The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror

Mon 12 Jan 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 152 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Sad to say we have bad news about The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: there will be no volume this year after all.

It is a simple truth that no book exists without much unseen work, so we’d like to thank the people at St. Martin’s who published the series for twenty-one years, the readers, writers (of the fiction, poetry, and the various annual summations), our co-editor Ellen Datlow, the packager Jim Frenkel, cover artist Tom Canty, and all the booksellers, librarians, and readers who supported the series over its lifetime.

It has been an honor and a thrill to work on these books over the past six years. We edited five anthologies and were part way through the sixth when we got the news about the 2008 volume and we’d like to thank (and apologize to) all the editors, publishers, readers and writers who helped us by sending and recommending material.

At this point in the year we’re usually deep in final reading and we can give the usual report: 2008 was a great year for fantasy. Over the next couple of months we’ll try and post more about what we read, recommendations, and so on.

New incarnations of the book may appear, there will be further announcements as the year goes on.

Again, thanks,


Gavin J. Grant & Kelly Link


152 Responses to “The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror”

  1. Tim Pratt on January 12th, 2009 6:37 pm

    I am so sad. This was my favorite anthology series — I’ve been reading it since I was 12 and have them all lined up on a shelf — and seeing my work appear there occasionally was a major high point of my life. I hope it does continue in some other incarnation, and let me thank you sincerely for making it a great bunch of books.

  2. Amy Sisson on January 12th, 2009 6:50 pm

    This is a big loss to the field. Thanks for all of your work — it is much appreciated.

  3. Amal El-Mohtar on January 12th, 2009 6:57 pm

    Oh NO!! And Jess and I were just patting each other on the back for having fixed the problems with Goblin Fruit that you pointed out in last year’s anthology! I’m so sad about this — you lot always put together such a fantastic collection. Thank you so much for all the work you’ve done.

  4. Charles Tan on January 12th, 2009 7:01 pm

    That’s sad news. Like Tim, it’s also one of my favorite anthology series and has become a staple.

  5. Carl on January 12th, 2009 7:02 pm

    This is sad news. Makes me wonder about the fate of the SF volume which I have been reading for close to 20 years.

  6. Ben Peek » Blog Archive » No More Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror? on January 12th, 2009 7:03 pm

    […] Link. […]

  7. lcrw on January 12th, 2009 7:04 pm

    We’re very sad, too.

    Amal: I saw that the new ish of Goblin Fruit has a lovely new design, congratulations! It’s been a treat to do these books and find groups of people, such as Goblin Fruit, who are doing great work.

    Carl: I think Gardner’s collection is doing well and will go as along as he wants.

  8. Eric Rosenfield on January 12th, 2009 7:11 pm

    This makes me sad.

  9. Livia Llewellyn on January 12th, 2009 7:16 pm

    I feel like someone just punched me in the gut. YBF&H was, for me, the benchmark and standard. And as a horror writer and reader, I’m particularly saddened (and frustrated) that now there is one less “best of” anthology to find the kind of fiction that I love to read and one day hope to write. Fuck fuck fuck.

  10. Kathryn Cramer on January 12th, 2009 7:17 pm

    My condolences. Our YBF dodged the bullet, but just narrowly. We have changed publishers, though we aren’t announcing the specifics until we get the countersigned contracts and the check. (We have gone to contract, but are in danger of turning in the book before we get those pesky little bits of paper.)

  11. Alex on January 12th, 2009 7:20 pm

    Sad news. Thanks for introducing me to a lot of writers and stories I would have otherwise missed.

  12. Mike Allen on January 12th, 2009 7:23 pm

    I totally ditto the punched-in-the-gut feeling. The loss of this anthology series is a terrible blow to our community. I do hope a new phoenix can rise from the ashes.

  13. Maura McHugh on January 12th, 2009 7:28 pm

    What a shame. Thanks for collecting so much good work for so long. YBFH will be missed.

  14. Amal El-Mohtar on January 12th, 2009 7:33 pm

    Thanks, Gavin. Here’s hoping hard for a new incarnation. I wish you guys all the best.

  15. Vince Perkins on January 12th, 2009 7:40 pm

    I am not enjoying this news at all. Like most dedicated short form readers, I have nearly every volume, and find them indispensable for reading and locating works I might not otherwise find. Every volume had gems of story that I recollect with fondness. A sad day.

  16. Lynne Jamneck on January 12th, 2009 7:58 pm

    This truly is sad news. YBFH was always the best place to find the preceding year’s best in specfic. And now, one of my writing goals will never see the light of day – to be one of those select few to be published in this outstanding collection.

  17. Wendy S. Delmater on January 12th, 2009 8:17 pm

    Thank you for all your hard work, Kelly and Gavin. Here’s to future successes and endeavors!

  18. Ellen Datlow on January 12th, 2009 8:23 pm

    I’m very sorry it’s dead in the current incarnation. I’ve enjoyed working on the book for 22 years.

    However, I’ve just made a deal with Night Shade for two volumes of a year’s best horror starting with the one I’ve been working on (2008 covering 2007 and 2009 covering work in 2008). So I’m happy about that.

