Book Review: Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2006

Year's Best 2006I was a little leery of picking up another anthology of Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, especially after the 2004 stinker I read in October. But when I saw the 2006 collection at the library, I had to pick it up. It’s the most up-to-date version I’ve read.

I was pleased to see that the stories in this book were more palatable and not laden with swear words in nearly every story. There was also a good balance of fantasy and horror. I was also surprised to see that there weren’t many famous authors like Peter Straub or Neil Gaiman in this book: Charles de Lint did an essay on Music in 2005 and China Mieville collaborated with two other people on a story. But I only recognized a couple of authors in this book from previous collections, so I like how this is mostly featuring up and coming authors. Stories that stood out to me most:

The Mushroom Duchess by Deborah Roggie: A fairy tale on a duchess who uses mushrooms to keep her family in line.

Kronia by Elizabeth Hand: beautiful fractured tale that deals with alternate worlds.

Boatman’s Holiday by Jeffrey Ford: Even the Dealer of Death needs to take a vacation

The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai by Geoff Ryman: A folktale set in a mythical Asia

The Ball Room by China Mieville, Emma Bircham and Max Schafer: One of my favorites…after reading this, I think twice about taking my son to any place that have those ball pits. Especially places that shall remained nameless but sell cheap Swedish furniture.

Cruel Sistah by Nisi Shawl: The story I mentioned by an African-American woman in a previous blog post. Creepy. I may be the oldest sister in my family, but at least I haven’t tried to kill my sisters (at least…not to my knowledge…)

My Father’s Mask by Joe Hill: This story, by far, freaked me out the most. He could have taken a more darker, gorier direction with this story about family who goes up to a campsite around Halloween, but the fact he doesn’t is akin to someone holding a finger right above your eye. “Does this bother you? Does it? Does it?” Brrrr….

The Guggenheim Lovers by Isabel Allende: The fact that this followed My Father’s Mask made for a sweet read. After being completely freaked out, it was nice to have something fun and light. Made me want to travel to the Guggenheim myself, see if I can slip in afterhours with my hubby and see if I get transported to a different place, too.

So I had fun with this anthology. It didn’t have me cowering under my bed, sucking my thumb, but it made me believe that one day, maybe I will have a story in that collection. In the meantime, I’ll keep reading the collections. This book gets four masks out of five. And if you happen to be in a Swedish furniture superstore over by the kid’s section, and your older sister (who in fact is your mother) offers to play cards with you in the ball room with a kid wearing a plastic mask…run. Just run.

Edit: I just learned of a website that interviewed Ellen Datlow, who edits the Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies. Very interesting interview. You can find it at the Writer’s Group blog.

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3 Responses

  1. You were at IKEA, weren’t you? WEREn’t you?

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ikea!!! (hard to guess)

    We have had very good luck there.

    Stop.

    Focusing now. That word-Ikea is a 4 letter word that will distract me beyond reason.

    Sounds like a great book–Short stories are nice because you can read a little and come back and have a new one.

    Have a good one, LaShawn (I mentioned you on my blog-how disciplined you are)

    Regards from the southside

  2. Hey–I never heard what happened with the lady you had things in common with (same age kids, etc)

    Well????

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for listing the link to the interview on The Writers’ Block. It was great to do, I hope you and your readers enjoy it!

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