The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, I learned a couple of days ago, here, is gone. According to co-editors Kelly Link, Gavin Grant and Ellen Datlow, St. Martin's Press will not be publishing their massive year-end round-up of horror and the fantastic this year, or likely ever again. And we're all poorer for it. For 21 years, the blue-chip anthology has been a reliable guide to the fantastic in miniature; even hard-core genre readers would have missed half or more of the stories that Datlow, Link, Grant and (before those two) Terri Windling dredged up from the stew of literary magazines, anthologies and genre magazines.
On a personal/professional note, this was also home of my hands-down most validating sale. For Volume Eight, Ellen Datlow picked up "The Sloan Men." The story was my fourth-ever short fiction publication, and imagine my wide-eyed wonder at seeing it proximate to a piece by Steven Millhauser, not far from stories by Neil Gaiman and Stephen King and Ray Bradbury and Jonathan Carroll.
So: imagine my personal and professional sadness at seeing this fine anthology go down.
Now go back to your own personal and professional sadness, because the loss of YBFH is really a loss for all of us: for we readers, who'll be deprived of an annual omnibus of excellent fiction pulled from high places and obscure nooks; and for we authors, who've lost a place where, if we sing sweet enough, sometimes we can share the stage with the Roy Orbisons, the Charlie Parkers, of the fantastic.
Happily, Ellen's year-end round up of the horror genre lives on. Night Shade Books has snapped up her services for at least two years of The Best Horror Of The Year, a horror-only anthology. But there is a fantasy-shaped hole in the publishing world - made larger this week by the demise of a primary-source fantasy outlet, the glossy magazine Realms Of Fantasy.
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Feb. 1 addendum: And The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I heard last night, is moving from monthly to bi-monthly publication.