  19. Karen on January 12th, 2009 8:24 pm

    You guys have done such good work on this series, and it’s been a tremendous gift to the field. I’ll miss those beautiful books full of great stories. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  20. lcrw on January 12th, 2009 8:36 pm

    Hey Ellen that’s great news, congrats on the new series!

  21. Dean Alfar on January 12th, 2009 8:46 pm

    Like many many people, in the past twenty-odd years this series has been like a bible, sampler, textbook and cabinet of wonders for me, exposing me to different flavors, stories I’d never have found normally, and to authors new and established. One of my writerly dreams was just to be mentioned in the book- you topped that and reprinted one of my stories. For being a big part of my reading life, thank you, thank you, thank you. Please let us know when (not if) the new incarnation comes together – and I will certainly seek out Ellen’s horror YB.

  22. Thomas Canty on January 12th, 2009 8:49 pm

    Gosh . . . I wish that Jim had told me ahead of time. This is the first that I’ve heard of it actually ending for good.

    Ellen, please put in a good word for me over at Nightshade will you. You’re a pleasure to work with/for maybe they need an artist for your new series.


  23. Patrick Swenson on January 12th, 2009 8:49 pm

    Really sorry to hear this. Like Tim, I have every volume, lined up on my bookshelf (right next to the YBSF, of which I’m only missing the first volume).

    Wonderful work by all involved, of course. While sad about this, I know (as in Ellen’s news), that something will come around to fill the void.

  24. Adam Lipkin on January 12th, 2009 8:49 pm

    Wow. That’s heartbreaking news about YBF&H. We’ve got every volume to date on our shelves.

  25. Peg Aloi on January 12th, 2009 8:49 pm

    I also am very very sorry to see it go; I have Volume One and many that came after…I treasure and re-read them often. But change happens and I hope everyone involved can go on to good things.

  26. Zauberspiegel Nachrichten » Blog Archive » Das Aus für THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR on January 12th, 2009 8:59 pm

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  27. Eric Gregory on January 12th, 2009 9:06 pm

    What a shame. This was an annual pleasure for me and my family, and there are many fond memories; it’s hard to imagine a year without YBF&H.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

  28. Ellen Kushner on January 12th, 2009 9:09 pm

    Condolences to everyone – including Terri Windling, who pioneered the complex, adult, multicultural and interstitial fantasy half of the volume for its first 16 years, often taking it on the chin for her non-traditional choices, especially in the early days. I think Terri has done more to change the face of modern fantasy than anyone – and when she decided it was time for her to leave the project, she hand-picked Gavin & Kelly to be her successors, knowing they’d continue making similarly daring and interesting choices, expanding everyone’s ideas of what makes good fantasy fiction.

  29. lcrw on January 12th, 2009 9:44 pm

    It is very strange to look at that shelf with 21 volumes of the series on it and think that it is done. But we have other series anthologies that are complete, so we understand that everything changes.

    Tom, really sorry about you hearing this for the first time here, I thought Jim had contacted you.

    Ellen Datlow’s new book with Night Shade will be fun (especially if it’s anything like those huge zombie and apocalypse anthologies!) and maybe we will do something along these lines at some point, too.

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  31. Vera Nazarian on January 12th, 2009 9:52 pm

    Oh, no! This is truly deeply sad news. I am so sorry!!

  32. Robert Levy on January 12th, 2009 9:54 pm

    WOW. I have no words. This is the series that introduced me to modern F/H writing, where I soon fell in love… What a loss.

  33. Sovay on January 12th, 2009 10:00 pm

    Now what anthology am I going to buy faithfully every year? I am so sorry to hear this! Thank you for all the beautiful work I’ve gotten to read for years.

  34. Dale Edmonds on January 12th, 2009 10:03 pm

    One of the books I always bought and cherished. I discovered so many new authors, comics and films through these anthologies.

  35. Keffy Kehrli on January 12th, 2009 10:09 pm

    Oh no!

  36. Ed Schubert on January 12th, 2009 10:10 pm

    My condolences. Hoping and praying it’s a temporary thing.

  37. Daniel Braum on January 12th, 2009 10:11 pm

    Sorry to hear the news, Gavin. Looking forward to new incarnations and to Ellen’s new series at Night Shade.

  38. Ellen Datlow on January 12th, 2009 10:13 pm

    Tom, I’ve contacted Jeremy with your contact info.

  39. Fred on January 12th, 2009 10:17 pm

    I’m just stunned. I was elated when Kaleidotrope merited even the briefest of mentions, and the volume has been an indispensable, must-have guide every year. Thanks to you, Ellen, Terri and everyone else for all your hard work on it over the years. I’ll be very sorry to see it go.

  40. Greer Gilman on January 12th, 2009 10:30 pm

    This is just…wrong.

    YBF&H is what writers aspired to; where readers found the indispensable and undiscovered; where scholars read “the abstract and brief chronicles of the time.” It has been truly an anthology, a garland of green.

    Many many thanks to all who worked on it, who made that long shelf of brilliant, provocative, astonishing stories and poems.

  41. Mari on January 12th, 2009 10:54 pm

    And thank you for _your_ work. These volumes will be much missed.

  42. Shweta Narayan on January 12th, 2009 10:56 pm

    That’s awful news. I’m so sorry to hear it; YBF&H introduced me to so many favourite writers.

