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The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 13

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Contents: * "Introduction" (Arthur W. Saha) * "Beauty Is the Beast" (Tanith Lee) * "Something in the Blood" (Richard L. Purtill) * "Pièce de Résistance" (Judith Tarr) * "Long, Long Ago" (R. Chetwynd-Hayes) * "The Old Man and the Cherry Tree" (Kevin J. Anderson) * "Phone Repairs" (Nancy Kress) * "The Tale and Its Master" (Michael Rutherford) * "Sanctuary" (Kim Antieau) * "T Contents: * "Introduction" (Arthur W. Saha) * "Beauty Is the Beast" (Tanith Lee) * "Something in the Blood" (Richard L. Purtill) * "Pièce de Résistance" (Judith Tarr) * "Long, Long Ago" (R. Chetwynd-Hayes) * "The Old Man and the Cherry Tree" (Kevin J. Anderson) * "Phone Repairs" (Nancy Kress) * "The Tale and Its Master" (Michael Rutherford) * "Sanctuary" (Kim Antieau) * "The Uncorking of Uncle Finn" (Jane Yolen) * "A Place to Stay for a Little While" (Jim Aikin) * "The Boy Who Plaited Manes" (Nancy Springer)


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Contents: * "Introduction" (Arthur W. Saha) * "Beauty Is the Beast" (Tanith Lee) * "Something in the Blood" (Richard L. Purtill) * "Pièce de Résistance" (Judith Tarr) * "Long, Long Ago" (R. Chetwynd-Hayes) * "The Old Man and the Cherry Tree" (Kevin J. Anderson) * "Phone Repairs" (Nancy Kress) * "The Tale and Its Master" (Michael Rutherford) * "Sanctuary" (Kim Antieau) * "T Contents: * "Introduction" (Arthur W. Saha) * "Beauty Is the Beast" (Tanith Lee) * "Something in the Blood" (Richard L. Purtill) * "Pièce de Résistance" (Judith Tarr) * "Long, Long Ago" (R. Chetwynd-Hayes) * "The Old Man and the Cherry Tree" (Kevin J. Anderson) * "Phone Repairs" (Nancy Kress) * "The Tale and Its Master" (Michael Rutherford) * "Sanctuary" (Kim Antieau) * "The Uncorking of Uncle Finn" (Jane Yolen) * "A Place to Stay for a Little While" (Jim Aikin) * "The Boy Who Plaited Manes" (Nancy Springer)

30 review for The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 13

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Drakich

    After reading this collection I am left one of three possible conclusions. Either A) there weren't any top fantasy shorts in 1986 (unlikely), B) the editor has terrible taste when selecting what was to be in the collection (possible) or the publisher didn't want to pay any royalties to the authors to attract quality shorts (also possible). Considering neither the Hugo or Nebula winner for that year made the list and only one nominee for those awards is here (THE BOY WHO PLAITED MANES) It is high After reading this collection I am left one of three possible conclusions. Either A) there weren't any top fantasy shorts in 1986 (unlikely), B) the editor has terrible taste when selecting what was to be in the collection (possible) or the publisher didn't want to pay any royalties to the authors to attract quality shorts (also possible). Considering neither the Hugo or Nebula winner for that year made the list and only one nominee for those awards is here (THE BOY WHO PLAITED MANES) It is highly doubtful this collection represents the year's best fantasy stories. Below is a quick review of each story with an average rating by me of 2.4. Simply abysmal. Rounding to the nearest digit, that gives this book a rating of 2, but because there isn't, in my mind, a single 5 star, and way too many at 2 stars or less. I am hard pressed to even give this book a 2 star rating. Let's say it's given with some reservations. An important thing to note is the work of the editor. It is to be STRICTLY AVOIDED. The editor has taken to writing an intro to every story with a paragraph in italics at the start of each. Whatever you do - do not read this intro. The penchant of the editor to give far too many details and spoil the story is rampant. More than once it ruined the read as I could foretell the ending because of the intro. BEAUTY IS THE BEAST by Tanith Lee. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this story takes that trope to the extreme. A beautiful woman sets out to destroy an ultimate evil. Filled with cliche sword and sorcery fantasy this starter of the collection was a meh. 3 stars SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD by Richard L. Purtill. A straight up vampire tale. For me, vampire stuff is either urban fantasy or supernatural and doesn't fit the mold of main stream fantasy. Just saying. How does love bridge a vampire a a woman? Infection, of course. Not exactly an auspicious start to this collection. Less than meh. 2 stars PIECE DE RESISTANCE by Judith Tarr. A somewhat supernatural (another offshoot of fantasy that doesn't meet my personal criteria) piece where a demon, in the guise of a chef, looks to aid a man overthrow his brother as king. An awful lot of story spent describing food and not developing the story. 2 stars LONG, LONG AGO by R. Chetwynd-Hayes, A ghost story, pure and simple. With each short I read in this collection it strays farther and farther from main stream fantasy. A man wakes to find himself on an endless road where he meets a woman. Starts interesting then fades into tedium. 2 stars THE OLD MAN AND THE CHERRY TREE by Kevin J. Anderson. In a short story, there is no time to introduce subplots and this one fails as the subplot of the main character's family history is a waste. A man tends a cherry tree his whole life and when the tree dies he takes drastic magical action. 2 stars PHONE REPAIRS by Nancy Kress, The deeper I go into this collection, the further it gets from what I consider fantasy. here's a story where a man talks on the phone to a family from the near future. Twilight Zone, maybe, fantasy, I don't think so. 1 star THE TALE AND ITS MASTER BY Michael Rutherford. At 48 pages, the longest in the book. An interesting spin on storytellers. At first I was a meh 3 stars, but realized what spoiled it for me was the editor's opening note which essentially gave the story away. 4 stars SANCTUARY by Kim Antieau. The Twilight Zone strikes again. How do these stories rate as fantasy? A woman cannot leave her house for reasons unknown. 2 stars THE UNCORKING OF UNCLE FINN by Jane Yolen. Folklore masquerading as fantasy. The only variation is Uncle Finn is labelled an elf when in all reality he's a leprechaun. High score on the boring meter. 1 star A PLACE TO STAY FOR A LITTLE WHILE by Jim Aikin. A house where misfits with strange and unique skills are drawn to reside. Conflict arises with the newest tenant. I found it entertaining and unique, but the ending had an unfinished business feel to it. 4 stars THE BOY WHO PLAITED MANES by Nancy Springer. A boy with a magical talent enters an estate and plaits horse hair, then the duchesses hair and things lead one to another. Although unique, not a lot of excitement. A meh. 3 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee

