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Fantasy: The Best Of The Year 2006
Written by Mike Noel   
Saturday, 19 January 2008

Fantasy: the best of the year 2006When I read anthologies, such as this one, it is my intention to get broad exposure to different authors in the genre.  I fully expect to like some and dislike some.  In fact, it seems I end up disliking more than I like.  But there is always the hope of finding at least one gem in the pile.  In all of this I assume that the genre in the title is the genre I'm looking for.  In this case, with a title like "Fantasy" I was expecting a couple dozen short stories in the fantasy genre.   Silly me. Instead I got to read two vampire stories, a couple ghost stories, several science-fiction stories, and a supernatural thriller.  Hardly what I would expect for "fantasy".

I understand that oftentimes genre anthologies are trying to expand the boundaries of the genre. They are trying to expose readers who are otherwise narrow in their scope to something that may be interesting.  That is also a part of the reason I read them.  I want to find out about other stuff that's out there.

But this book was beyond disappointing.  Of the 19 stories in the collection less than 5 were anything close to fantasy.  That's not surprising when you look at the authors.  The short biographical sketches of the authors at the end of the book revealed that most of them were science fiction and horror authors.

If you alter the definition of "fantasy" to mean "anything strange that can't be explained by science" then I guess they all qualify.  That, of course, is too broad of a definition to be useful.  But it seems that is what the editor was going for.

Reading this wasn't a total loss though.  I did find out about Peter Beagle.  His story was interesting enough that I picked up the prequel book from the library.  I am looking forward to reading that.  I also got a pretty good perspective on what some of the other authors are like so I know what to expect if I ever read stuff by them.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 January 2008 )