    Thank you so much for the offer to share recommendations, and fingers crossed for a new incarnation of it!

  43. Farah on January 12th, 2009 11:10 pm

    Terribly sad to hear this.

  44. Haddayr on January 12th, 2009 11:13 pm

    Thank you all for your hard, hard work. So sad.

  45. 'As You Know' Bob on January 12th, 2009 11:18 pm

    Gee, that’s bad news – I really liked that series. I’m sorry to hear it, and sorry for all involved.

  46. 'As You Know' Bob on January 12th, 2009 11:18 pm

    Gee, that’s bad news – I really liked that series. I’m sorry to hear it, and sorry for all involved.

  47. Meghan on January 12th, 2009 11:29 pm

    Oh man, what a bummer.

  48. Darrell Schweitzer on January 12th, 2009 11:48 pm

    Alas! The field has lost its center. YBF&H was the annual record of everything. A terrible loss, as if our own special Library of Alexandria had just been burned down. — Darrell Schweitzer

  49. sallybrackett on January 12th, 2009 11:54 pm

    Oh. This makes me very sad. I’m sorry to see it go.

  50. Donald Mead on January 13th, 2009 12:10 am

    Very sad news. I will miss it.

  51. Jessica Wick on January 13th, 2009 12:19 am

    What Amal said. We treasured every mention Goblin Fruit received, and I’ve been reading this series since I was a little girl just discovering Charles de Lint… I’m so sad, and I’ll especially miss the involved “What’s Up In Fantasy” and “What’s Up In Horror” essays at the beginning of each volume.

    Thanks, guys. Really.

  52. Nadine on January 13th, 2009 12:44 am

    I am very sorry to hear this. It’s consistently been a favorite. Thanks for all your hard work over the years.

  53. D. Miller on January 13th, 2009 1:09 am

    I have an entire shelf dedicated to just this series. I am so sad about this news, but I do want to thank you for so many years of dedication and *amazing* work. May the new year bring you more exciting projects to work on – thank you for everything!

  54. Genevieve on January 13th, 2009 1:23 am

    Just…crap. Such a loss; I’m so sorry to see it go, and echo the wishes that something new is on the horizon.

  55. Chrissie Mains on January 13th, 2009 1:39 am

    Very disappointing news. For twenty years I’ve counted on this anthology to point me to wonderful works and authors I might otherwise not have read.

  56. Michael Jones on January 13th, 2009 3:19 am

    I second Jessica Wick’s comment. For me, the true selling point of YBFH wasn’t the fiction, as awesome a selection as it always was. It was the sections in the beginning, those thorough, exhaustive, informative and essential summaries of the various subgenres and mediums within the field. Those were worth the price of admission even before you factored in the fiction.

    Sorry to see the series go just as it finally reached the age of legal drinking in the U.S., but good luck to all involved.

  57. David DeLaney on January 13th, 2009 3:45 am

    Hold on – just a quick question: You’re meaning to say there will be no _2009_ volume, correct? No Twenty-Second Annual volume? Because I’ve just today BOUGHT the 2008 volume, the one numbered Twenty-First Annual… The original post and many followups seem to be saying it’s the one that doesn’t exist, but I _have_ it?


  58. Jason Erik Lundberg on January 13th, 2009 3:52 am

    This makes me unaccountably sad. I didn’t always buy the antho every year, but it was the gold standard, what many of us aspired to in this field. One of the high points in my life in the last several years (and there have been more than a few) was seeing my work recommended in the back amongst all of the other honorable mentions.

    My thanks to Ellen, Gavin, Kelly, and Terri for the excellent work they’ve done all these years.

  59. Terri Windling on January 13th, 2009 4:11 am

    I’ve just only heard this sad news today too. Many thanks to you all — Ellen, Gavin, Kelly, Tom, and Jim Frenkel — for all the hard work you’ve put into these books since my departure from the series. Thank you for creating such fine volumes, for supporting literary fantasy and horror, and for made our field a better place.

  60. Terri Windling on January 13th, 2009 4:14 am

    …that should have been “making”…need more coffee…

  61. Siobhan Carroll on January 13th, 2009 4:26 am

    Oh no. I am terribly sorry to hear that. I’ve been reading this series since I was 14, and I’ve learned so much about writing from it.

    Thanks for all your hard work. I hope it finds a new incarnation soon.

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  64. Erzebet YellowBoy on January 13th, 2009 5:23 am

    It feels like a large part of my life has been taken away. Thank you for all of your hard work and for bringing to light some of the best stories in the field.

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  67. HogeTown » Blog Archive » End of the road for Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror on January 13th, 2009 6:27 am

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  68. Annie on January 13th, 2009 7:31 am

    Thanks to everyone involved in working on the book for all these years.

  69. janeyolen on January 13th, 2009 8:02 am

    What? Can’t be. The center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed etc.

    At a time when fantasy books and movies are in the ascendancy, this makes NO sense at all.

    Damn, damn, damn.


  70. Steven on January 13th, 2009 8:17 am

    Very sad news. I have been buying them since the first volume came out in 1988 and my bookshelves (and I) will miss having the annual edition.

