The Passing of a Great Anthology; No more Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror

In the past, I’ve done reviews for the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror that you can find on this site. 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 blog.

In a nutshell, St Martin’s Press, the anthology’s publisher, has decided not to publish a 2009 edition. That means that 21 years of the Year’s Best anthology books, displaying a broad, colorful array of fantasy and horror stories from all walks of life, is at an end.

This makes me incredibly sad.

I’ve been reading posts as of late on how the fiction world appears to be shrinking, that people read less nowadays, preferring to play video games and watch TV rather than pick up a book. For the most part, I’ve always felt that isn’t the case; if anything, people are reading more, what with networking sites like Facebook and blogs and whatnot.

But when news like this hits me, I can’t help but wonder if fiction truly is drifting away.

Maybe it’s not that the fiction world is going way. Maybe it’s just that it’s changing shape from the tangible world of the printed page to the less-substantial, more fluid media of the online document. And as gadgets like the Kindle takes off, how long will it be before all books are downloaded rather than bought?

What does that mean for book publishers? For popular writers? For writing standards?

The Year’s Best Anthology was a standard for me. Everytime I picked up a book, I read the stories and thought to myself, one day, I’ll get a story in this book. It pushed me, and still does, to write my best. I studied the stories, picked them apart, wondered what made them included in the book. But most of all, I enjoyed them. I was awed by them. While some stories I could have done without (I still think back to that one story about the Calico cat, which makes me want to curl up in a little ball), still, there were some stories that made me drop my jaw in awe.

I know, I know. There are other anthologies out there. Heck, I’ve turned most of my energies to Writer’s of the Future. But Year’s Best was the first anthology that got me daring to dream of fiction in the first place. What will be my standard now? Where would I go?

Then again, maybe it’s all the recession’s fault. Yeah, that’s it. Stupid recession.

To all the editors of Year’s Best: Ellen Datlow, Terry Windling, Kelly Link, and Gavin Grant. Thank you for inspiring this lowly writer to write. The stories you included were truly a marvel to behold. Here’s to hoping you’ll find all new ventures that will bless you greatly.

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you for your kind words about the series.

  2. Oh, this news truly makes me sad. I just discovered this series last year and have been reading through it avidly. It is (was, sigh) the best and most consistent anthology out there and I’m very disappointed it will no longer be published. I’ve never heard of Writers of the Future, but since you say you’ve turned your energies toward that, and you show excellent discernment considering your love for Year’s Best, I’ll check it out. :)

  3. Oh, I see that Writers of the Future was a contest you were in! Well, I hope you won! Now it’s back to looking for those excellent anthologies…

    • Haven’t won yet…but still working on it.

      As for the Year’s Best Fantasy, I know that Ellen Datlow is doing a “Best Horror of the Year” anthology. I hear that’s wonderful. She also is doing an anthology for cats…a nice dark anthology. Have to check it out.

      Also, if you want a place for all three genres (SF, Fantasy & Horror), I would suggest the Escape Artists Podcasts: Escape Pod for SF, Psuedopod for horror, and Podcastle for fantasy. It’s an awesome fix for listening to great stories. (Hmm…I’ll have to do a post on that…long overdue for one.)

      • Thank you for the heads’ up on Ellen Datlow’s new anthology, as well as the info about the podcasts; both of those sound fantastic! Good luck on the contest.

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