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© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
Editor:  Ernest Lilley
Associate Editor: Sharon Archer

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Aug02 Contents
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Columns:
Editorial License
US Books
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Events/Cons:
CanVention 22 and the Aurora Awards
If It's Tuesday, this must be TOR

Feature Interview:
Ken Macleod

Feature Review: Cosmonaut Keep by Ken Macleod

BBook Reviews
The Alchemists Door
by Lisa Goldstein
Alternate Generals II
ed by Harry Turtledove
Argonaut by Stanley Schmidt
Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks
The Iron Grail by John Woodstock
The Sacred Pool by L. Warren Douglas
The Sky So Big And Black by John Barnes
Spaceland by Rudy Rucker
Straw Men by
Michael Marshall Smith
Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly
To Trade The Stars by Julie E. Czerneda
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Graphic Novel:
Murder Mysteries. Original short story and radio play by Neil Gaiman. Graphic story script and art by P. Craig Russell
Zine: The Journal of Pulse Pounding Narratives

SFMedia:
Film:
Austin Powers: GoldMember

Metropolis (2002) Restoration
& Metropolis Essay
PowerPuff Girls
Reign of Fire
Signs
Simone

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (Year's Best Fantasy and Horror) by Ellen Datlow (Editor), Terri Windling
Griffin Trade Paperback: ISBN 0312290691 August 2002
Review by Ernest Lilley
672 pages List price $19.95  Purchase this book at Amazon.com

Despite the notion that I don't like Horror at all, and Fantasy on on forbearance, this may be the best collection of short fiction I've read this year.

Even if you don't think you like Fantasy and Horror, you owe it to yourself to read this superb collection of stories. Datlow and Windling have selected as wonderful and terrifying a group of tales as you could hope for in their 15th annual collection. In SF I look for ideas that expand my notions of the possible, while in these stories I find feelings that expand my sense of what it is to be alive.

Besides the stories, there is a summation of the year in F&H which is long enough to make a book in itself. Long enough so that I have to wonder just what number "cxxviii" is, but for an overview of the field, especially valuable to those like me, who have a need to know, but lack the time to follow every avenue of the genre, it's invaluable.

The collection leads with its best punch, in the opinion of Terri Windling, who did the Fantasy selections and intros. Anthony Dorr's "The Hunter's Wife" had already appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and garnered an O. Henry Prize and deserves it by gum. I won't tell you about it, not to spoil the pleasure of reading it, except to say that there is a hunter, and a woman, and magic, pulling them together and apart, and it's very worth reading. Oh, and one other…even horrifying thing. The story has no quotation marks, and yet, or perhaps because of it, it all sounds quite normal.

In his last months Marin Sorescu, a celebrated Romainian poet who died of cancer in 1966, wrote "The Cowardly Coffin" which was translated into English just last year. By itself, its delightful, taken in context, it takes on a greater poignancy, if you have not read Sorescu, its a delightful introduction, if you have, a remembrance.

Speaking of ghosts, or not, Steve Rasnic Tem, was surely channeling the great shorth story masters wen he wrote, "In These Final Days of Sales". This wonderful story is about more than the life, or death, of a Emil, a career salesman, though one who never had any real knack for selling, it is about the death of sales itself, the death of dreams really. Buy this story. You really should have a copy...how many can I put you down for?

In June Consadine's "To Dream Of White Horses", the child of an artist offers a homeless street artist the use of an abandoned (and haunted) former home. I've always wanted to be a homeless street artist for some reason, so this tale of fantasy and horror really drew me in. There are other reasons why it snared me, but you'll have to discover them for yourselves.

In "Timmy Gobel's Bug Jar" by Michael Libling, you will find the most incredible things, not all of them pretty, which comes as no surprise, but like the narrator, you may well find them hard to get out of your mind.

Jeffrey Ford, who is a composition teacher, among other things, wrote "The Honeyed Knot" about how teaching composition has reached inside him and how he has been affected by other's stories. He swears his tale is 99.9% true.

Actually he's wrong. All these stories are true, you can tell by the way they strike at your heart. The evens in them may not be real, but in this collection you will find little else but truth.

All in all there are fifty stories in this collection. When I review a large anthology I try to sample the stories, not give readers a blow by blow for each one, but each of these stories cries, me too, just add one more, just one more.

So here are a few more. Charles de Lint's "Trading Harts at the Half Kaffe CafeK is a werewolfe romance, a blind date that turns out lile all blind dates, something other than you thought. Michael Cabon's "Dark God Of Laughter" gives his protagonist, and you, the reader, to wonder "What's a dead clown doing in my woods?" Well, for one thing, he's not laughing on the inside, that's for sure.

The last tale I will speak of is "The Bones of the Earth, from Ursula K. LeGuin, one of my most beloved authors, whether she is writing the fantasy of Earthsea or the Science Fiction of the Ekumen. Here is a story that takes place a bit before the story of Ged, who became the wizard of Earthsea; it is the story of his teacher, or more accurately his teacher's teacher, The Mage of Ri Albi. To those of us who love this storyline, it is a wonderful piece of coming home.

To the rest of the authors I extend my apologies, for every story in here is worth savoring.

Did I mention that I'm not big on fantasy? Except when it's this good.

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CXXVIII = 100+10+10+5+1+1+1 = 128. I think.

Ernest Lilley is Editor and Publisher of SFRevu. He also writes about technology in his publication TechRevu (www.techrevu.com) as well as being a frequent contributor in online and print publications like Byte.com, Digital Camera, Pen Computing and others. He likes station wagons with stick shifts, PDA's with keyboards, and SF with ideas.