  71. Jetse on January 13th, 2009 8:21 am

    Truly sad to hear this, and thanks to everybody (editors & contributors) for making it happen over all these years.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for the Dozois YBSF, and kudos to Ellen for the horror volumes at Nightshade Books, and Kathryn for the new publisher of her (and David’s) YBF.

    Here’s to hoping that Kelly and Kevin may find a publisher for the fantasy part.

  72. gillian on January 13th, 2009 9:31 am

    I am really sad about this wonderful anthology. The only upbeating thing is that the editors are really dynamic; so I am sure that we will soon see something awesome, surprising and new.
    Good luck to the editors and many thanks to them for their admirable work all these years.
    A friend, reviewer in Galaxies magazine, France

  73. lcrw on January 13th, 2009 9:33 am

    Dave, you do indeed have the 2008 volume, which covers work published in 2007—and thanks for buying it!

    The volume that won’t come out is, #22, covering 2008, which would have been published somewhere between August and October (it was moved around a bit recently).

  74. Leila on January 13th, 2009 9:58 am

    What terrible news.

    Thank you for all of your years of hard work, and I hope that there’ll be a way to bring it back, hopefully soon.

  75. Brady on January 13th, 2009 11:00 am

    YBF&H no more?! Like so many here, I have every volume lined up, and there’s always one on my nightstand. I’ve cycled thorough and back through some over the years. This is sad. Thanks to Ellen, Terri, Kelly, and Gavin for years of great work. Receving honorable mentions in there were great honors for me (I Xeroxed my name appearing on the same page as Ray Bradbury’s I was so proud). Well, I’ll treasure the ones we have.

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  78. Ian Whates on January 13th, 2009 11:38 am

    Wow, completely floored by this. Such an excellent series — a true benchmark. Echoing what has been said already, but many thanks to all those who have invested their time and expertise to give us over two decades of great stories.

    Sad indeed.

  79. Nicole Kornher-Stace on January 13th, 2009 12:06 pm

    Ugh. What everyone else said. My dad bought me a few back volumes of this when I was about 10 and I spent the better part of a summer reading and re-reading .. my first exposure to modern speculative fiction, without which I may never have known of some of my favorite writers and stories (and poems!), or attempted writing anything myself.

    Huge thanks to all involved. Can’t think of many books about which I can honestly say that reading them was a life-changing experience, but YBFH tops whatever list there is.

  80. lcrw on January 13th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Ian, Brady, Leila, Gillian, et al!

    Thanks for the notes. It’s been a very strange period between when we were told that the books were going to stop and it being announced, so it’s a relief to have the news out there.

    But it makes me sad all over again to see how much the books will be missed. We’ll miss them as readers. Terri’s (and Ellen’s) summaries were the big draw, especially pre-internet and as younger readers. You can go back to those volumes and still find great novels, collections, etc.

    Of course Jonathan Strahan and many others are keeping the idea of these books alive so I hope you will consider supporting them when you can by buying them from an indie bookshop.

  81. Derryl Murphy on January 13th, 2009 12:40 pm

    Well, doesn’t that just suck. I made so many great discoveries in the pages of those books, and am indebted to Ellen and Teri and Kelly and Gavin for that. Disappointing, for sure.


  82. Diane Walton on January 13th, 2009 1:08 pm

    We at On Spec Magazine share everyone’s profound sense of loss. It’s always been such a thrill to find our stories in the “Honorable Mention” section of the book. The editors have done such a remarkable job over the years. Many thanks.

  83. Anna Marie on January 13th, 2009 1:11 pm

    This is a great lost to the genre. It was one of the few anthologies I constantly purchased year after year. Thank you for all your hard work.

  84. Peter Straub on January 13th, 2009 1:14 pm

    What terrible news this is. The anthologies were always filled with great things, and every single one brought new and vital writers into the general discourse — what an incredibly valuable contribution its editors made to imaginative fiction.

  85. Ellen Datlow on January 13th, 2009 1:47 pm

    Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    Every year has been both gratifying and exhausting and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your pov, I guess ;-)) it’s not over for me.

    I’d like to give an extra special shout out to Jim Frenkel, whose brainchild the series was, who brought me and Terri Windling together to co-edit it, and who kept us going for 21 years. Without him, there would never have been a Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

  86. Aliette de Bodard on January 13th, 2009 2:18 pm

    Oh no. This really is bad–I enjoyed reading this every year and always found the fiction invigorating. Many thanks to all of you for your hard work, and I hope it resurfaces in some other guise.

  87. Luke on January 13th, 2009 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much, Ellen, Terri, Kelly, and Gavin. I am glad to have had these years with you and I am thankful for all or the entertainment and excitement and challenged you have provided. It’s been a pleasure reading with you, and I look forward to your future endeavors, though this series will always be sorely missed.

  88. Gary Couzens on January 13th, 2009 2:33 pm

    Very sad news. I too have a complete set (the British editions renamed Demons & Dreams for the first two years). It was the ONLY year’s best I made a point of buying every year without fail. I can’t begin to estimate how many great stories (and their writers) this series introduced me to.

    As a writer, it gave me something to aspire to. I never got into the book itself, but honourable mentions were a considerable boost when you sometimes doubt yourself. So as a reader and as a writer, thanks to the editors.