    Average rating 4.45 ... I have a physical copy that I'm ready to pass on, for someone else to enjoy (free to a good home). Message me if interested. Individual ratings are below. As usual, I'm using spoiler tags to shorten a long review and keep it tidy; there are no actual spoilers unless otherwise indicated. Beauty is the Beast - 3/5 (view spoiler)[Meh. For the first half of it, I thought it was excellent, but I didn't like the turnaround; it's certainly possible to misinterpret what we see and h Average rating 4.45 ... I have a physical copy that I'm ready to pass on, for someone else to enjoy (free to a good home). Message me if interested. Individual ratings are below. As usual, I'm using spoiler tags to shorten a long review and keep it tidy; there are no actual spoilers unless otherwise indicated. Beauty is the Beast - 3/5 (view spoiler)[Meh. For the first half of it, I thought it was excellent, but I didn't like the turnaround; it's certainly possible to misinterpret what we see and hear, but not THAT much. It just wasn't believable. (hide spoiler)] Something in the Blood - 4.5/5 (view spoiler)[I'm normally not a fan of vampire stories, but this one was really good! (hide spoiler)] Piece de Resistance - 4.5/5 (view spoiler)[There are stories of magic, and there are stories of magic. I wish we had different words for them, because they are vastly different things. I love the folktale-type stuff, or tales in the style of the Neverending Story, like this one. I think they're just much more rich in imagination and wonder. (hide spoiler)] Long, long ago - 5/5 !!! (view spoiler)[This story is VERY enjoyable, and at times hilarious! When I got to the part where it says, "Both of you have been seen in this house and one manifested his or her presence in a most...eh...striking way." I closed the book and laughed for half a minute. I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Thank you, R. Chetwynd-Hayes. (I'm sorry, bookfriends, I know it won't make sense out of context, but if you read the whole story, it's hilarious.) (hide spoiler)] The Old Man and the Cherry Tree - 5/5 (view spoiler)[An interesting tale, and well told. (hide spoiler)] Phone Repairs - 3.5/5 (view spoiler)[Interesting premise, and well written, but the main character did not go through any change or development, so it felt kind of pointless in the end. (hide spoiler)] The Tale and Its Master - 3.5/5 (view spoiler)[The story itself is wonderful, but the writing style is annoying. Adjectives are overused, and the author uses a lot of long or unusual words which made me feel like he was poring over a thesaurus trying to fit in as many big words as possible. The result is rather awkward. --Johan quietly closed the door hung his son's cloak on the pegs in the hallway, wondered at the preternatural effulgence of his son's voice. ... As the first meteors sang down in their lucent cat scratches, Remus stood on a high mound at the end of the valley and threw the flash and splendor of his voice out over the breath-hitched thousands who sat on the dark grass giving thanks for the falling stars. Throughout the lives of all who heard him that night, Remus' memory and the refraction of his words were bound forever to the heavent-sent wash of the Fire-Fall, that most joyful and beauteous of annual occasions, the divine shower of stars. Small matter that some were trampled in the rush of ecstatic pilgrims who surged up to touch this singer whose voice itself mirrored the prodigious sweep of the night's sidereal pageantry. (hide spoiler)] Sanctuary - 5/5 (view spoiler)[Somewhat sad, but a wonderful story. The writing is skilled and pleasant to read. (hide spoiler)] The Uncorking of Uncle Finn - 5/5 (view spoiler)[Highly amusing! Also, I like the author's way with words. (hide spoiler)] A Place to Stay for a Little While - 5/5 (view spoiler)[Sad but good. I liked Cynthia and all her strange tenants. (hide spoiler)] The Boy Who Plated Manes - 5/5 (view spoiler)[What a strange story... The writing is very good! (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This was an easy read. I have read some of these stories before in other publications, and they were some of the best published in 1986. I especially liked The Boy Who Plaited Manes and A Place to Stay for a Little White.

