Book Anniversary: The Year’s Best Fantasy First Annual Collection

By Cat Eldridge: In honor of Ellen Datlow sharing the cover for Best Horror of the Year, Volume Twelve, let’s note that the first volume in what would be the long-running award-winning Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology series was published in August of 1988. It wasn’t called that but was titled The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection. Cover art here as it was for all twenty-one volumes is by Tom Canty.  It was edited by her and Terri Windling as it would be for the next sixteen years until Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link would take over for Windling for the last five volumes. 

As a reviewer would note of a later volume, “…the essays at the beginning are fascinating: Summation of Fantasy 1993 by Windling; Summation of Horror 1993 by Datlow; Comics by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull; Horror and Fantasy in the Media by Edward Bryant.” I don’t remember if the first volume had the summations but I’ll ask Ellen. (Some hours later and after a long email conversation of fiction, living spaces and dark chocolate.) Yes, she says that they’ve always had the summations. 

Oh, the authors you ask. Just look at the cover below. It’s a fair representation of the writers found in the series but I couldn’t summarize the diversity of those whose writings are here as Datlow and Windling over their sixteen volumes would find writers and  fiction of an amazing breadth, often delving into literary publications for these works  that were delightfully obscure. Harlan Ellison and Jane Yolen are here, but so are Natalie Babbit, author of Tuck Everlasting, and Kathryn Ptacek, later winner of two Stokers, who I’d never heard at that point but who turned out to be delightful writers. Did I mention there’s a Alan Moore Liavek novella here?

The first volume won a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology and the series would eventually win a total of three World Fantasy Awards and a Stoker. You won’t find them being offered up in digital form as the packager has said in an email to me when I asked if that was planned that they didn’t secure digital rights when the original author contracts were done. 

A hallowed series was off to a very fine start. If you’ve not read it, the trade paper edition can be had rather reasonably.

1 thought on “Book Anniversary: The Year’s Best Fantasy First Annual Collection

  1. Ed Bryant’s column was always interesting and fun, but he had the odd habit of only occasionally keeping production companies straight from broadcast networks–he consistently referred to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as a Fox series, as opposed to the presentation of the WB network and then UPN, at least in the US. While with most other series, he would attribute them to their broadcast homes, or equivalent.

    That bit of trivia didn’t ever keep the volumes from being excellent surveys of the fantasy and horror fields, and I miss them, even if Ellen’s current series allows her an excellent Whole Book to devoted to horror each year. Missing Gardner Dozois’s and Ed Gorman’s companion BOTYs from the Tor nexus is a sadder thought, of course.

    from the LOCUS INDEX:
    xiii · Summation 1987: Fantasy · Terri Windling · ar
    xx · Summation 1987: Horror · Ellen Datlow · ar
    xxix · Horror and Fantasy on the Screen · Edward Bryant · ar
    xxxiv · Obituaries · Misc. · bg
    1 · Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight · Ursula K. Le Guin · nv Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, Capra Press, 1987
    26 · A World Without Toys [“The House Under the Street”] · T. M. Wright · ss Upstate Oct 26 ’86
    35 · DX · Joe W. Haldeman · pm In the Field of Fire, ed. Jeanne Van Buren Dann & Jack M. Dann, Tor, 1987
    43 · Friend’s Best Man · Jonathan Carroll · ss F&SF Jan ’87
    59 · The Snow Apples · Gwyneth Jones · ss Tales from the Forbidden Planet, ed. Roz Kaveney, Titan, 1987
    71 · Ever After · Susan Palwick · nv IASFM Nov ’87
    91 · My Name Is Dolly · William F. Nolan · ss Whispers VI, ed. Stuart David Schiff, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1987
    95 · The Moon’s Revenge · Joan Aiken · ss London: Cape, 1987
    105 · Author’s Notes · Edward Bryant · ss Night Visions 4, ed. Anon., Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1987
    112 · Lake George in High August · John Robert Bensink · ss Masques #2, ed. J. N. Williamson, 1987
    117 · Csucskari [from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars] · Steven Brust · ex New York: Ace, 1987
    135 · The Other Side · Ramsey Campbell · ss World Fantasy Convention Program Book, 1986; story based on a J.K. Potter illustration.
    146 · Pamela’s Get · David J. Schow · nv Twilight Zone Aug ’87
    168 · Voices in the Wind · Elizabeth S. Helfman · ss Spaceships & Spells, ed. Jane Yolen, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, Harper & Row, 1987
    176 · Once Upon a Time, She Said · Jane Yolen · pm National Storyteller Journal Spr ’87
    178 · The Circular Library of Stones · Carol Emshwiller · ss Omni Feb ’87
    187 · Soft Monkey · Harlan Ellison · ss Mystery Scene Reader #1, ed. Ed Gorman, Fedora, 1987
    200 · Fat Face · Michael Shea · nv Axolotl Press: Eugene, OR, 1987
    222 · Uncle Dobbin’s Parrot Fair [Newford] · Charles de Lint · nv IASFM Nov ’87
    244 · The Pear-Shaped Man · George R. R. Martin · nv Omni Oct ’87
    269 · Delta Sly Honey · Lucius Shepard · ss In the Field of Fire, ed. Jeanne Van Buren Dann & Jack M. Dann, Tor, 1987
    285 · Small Heirlooms · M. John Harrison · ss Other Edens, ed. Christopher Evans & Robert Holdstock, London: Unwin, 1987
    296 · The Improper Princess · Patricia C. Wrede · ss Spaceships & Spells, ed. Jane Yolen, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, Harper & Row, 1987
    307 · The Fable of the Farmer and Fox · John Brunner · vi Omni Jun ’87
    310 · Haunted · Joyce Carol Oates · nv The Architecture of Fear, ed. Kathryn Cramer & Peter D. Pautz, Arbor House, 1987
    327 · Dead Possums · Kathryn Ptacek · ss Doom City, ed. Charles L. Grant, Tor, 1987
    338 · Pictures Made of Stones · Lucius Shepard · pm Omni Sep ’87
    348 · Splatter: A Cautionary Tale · Douglas E. Winter · ss Masques #2, ed. J. N. Williamson, 1987
    357 · Gentlemen · John M. Skipp & Craig Spector · nv The Architecture of Fear, ed. Kathryn Cramer & Peter D. Pautz, Arbor House, 1987
    380 · Demon Luck [Ithkar] · Craig Shaw Gardner · ss Magic in Ithkar #4, ed. Andre Norton & Robert Adams, Tor, 1987
    389 · Words of Power · Jane Yolen · ss Visions, Delacorte, 1987
    401 · Jamie’s Grave · Lisa Tuttle · ss Shadows #10, ed. Charles L. Grant, Doubleday, 1987
    415 · The Maid on the Shore · Delia Sherman · ss F&SF Oct ’87
    428 · Halley’s Passing · Michael McDowell · ss Twilight Zone Jun ’87
    443 · White Trains · Lucius Shepard · pm Night Cry Spr ’87
    449 · Simple Sentences · Natalie Babbitt · ss The Devil’s Other Scrapbook, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1987
    453 · A Hypothetical Lizard [Liavek] · Alan Moore · nv Liavek: Wizard’s Row, ed. Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, Ace, 1987
    488 · Honorable Mentions: 1987 · Misc. · bi

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