  89. Danel Olson on January 13th, 2009 2:36 pm

    All this morning I thrilled at reading two recent YBF&H volumes, all part of the addictive Series which has undraped so much passion and emotion and graceful, inventive prose for over two decades. It’s been the best teacher and entertainer for my students and me, and so many times I came away from a story or poem remarking, “I didn’t think that could be done, nor ever so well.”

    Now I suddenly find this afternoon that the Annual is vanishing.

    For readers everywhere this is heartbreaking …
    But take solace where we can. We haven’t lost the searching editors, astonishing artists, or risk-taking, superb writers. They are with us still, and we will support them fully in other formats.

    And doesn’t Ellen note give some cheer needed now? That she’s just made a deal with Night Shade for two volumes of a year’s best horror starting with the one she’s been working on (2008 covering 2007 and 2009 covering work in 2008). I can’t wait for that.

    Raising a glass to the greatest Collection,

  90. Eric Schaller on January 13th, 2009 4:12 pm

    Truly the end of an era–or maybe several eras.

    I’ve always loved how the anthology covered both fantasy and horror, increasing the variety of the stories. I almost wished that one didn’t know who chose what, so a movement into darkness or light could not be predicted.

  91. Memory on January 13th, 2009 4:14 pm

    This just ripped my heart right out. I began reading the series just last year, and have since set about acquiring all the previous volumes. I’ve discovered some amazing authors through the pages of your anthology. The selections were consistently well-written and thoughtful, and I considered the books a real treat. YBF&H was, (and is), the sort of anthology the reader can just wallow in.

    Thank you to all of you who worked so hard on the series over the years. I’m truly sorry to hear that there won’t be a twenty-second installment.

  92. Will Alexander on January 13th, 2009 4:36 pm

    Thank you for shaping such massive amounts of material into a cohesive whole, every year, for so many years. Thanks in advance to Kelly and Gavin for whatever you’ll be doing with your time instead—no doubt we’ll benefit as readers from whatever it is. Thanks to Ellen for salving our heartache with something to look forward to.

  93. Rochita Loenen-Ruiz on January 13th, 2009 4:42 pm

    Very sad to read about this. I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories in this collection, and was particularly proud when Dean’s story was included in the seventeenth annual.

    Thanks to Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant for picking all those amazing stories. Here’s to the hope that somehow the series will rise again in the near future.

  94. Tziedel on January 13th, 2009 5:06 pm

    I can only add that I agree with what everyone has been saying about such a horrible loss to readers – all the wonderful writers and the community. This truly is a awful day.

  95. P.S.Gifford on January 13th, 2009 5:35 pm


  96. lcrw on January 13th, 2009 6:15 pm

    Dear PS, I agree.

  97. Jerome Stueart on January 13th, 2009 6:16 pm

    Thanks to everyone who worked on the anthology for so long! It remains a celebration and good archive of the best in Fantasy and Horror for 21 years. I look forward to the new incarnations when they get incarnated.

  98. hng23 on January 13th, 2009 6:21 pm

    What PS said.

  99. Michael Bailey on January 13th, 2009 6:26 pm

    What everyone else said. This sucks.

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  101. Aimee Payne on January 13th, 2009 9:35 pm

    This is terrible. By my count, I have been buying YBF&H for about 15 years. I have discovered so many of my favorite writers by reading it. It has always been the one Year’s Best I don’t miss.

  102. Eileen Gunn on January 14th, 2009 1:45 am

    Ellen, Terri, Gavin, and Kelly, this is such a shame. However, it is a wonderful body of work to have created — and *work* is the operative term here — and that work remains. The existing collections will continue to entrance readers and inspire writers.

  103. Terry on January 14th, 2009 2:41 am

    I have a complete collection of this anthology, and have always loved it best of all the “bests.” This news saddens me enormously. I am so sorry to hear it.

  104. will shetterly on January 14th, 2009 4:30 am

    It was a great run!

  105. Terri Windling on January 14th, 2009 6:02 am

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words about the series.

    I’ve posted a few thoughts about it’s end over on my studio blog, if anyone is interested: (Jan. 14th entry)

  106. Andy Duncan on January 14th, 2009 9:38 am

    I am sorry to hear this as a reader, because the volumes have introduced me to so many writers, stories and subgenres I’d have missed otherwise, and shown me unexpected connections even among the familiar.

    I am sorry to hear this as a teacher, because the latest YBF&H has been at the center of all the 21st-century fantasy seminars I have taught at the Honors College of the University of Alabama.

    I am most of all sorry to hear this as a writer, because the volume has been an extraordinary influence on my own work, as it has been on the work of a generation of fantasists. As a student at Clarion West 1994, I spent an afternoon in and out of secondhand bookshops, methodically collecting volumes of the YBF&H because I knew they had much to teach me. They did, and they do. And to have a story included in the volume has been, for me, an honor equal to any the field has to offer, a source of extraordinary pride, a summit to aspire to.

    I look forward to all the projects still to come from all concerned, and I salute everyone involved in this astonishing run of volumes — especially Ellen, Terri, Gavin, Kelly, Tom Canty and Jim Frenkel, whose initial suggestion that Datlow and Windling work together has to be right up there with the initial idea to apply jelly to peanut butter (or vice versa).