  4. 5 out of 5

    K. Axel

    This is a review-in-progress, and I will add short reviews of all the shortstories within, just as soon as I have read them. I am also eager to find out if the image on the cover is just that... a random image, or if it belongs to one of the stories within. Beauty Is the Beast by Tanith Lee (17 pages) A war has ravaged the south and people are fleeing the City of a Thousand Domes. Some of these outcasts come to the small city of Northfree where they tell stories of demons ruling the city with a fi This is a review-in-progress, and I will add short reviews of all the shortstories within, just as soon as I have read them. I am also eager to find out if the image on the cover is just that... a random image, or if it belongs to one of the stories within. Beauty Is the Beast by Tanith Lee (17 pages) A war has ravaged the south and people are fleeing the City of a Thousand Domes. Some of these outcasts come to the small city of Northfree where they tell stories of demons ruling the city with a fierce grip. A woman takes on the task of see one of these demons for herself, and possible kill him. Classic Tanith Lee. It paints an epic tale with few words, taking us right into the heart of the story within few pages. Sadly, the ending was already revealed in the small bit that introduced the story, which almost ruined the story for me. Almost. (4 stars) Something In the Blood by Richard L. Purtill (16 pages) A man meets a woman at a bar on the island of Santorini. The start talking, about different things, but when the subject turns to wine, the man invites the girl to go home with him, and check out his winery. They both seem to be hiding something. I might as well spoil that this is a vampire story, and if you have the book, its not really a spoiler as it is revealed in the introduction of the story. I would call this a solid read for anyone not interested in vampires, mostly because it takes a whole different approach to the subject, and is about so much more than just... vampires. (3 stars) Piece de Resistance by Judith Tarr (23 pages) This is the story of how an old Master Cook was challenged to a duel. It involves the King of Jerusalem, a Mouse, a Scheme and of course... the Piece de Resistance. This story was not written in the mosr clear language, and I would have enjoyed getting more involved in the actual duel of the master cooks. Overall, an ok read, but not one I would go back to any time soon. (2 stars) Long, Long Ago by R. Chetwynd-Hayes (26 pages) A man is walking the Great Road. He has died... is dead. The Great Road doesn't offer much, except walking and the occasional companion. One day he meets another person who remembers her name, Movita. They start to investigate the surroundings of the Great Road and find that there are more to death than just... walking. This story had a good start and I had great expectations. Unfortunately, the story went in the complete opposite direction than what I was hoping, and ended up being quite...mediocre and boring. (2 stars) The Old Man and the Cherry Tree by Kevin J. Anderson (8 pages) This is a story set in the orient, a story about a child is imprisoned in a monestary, to avoid a fate much more cruel. At the monestary he becomes a gardener and start to tend the cherry tree, the most wonderful cherry tree in the entire world, until one day... the tree dies. I am not a big fan of tales from the orient, but I must admit that there was something to this story that kept me reading. And if nothing else, the ending was a very positive surprise. (2.5 stars) Phone Repairs by Nancy Kress (15 pages) One day the phone rings at the Potter Residence, but it is just someone who dialed wrong... or is it? Whatever it is, that is also the very day when the Life of Dave Potter start to take a serious detour. A weird story, and not necessarily in a good way. It has a nice idea, but was very messy and I am not even sure the summary above is a... good one. (1 star) The Tale and Its Master by Michael Rutherford (48 pages) A young bard, Remus, is about to go into the world looking for that perfect story that no one else has heard before. He doesn't have to go far, before he meets someone who has a story to tell though, a story about dragons and a Dragon Lord called Kazan. Alright, that all sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, this must be one of the most horrible stories I've read in a good while. The characters are so two-dimensional and the authors throws names and events around so casual that you would think he was a 6th grade student setting out on his first writing endeavor. As I write this, I am not even done reading the bloody story, but I can tell you, I won't be able to remember much of it. Oh, and I think I located the story that the cover tries to depict. Such a shame, the cover is so awesome. (0 stars) Sanctuary by Kim Antieau (13 pages) A woman lives within a house. She never goes out. Never. Some people say that she fears open spaces. They even give it a name. Agoraphobia. But maybe the truth isn't as simple as all that. After the worst story in the anthology... comes the best. This is a powerful story that took my breath away. In fact, I am still trying to recover from the ending. Not surprising, just... powerful. (5 stars) The Uncorking of Uncle Finn by Jane Yolen (8 pages) A war between an abbot and an elf takes a turn for the worse and nearly becomes fatal for one of them. A sweet little story that isn't going to harm anyone. Definitely worth 20 minutes of your time. (3 stars) A Place to Stay For a Little While by Jim Aiken (35 pages) This is the story of a small house with a bunch of very unlikely... creatures. They each have their quirks, to say the least, but one day a new person shows up on the porch, a man named Steven Raleigh. He is different too, but for a while he actually helps out... using his quirks for the good of the house. Awesome story with a lot of heart, but also with a foreboding darkness. This actually reminded me of the wonderful prose of James P. Blaylock, and could easily have been made into a novel. Highly Recommended! (5 stars) The Boy Who Plaited Manes by Nancy Springer (16 pages) A boy arrive at the manor of Lord Robley, a boy with a very special gift. He might be a mute, but he has been taught who braid the maines of horses better than anyone, and does so as if it was the only thing in the world that mattered. A small story that started out badly, but ended in a blast. I almost felt as if this could have been written by Robin Hobb and part of the Elderlings world, but then the ending took me by complete surprise. A very nice read, definitely recommendable. (3.5 stars) Last Thoughts... A good mix of stories that takes you from worlds of fantasy, to our world and a world of weird creatures with superpowers. There are a few that I would definitely avoid if I were to read the anthology again, but that might just be my taste... you might love them higher than anything else in this book. That is the power of a good anthology, there is something for everyone. But, the three stories that makes this book worth buying... A Place to Stay For a Little While (sadly it seems like Jim Aikin hasn't written that many books, or I would have have known what to read for the rest of the year), The Sanctuary (you see it coming, but... it still hits you harder than anything in this book) and of course... Beauty Is the Beast (Tanith Lee... do I need to say anything else?).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    A very good short story collection. Highlights were the vampire of Santorini, the depiction of the afterlife as walking a never ending road, the bakeoff against the devil, the lady who couldn’t leave her house, and the home for people with superpowers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven Reiz

