonderful holiday gift…).

There’s an online party at Green Man Review celebrating the 20-years-so-far run. There are reviews of all the volumes (don’t read them all at once, your head may explode), an interview with cover artist Tom Canty, an essay by packager Jim Frenkel, and an interview with Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant:

In any given year, approximately what percentage of writers have appeared in a previous YBFH? Do you seek out just the best, or do you like to showcase new talent?

Ellen: In 2006 in my horror half there were nine stories by writers from whom I’d never taken a story for YBFH. In 2005, there were twelve. So obviously, I showcase new talent all the time. I seek out the best and that often means discovering new talent. Some of the writers have been well-known but I’d never taken anything from them before because their earlier stories weren’t the best or maybe they were too long.

Gavin: We pick based on the stories. Who the author is has nothing to do with it. It drives me crazy that an editor would only read work by familiar writers. That would make the book The Best of Who You Know instead of it always being full of surprises. Every editor likes to discover new talent.

One of the best aspects for us is to reach out into the non-genre magazines, collections, and anthologies, select something to reprint, and then to hear from the editor or writer how excited they are by it. It’s also great to find out that many of those editors and writers are reading widely across different fields and are already familiar with the anthology.

Also out there on the internets is a new handy reference guide compiled by Rodger Turner at the SF Site: The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror: by Volume:

In 1988, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling collected together what they thought was the best short fantasy and horror from the previous year. They went through as many of the magazines, collections and anthologies published in 1987 that they could find and chose those stories which they decided best represented the fantasy and horror field. Jim Frenkel arranged for its publication by St. Martins’s Press and it has been produced every year since then. In 2003, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant took over from Terri Windling as the fantasy editors.

Here’s our (rather basic) page for the books which includes the fantasy contents of this year’s book which has stories and poems from

  • magazines: the late-lamented Alchemy, F&SF (including M. Rickert’s World Fantasy Award-winning “Journey into the Kingdom”), Ninth Letter, Fairy Tale Review
  • online magazines: Strange Horizons, The Journal of Mythic Arts, Diagram
  • anthologies: Salon Fantastique, Twenty Epics, Firebirds Rising, Paraspheres
  • and collections: Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, Of Tales and Enigmas, Becoming the Villianess

as well the extensive summaries and lists of honorable mentions. We think we look at ~3,000 stories a year (will have to do the math properly sometime!) and in 2006 we listed 205 Honorable Mentions, or about 1 in every 15 stories we read. For the curious after the break there’s a list of where the HMs came from and how many per venue.
Links to previous volumes:

Meanwhile even as we celebrate the 20th edition, we are deep in the reading for the 21st edition—there’s always more to read!

2006 Honorable Mentions:

Strange Horizons (15)

F&SF (10)

Asimov’s (9)

Realms of Fantasy (8)

Lone Star Stories (7)

Twenty Epics (6)

Firebirds Rising (5)
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (5)
Mythic (5)

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (4)
Eidolon (4)
Electric Velocipede (4)
Fantasy Magazine (4)
Flytrap (4)
Mythic Delirium (4)
On Spec, Summer (4)
ParaSpheres (4)
Rabid Transit: Long Voyages, Great Lies (4)
Salon Fantastique (4)
Shimmer (4)
Zahir (4)

Agog! Ripping Reads (3)
Alchemy (3)
Of Tales and Enigmas (3)
Red Spikes (3)
Stand, Vol6 (3)
Sybil’s Garage (3)

A Public Space (2)
Abyss & Apex (2)
Children of Magic (2)
Chizine (2)
Dreams and Nightmares (2)
In the Dark (2)
Interzone (2)
Jabberwocky (2)
Polyphony (2)
The Magic Toybox (2)
The Paris Review (2)
White Time (2)
Writers of the Future (2)

Albedo One, 31
Atlanta Review, Spring/Summer
Black Juice (UK)
Christmas Inn
Dark Horizons
Dark Mondays
Fairy Tale Review, Green Issue
Feeling Very Strange
From the Trenches: An Anthology of Speculative War Stories
Full Unit Hookup
Garden of the Perverse: Fairy Tales for Twisted Adults
Georgia Review, Spring
Intergalactic Medicine Show
Kenyon Review, Vol. 28, No.4
Last Letters from Hav
Massachusetts Review, Vol. 47, No.4
New Wyrd: A Wyrdsmith Anthology
Ninth Letter, Vol. 3, No.1
Not One of Us, 36
One Story
Ploughshares, Fall
Quantum Muse, November
Reserved for Travelling Shows
Room of One’s Own, 29:2
Salmagundi, Spring/Summer 2006
Shadowed Realms,9
Shuteye for the Timebroker
Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead
Southwest Review, Vol. 91, No. 1
Star*Line, 29/6
Strange Wisdoms of the Dead
Surrounded, 1
Talebones, 33
The Empire of Ice Cream
The Ephemera
The Journal of Mythic Arts, Spring
The Lost District
The New Yorker, Feb. 13 & 20
Tin House, 29


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