  107. Nancy Greene on January 14th, 2009 9:47 am

    This is such sad new. I hope that there will be other anthologies from you and Kelly, though (keeping fingers crossed for Ellen’s), and I wish you guys great success. YBFH was a wonderful anthology series, the work put into it really came through.

    Here’s to hoping for better news in the future!

  108. Peggy Hailey on January 14th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Let me join in the chorus of “This sucks!” These anthologies, and especially the year-end round-up essays, were a font of exciting new writers to watch. Thanks to all involved for their years of hard work.

  109. Richard Parks on January 14th, 2009 12:22 pm

    It’s hard to imagine a year without a YBF&H volume. This is just so wrong.

  110. lcrw on January 14th, 2009 12:28 pm

    Terri, that was a lovely post and the pictures of you & Ellen, Jim, and Tom’s art are great.

    Andy, as ever, you get the prize for putting it best. The series was Jim’s genius idea and he did all the behind-the-scenes work for 22 years, so he deserves many kudos. Maybe a Hugo?

    Peggy! Hello! Are you still working at a bookshop?

  111. Linda Addison on January 14th, 2009 1:10 pm

    I’m also saddened to hear about this going away; one of the biggest moments of my writing career was my first listing in the Honorable Mention section. Gerard has all the years and is a major reason I’ll never leave him 😉

    I am happy to hear of the possibility of the new endeavor for Ellen.

    Zillion thanks to all involved in the creation of YBHF over the years.

  112. Peggy Hailey on January 14th, 2009 1:35 pm

    Howdy back at you!

    No, sadly, I’m not working in books. I was laid off from Book People back in April, and I’m currently working for a company that maintains a database of oilfield leases in Texas and makes GIS maps of the same. Not exactly what I thought I’d be doing, but it’s a good company and they’re nice people, and I’m darn lucky to have a job at all.

    I am still working for RevolutionSF, though.

  113. the demise of a familiar volume « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle on January 14th, 2009 1:58 pm

    […] Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror” is no more – 2008 was the last year.  no explanation is given, though one can’t help but suspect […]

  114. Gail de Vos on January 14th, 2009 2:19 pm

    This news chills my soul. Not only do I look forward to a new volume, and regularly revisit the older ones, each one has proven to be a backbone to much of my research and writing of my own reference materials. While I also read other anthologies, this series by far was the one that I collected, coveted and will miss dreadfully.

  115. Jeannine Hall Gailey on January 14th, 2009 3:20 pm

    So sorry to hear about this. Loved the anthologies, having only discovered them in the last few years, and will miss them! I really appreciated that the editors of TYBFH tried to include poettry as well. Yay, you guys! Boo, end of the series!

  116. E. J. Fischer on January 14th, 2009 4:03 pm

    Very unhappy news. I had picked up my first volume of this series this past summer, and I am saddened that it will be the last.

  117. Jerome Stueart on January 14th, 2009 8:34 pm

    I wonder if St. Martin’s will issue the set of 21 like publishers do for Harry Potter? Or like the set of MasterPlots. Would be wild, yes?

  118. Ellen Datlow on January 14th, 2009 8:36 pm

    Very unlikely. Not that I’m bitter or anything, but I more easily see them remainder whatever’s left in their inventory.

  119. Jerome Stueart on January 14th, 2009 9:03 pm

    Ah, maybe a CD rom. National Geographic did that. Digital copies, though, might take a while to collect, and a lot of new contracts to folks. Sorry, just tossing around ideas. Trying to cope by creating an afterlife for the series…sort of a Spiritual Bereavement of Lost Anthologies.

  120. Cherrisse Cabañes on January 14th, 2009 9:38 pm

    I am so heartbroken to hear this! I’ve looked forward to the collection every year and am still in search of earlier volumes. The books are always a delight to read, a true YEAR’S BEST! The editors have done an excellent job of finding brilliant pieces from the genre. It’s such sad news that the series will no longer be continued. However, I hope that some incarnation of it does come up in the near future!

  121. cecil on January 14th, 2009 9:59 pm

    so sorry to hear it gavin and kelly. I am looking forward to the recommendations that you willdole out in the next few months. hope you are well.

  122. Diana Tixier Herald on January 14th, 2009 10:35 pm

    I am devastated to hear it. I have depended on it to keep me current with the year’s best and will definitely miss it. Best wishes on your future projects.

  123. LaShawn on January 15th, 2009 12:13 am

    Oh no! Where am I going aspire to get into now?

    I loved the stories. They were so imaginative. And I was especially thrilled when you started including anime/manga reviews. Thank you for a wonderful anthology–I hope you all will collaborate on another one.

  124. The Passing of a Great Anthology; No more Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror « The Cafe in the Woods on January 15th, 2009 12:50 am

    […] Well, today, we got the news that this great anthology is no more. You can find news about it at the Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet’s Blog, and at Terry Windling’s […]

  125. Kathryn Cramer on January 15th, 2009 10:51 am

    Since I seem to have started more of a rumor than I intended by my previous comment, I should clarify: The Hartwell/Cramer Year’s Best Fantasy to be published in 2009 covering the year 2008 is under contract to Details to be announced by the publisher.

