Synopses & Reviews
IntroductionWelcome to the second volume of the "Year's Best Fantasy, representing the best of 2001. Like last year's volume, this book should give you a convenient reference to what's going on now, to who is writing some of the best fantasy fiction published, and should provide a collection of excellent stories for your reading pleasure. Our general principle for selection: This book is full fantasy -- every story in it is clearly that and not something else. We (Kathryn Cramer and David G. Hartwell) edit the "Year's Best Science Fiction in paperback from Eos as a companion volume to this one -- look for it if you enjoy short science fiction, too.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 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. Also, 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.In 2001, books by the big names were selling better than ever, sliding through the publishing and distribution process perhaps eveneasier than before. Hardcover editions contribute substantially to the support of every fantasy and science fiction publishing line. The trade paperback is now well-established as the safety net of a number of publishers and writers.The year ended with the Christmas of Harry Potter and Tolkien movies (and of new Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind blockbuster fantasy novels), which we hope has given a push to fantasy sales in general during difficult times.The small presses were again a vigorous presence this year. We have a strong short fiction field today because the small presses and semiprofessional magazines and anthologies are printing and circulating a majority of the high quality short stories published in fantasy, science fiction, and horror. The U.S. is the only English language country that still has any professional, large-circulation magazines, though Canada, Australia, and the UK have several excellent magazines. The semi semiprozines of our field mirror the "little magazines" of the mainstream in function, holding to professional editorial standards and publishing the next generation of writers, along with some of the present masters. What a change that is in the U.S., though it has been gradually emerging for more than a decade.The best original anthologies of the year in our opinion were "Starlight 3, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor) and Red Shift edited by Al Sarrantonio (Roc). Of those, the particular excellences of "Starlight were mostly in the realm of fantasy, and the especial pleasures of "Red Shift were mostly in SF. Also of interest is "Fantasmas: Supernatural Stories by Mexican American Writers, edited by Rob Johnson, from Bilingual Press of Tempe Arizona, avolume of reinterpretations of folktales in contemporary settings.We write in January 2002, but the anxious outlines of, the publishing future are becoming clear for the coming year. Fantasy and science fiction publishing as we have always known it is concentrated in nine mass market and hardcover publishing lines (Ace, Bantam, Baen, DAW, Del Rey, Eos, Roc, Tor, -and Warner), and those lines are hardpressed to continue distributing the number of new titles they have been able to in the past. Mass market distributors in general are pressing all publishers to reduce the number of titles and just publish "big books."The last sf and fantasy magazines that are widely distributed ("Analog, Asimov's, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy) are being charged more by the same distributors for distribution because they are not as high-circulation as "The New Yorker or "Playboy (who are also under pressure). So the infield magazines are hard-pressed but are only a special case of the widespread difficulties facing all magazines.In 2001, electronic text failed to live up to the advance publicity (both Random House and Warner closed their etext operations by the end of 2001). Print-on-demand became a very small success. "The Wall Street Journal, in a recent article surveying 2500 titles, quoted the figure of 88 copies as the average sale of a print-on-demand title. Of the several high-paying online short fiction markets announced last year that helped to cushion the loss of print media markets for short fiction, one survives.It was another good year to be reading the magazines, both pro and semiprofessional. It was a strong year for novellas, and there were more than a hundred shorter stories in consideration,from which we made our final selection. So we repeat, for readers new to this series, the usual disclaimer: This selection of stories represents the best that was published during the year 2001.We try to represent the varieties of tones and voices and attitudes that keep the genre vigorous and responsive to the changing realities out of which it emerges. This is a book about what's going on now in fantasy. The stories that follow show, and the story notes point out, the strengths of the evolving genre in the year 2001.David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer
Undreamed-Of Wonders From The Farthest Reaches Of Imagination
In this second volume of the previous year's finest short fantastic fiction, acclaimed editor and anthologist David G. Hartwell showcases new works by stellar literary artists -- acknowledged masters of the genre and exceptionally talented newcomers alike. Astonishing worlds come alive in these pages -- realms of strange creatures and remarkable sorceries, as well as twisted shadow versions of our inhabited earthly plain. A bold and breathtaking compendium of tales -- including a new Earthsea story from the incomparable Ursula K. Le Guin -- Years's Best Fantasy 2 is the state-of-the-art of a unique and winning genre, offering unforgettable excursions into new realities wondrous, bizarre, enchanting...and terrifying.
Building on the success of David Hartwell's Years Best SF series (now in its sixth volume), is the second volume of the Years Best Fantasy series, a collection of the best fantasy short stories published in the past year.
Following the popular Year's Best SF series, acclaimed editor David Hartwell collects the very best fantasy short stories of the last year in the Year's Best Fantasy 2, a harvest of shimmering beauty and powerful writing. Established masters rub elbows with rising stars and together they give us a dazzling treasure trove of stories, rich with imagined lands and sharply drawn characters.
Contributors to the first Year's Best Fantasy included New York Times bestselling authors Terry Goodkind and George R. R. Martin, plus acclaimed authors Nicola Griffith, Nalo Hopkinson, Michael Moorcock and more.
About the Author
David G. Hartwell is a senior editor of Tor/Forge Books. His doctorate is in Comparative Medieval Literature. He is the proprietor of Dragon Press, publisher and bookseller, which publishes The New York Review of Science Fiction
, and the president of David G. Hartwell, Inc. He is the author of Age of Wonders
and the editor of many anthologies, including The Dark Descent
, The World Treasury of Science Fiction
, The Hard SF Renaissance
, The Space Opera Renaissance
, and a number of Christmas anthologies, among others. Recently he co-edited his fifteenth annual paperback volume of Year's Best SF
, and co-edited the ninth Year's Best Fantasy
. John Updike, reviewing The World Treasury of Science Fiction
in The New Yorker
, characterized him as a "loving expert." He is on the board of the IAFA, is co-chairman of the board of the World Fantasy Convention, and an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He has won the Eaton Award, the World Fantasy Award, and has been nominated for the Hugo Award forty times to date, winning as Best Editor in 2006, 2008, and 2009.
Kathryn Cramer is a writer and anthologist. She won a World Fantasy Award for best anthology for The Architecture of Fear, co-edited with Peter Pautz; she was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her anthology Walls of Fear. She co-edits anthologies with David G. Hartwell, such as the huge anthologies of hard sf The Ascent of Wonder, The Space Opera Renaissance, and The Hard SF Renaissance, and does the annual Year's Best Fantasy and the Year's Best SF with him. She is an editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction, for which she has been nominated for the Hugo Award seventeen times. Her dark fantasy hypertext, In Small and Large Pieces, was published by Eastgate Systems, Inc. She is employed by Wolfram Research and by L. W. Currey, Inc.