Magic lives in remarkable realms -- and in the short fiction of today's top fantasists. In this fifth breathtaking volume of the year's best flights of the fantastic, award-winning editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer present a dazzling new array of wonders -- stories that break through the time-honored conventions of the genre to carry the reader to astonishing places that only the most ingenious minds could conceive. In the able hands of Neil Gaiman, Kage Baker, Tim Powers, and others, miracles become tangible and true, impossible creatures roam unfettered, and fairy tales are reshaped, sharpened, and freed from the restrictive bonds of childhood. Lose yourself in these pages and in these worlds -- and discover the power, the beauty, the unparalleled enchantment of fantasy at its finest.
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June 14, 2001
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Excerpt from Year's Best Fantasy by Kathryn Cramer
Welcome to the first volume of our new paperback series, the Year's Best Fantasy. We hope that this book will give you a convenient reference to what's going on now, to who is writing some of the best fantasy fiction published, and will provide a collection of excellent stories for your reading pleasure. In this book, and this anthology series, we will use the broadest definition of fantasy (to include wonder stories, adventure fantasy, supernatural fantasy, satirical and humorous fantasy). We believe that the best-written fantasy can stand up in the long run and by any useful literary standard in comparison to fiction published out of category or genre. And furthermore, that out of respect for the genre at its best we ought to stand by genre fantasy and promote it in this book. We have been editing fantasy anthologies together since the 1980s, and each of us separately has won a World Fantasy Award for best anthology. So we feel up to the challenge of doing a Year's Best Fantasy.
What we hope for in a fantasy story is a well-told tale with a memorable image -- a flurry of bloodthirsty leaves, a sleeping beauty on exhibit in the British Museum. We believe that writers publishing their work specifically as fantasy are up to this task, so we set out to find these stories, and we looked for them in the genre anthologies, magazines, and small press pamphlets. Some fine fantasy writers will still be missing. A fair number of the best fantasy writers these days write only novels; or, if they do write short fiction, do so only every few years, and sometimes it is not their best work. We will find the good examples and reprint them when we can.
We found that the good fantasy short fiction this year is notably international. Although all but one of the writers in this book write in English, many of them live and work outside the United States, in Canada, Australia, the British Isles, Yugoslavia. Australia is still full of energy a year or two after the 1999 Melbourne World Science Fiction Convention. Eidolon and Aurealis are the leading magazines, and Australian fantasy novelists are continuing to break out worldwide, at least in the English language. Canadian SF is still thriving, and Canada is still introducing new world-class fantasy writers to the world stage each year. Interzone has grown into one of the three or four leading SF magazines. Realms of Fantasy and F & SF are its peers. And the best new semi-professional fiction magazine of the year, publishing both fantasy and SF, is Spectrum SF, from Scotland. The World Fantasy Convention is to be held in Montreal, Quebec, in 2001.