  126. Year’s Best No More « Big Red Pen on January 15th, 2009 11:56 am

    […] Best No More Jump to Comments The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror will be ceasing publication as of this […]

  127. Monica McAbee on January 15th, 2009 12:38 pm

    Sigh. I’m one of those librarians who bought copies of the anthology year after year for the few readers in our county who appreciate the genre. Wish there were more… Best of luck in all current and future endeavors.

  128. Mark Rigney on January 15th, 2009 11:20 pm

    So what mountain do we writers now aspire to? In a pond as disparate as SF, F and H, no other volume brought the strands together so they could be traced, tracked, absorbed to the fullest. No magazine, no matter how important or central, is positioned to fill the void left by the passing of this series. We are left with flotsam and jetsam, much of it good, some of it great, but no central repository. What’s next, firing the libraries?
    Sigh. There was only one book ever, in my life, that I made sure to buy annually, and now it’s gone. All that remains are this amazing thread of benedictions…

  129. Bob Garcia on January 17th, 2009 1:11 am

    What a terrible shame. YBFH was the best thing that ever happened to the field. Through its Summations, we have a record of two decades of fantasy and horror achievements. It was in those pages we gained perspective on how all the myriad aspects of the field were progressing; much more so than in any trade publication. Plus the fiction was astounding, and if you read through the Honorable Mentions each year you found many new, exciting authors. (And I assure you that the fact it was cancelled has nothing to do with the fact that I finally found a hardcover copy of the first book to complete my collection.) I just wanted to say thanks to everyone. You did an unbelievably great job.

  130. Ellen Datlow on January 17th, 2009 1:26 am

    Thank you, Bob. You know I’ve been posting the early summaries in horror on my website

    I’ve posted choice bits of 1987 and 1988 and would post the rest between 89-1994 if anyone volunteered to scan and proofread or otherwise get me word docs of them. I only started keeping them on disk later.

  131. Writing Journal » In which the Writer reveals he’s a slave for book memes on January 17th, 2009 2:51 pm

    […] The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror has been cancelled […]

  132. Uždaryta “The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror” apsakymų rinkinių serija | on January 18th, 2009 1:22 pm

    […] liūdna žinia mus pasėkė iš už Atlanto. Leidykla “St. Martin’s” daugiau nebeleis legendinės rinkinių serijos “The Year`s Best Fantasy and Horror”. Paskutinis, 21-asis […]

  133. Joe Monti on January 20th, 2009 11:23 am

    Oh! Another bit of sad news….
    Back when I was a dumb freshman, trying to find a literature that really spoke to me, two significant things happened within a week of each other while I was working at my local bookstore, B. Dalton #321 in Yonkers, NY: I brought home the Fourth Annual collection ARC and began to devour it. Then a couple, who were regulars, came in to excitedly buy OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM by Jonathan Carroll, and I had the opportunity to share how much I loved his short stories in YBF&H.
    While my memory has crystalized around that moment of discovering Carroll, I just pulled YBF&H #4 off the shelf (Yes, I have 4 – 21 here at home.) and I had forgotten the range and depth! Ellen & Delia are there, Crowley, Carter, de Lint, Murakami, Fowler, Cooper, Straub, Millhauser, Shepard and the list goes on. I can’t cannot put enough emphasis on it, for me, this series set me on this crazy publishing course, for life, and has helped me grow in so many ways personally and professionally. So Thanks Ellen, Terri, Jim, Gavin, Kelly & Tom, plus the essayists over the years like Ed Bryant, Charles Vess, etc. As it’s inaugural day I have folks like RFK on my mind, and I recall a quote of his about a ripple of hope, well your combined efforts and the fabulous writers you helped to showcase affected so many, and helped to bring the sometimes disparate worlds of genre and mainstream just that much closer.

  134. Ellen Datlow on January 20th, 2009 7:21 pm

    Thanks Joe.

  135. Punktalk » Blog Archive » Year’s Best, and Moore of Scott on January 21st, 2009 5:05 pm

    […] So…here’s the blog post about THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR: […]

  136. lcrw on January 21st, 2009 5:22 pm

    Joe, it’s great to read something like this and see what real effect the books had.

    Monica, thanks for ordering the book. We love libraries and thank god for them for ordering books like this.

    Sorry for not commenting more. There’s truth and untruth out there on the book’s demise which isn’t worth trying to track down. We’re going to miss it as much as anyone but are looking forward to Ellen’s new project and to see if Jim F. can dream up something else like this.

    On the Punk talk blog above the brothers mention that the artist changed in the last couple of years but actually is was always Tom Canty.

  137. Lyn C. A. Gardner on January 22nd, 2009 1:46 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Sorry for myself–I love these anthologies; they are the high point of my short fiction reading each year–and sorry for the field that things have come to such a pass.

    Since the two of you have already put so much work into the project, is there any chance that Small Beer Press might release the fantasy side, even if only this one year, as a final tribute to the series? I know that you’ve already thought about this & decided not to–I just couldn’t help wishing. I love everything Small Beer has done and with all the support on this thread, maybe you could do it on a subscription basis. Maybe those who haven’t bought every year would spring for the last volume in the series. It’s a shame this should end at any time, but particularly frustrating to know that you’ve already put so much work into it that we’ll never see.