    Mixed bag of fantasy short stories written in 1986. They're not the best in any absolute sense, but are probably the best that the editor, Saha, had left on his desk after publishing the good stuff. There are few big name authors in here, some stories are ok, some are pretty bad. All in all I liked reading this collection but could also have done without. Mixed bag of fantasy short stories written in 1986. They're not the best in any absolute sense, but are probably the best that the editor, Saha, had left on his desk after publishing the good stuff. There are few big name authors in here, some stories are ok, some are pretty bad. All in all I liked reading this collection but could also have done without.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Average, I'd say. Some stories were interesting, some were not. There are a couple I'd like to re-read and more I'd like to not. And I found the italicized summary at the beginning of each story unnecessary and a spoiler. But well worth what I paid at the used book store. Average, I'd say. Some stories were interesting, some were not. There are a couple I'd like to re-read and more I'd like to not. And I found the italicized summary at the beginning of each story unnecessary and a spoiler. But well worth what I paid at the used book store.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    The stories within were very hit and miss. I'm not really a huge short story fan, but there have definitely been some I've liked. Here, however, most seemed pointless and left me with a big ? Overall, I found the stories pretty lacking, though it kept me vaguely entertained enough to finish. The stories within were very hit and miss. I'm not really a huge short story fan, but there have definitely been some I've liked. Here, however, most seemed pointless and left me with a big ? Overall, I found the stories pretty lacking, though it kept me vaguely entertained enough to finish.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Raven

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven Delaney

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phil On The Hill

  12. 4 out of 5

    Arthur P

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine Henricks

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maria Park

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mopsey

  17. 5 out of 5

    SmokingMirror

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mcf1nder_sk

  19. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tarja

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chad Eaton

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  23. 5 out of 5

    Netanella

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michel Siskoid Albert

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Naylor

  26. 5 out of 5

    Davide

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eli

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daphne Wigger

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robert Thomas

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