  138. The Always Insightful Insights of Trent Hergenrader » The Catch-Up Post on January 25th, 2009 1:42 pm

    […] that Fantasy & Science Fiction is going from a monthly publication to bi-monthly; then the news that there will be no 2008 edition of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror; and then, on a more local level, the news that Harry Schwartz Bookstores, the oldest chain of […]

  139. TXHermes on January 29th, 2009 5:11 pm

    This is very sad news–this was the only anthology for me, and it introduced me to authors I would have otherwise likely never read…including some who have posted here.

  140. lcrw on January 29th, 2009 8:49 pm

    Lynn, TXHermes, thanks. Sorry, we won’t be putting out a 2009 volume. It is very strange and we will miss it horribly. Maybe some time in the future we can pick it up again, but for the nonce we have to work on other projects.

  141. Stephanie on January 30th, 2009 2:09 am

    I am so sorry to see it go. I have looked forward to it each year and appreciate you introducing me to some of my now favorite authors.

  142. David Nickle on January 31st, 2009 8:27 am

    That’s sad news and a real loss. YBFH has been my one must-read anthology in any given year. Thank you, the three of you (with Ellen) for scouring the anthologies and magazines large and little for such excellent fiction. Come back soon!

  143. Economic doom indeed: Fantasy, SF, and horror publishers and publications scaling back and shutting down « The Teeming Brain on February 4th, 2009 11:01 am

    […] has just been discontinued by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press (see the announcement at There’s no indication of the reason, but it does go with the general trend here. […]

  144. Gordon Hackman on March 2nd, 2009 11:08 pm

    Well, I’m late to the funeral, but I found out the bad news for the first time and I’m seriously bummed. I just discovered this series about 7 years ago and since then I’ve managed to collect every volume. I’m sorry to hear there will be no more. I can’t think of anywhere else where one can find such a broad and unique variety of quality fantasy and horror writing, not to mention such a vast amount of useful information and recommendations collected all in one convenient source. I will be watching for other projects from everyone involved or hoping for some kind of resurrection of the series eventually.

  145. lcrw on March 9th, 2009 12:32 pm

    Stephanie, David, Gordon, thanks for notes. Ellen has a new anthology series coming from Night Shade starting this year. Kelly and I are sorry to have seen the book go but will be working on other projects this year. Next year? Who knows.

  146. nan fry on April 10th, 2009 8:53 pm

    I am sad to hear this. I’ve enjoyed and admired this series immensely. The poems and stories were enjoyable/provocative/disturbing/wonderful, and the surveys were awesome. Thanks to Terri, Ellen, Gavin and Kelly, and Jim, and everyone who worked on it. I’m grateful for all the work you did and wish you the best in current and future endeavors.

  147. Notes from the Other Side of the World » Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror on June 2nd, 2009 7:24 am

    […] Grant and Kelly Link have announced that there will be no volume of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror published in 2009.   […]

  148. moe on June 3rd, 2009 1:05 pm

    Isn’t there some way to print with a different publisher?

    Or even, dare I say it? Self Publish?

    I think there are enough loyal readers to make it worthwhile, no?

  149. lcrw on June 3rd, 2009 9:11 pm

    Moe, the book is a labor of love for all involved so it great to see Ellen’s Year’s Best Horror is coming out soon from Night Shade Books. As for the fantasy side, we have had to let it go for now due to other demands. We have no fear of self-publishing if the book seems like a good fit with what we do already. We’ll think about it, but there won’t be one for 2009 from us.

  150. Award Season: World Fantasy nominees : Not a journal. on August 4th, 2009 11:22 pm

    […] in his collection, The Baum Plan, picked up another award nomination, as did the last volume of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, and Kelly & Gavin were nominated for Small Beer & Big Mouth (what a […]

  151. AF on September 9th, 2009 9:37 am

    I feel like I just lost a friend! I look forward to my YBF&H every year. I found many of my favorite writers that way and found it was a great way for fantasy enthusiasts to come together.

  152. ami on October 12th, 2009 9:54 pm

    I have nearly all the volumes and finally got impatient for this year so I did some checking. Not expecting to find this. I hate this. There are and aren’t other best ofs out there. This was the oldest, the most respected, the one you bought if you were in the field because it was the field. Hell, the one you bought when you just dreamed of being in field, or just dreamed. Yes, the summaries kept me coming back, even when I was doubtful after Windling left. Yes, the stories were always wonderful, with one or two per volume that I read over and over again. The only story that ever scared me. The story I wanted to write when I grew up. The story that I had to share with friends. Yes, the ‘also recommended’ lists were great places to hunt down more new favorites.
    But the real thing for me was that it meant when times were lean I could just buy one. Now, to get anything close to the depth/breath of story I’d need to buy at least three that I can think of, and will have still given up the summaries. And not a single other antho I can think of carried the weight of a real best of—they’re just collections of stories, rather than an award to aspire towards. I used to give copies as Christmas gifts. There are places to go from here, I’m sure, but they just won’t be home.

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