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New Treasures: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013, edited by Paula Guran

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2013-smallYou don’t have time to keep up on all the great work produced in the fantasy and horror fields, year after year.

You may think you do. But trust me, you don’t. There are fantastic new novelists emerging all the time — folks like Laird Barron, Theodora Goss, Genevieve Valentine, and Ekaterina Sedia — and new masters of the short story, like Karen Tidbeck, Ken Liu, Rachel Swirsky, Mike Carey, and many others. How are you going to keep up?

Believe it or not, that’s not a rhetorical question. I have the answer right here: Paula Guran’s indispensable annual collection The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror. It’s like a cheat sheet covering all the exciting new — and established — writers in the genre. Read it every year, and I guarantee you’ll be talking intelligently about the latest literary trends in dark fantasy at your next party. (You’re on your own picking out what to wear, though. Just remember: no white after Labor Day.)

Paula Guran doesn’t provide the lengthy annual summary typical of some Year’s Best collections. Instead she gives the space over to fiction — over 500 pages of the best short stories of 2013, culled from magazines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Postscripts, Cemetery Dance, F&SF, Clarkesworld, Subterranean, Lightspeed, Apex, and Shimmer, and anthologies like The Book of Cthulhu 2, Hex Appeal, Shotguns v Cthulhu, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, Black Wings II, and many others.

This is the fourth volume of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, but the first one I’ve gotten around to. In our defense, we’ve at least covered several of Paula’s other recent anthologies, including Season of Wonder and Weird Detectives.

Here’s the book description.

The darkness creeps upon us and we shudder, or it suddenly startles and we scream. There need be no monsters for us to be terrified in the dark, but if there are, they are just as often human and as supernatural. Join us in this outstanding annual exploration of the year’s best dark fiction that includes stories of quiet fear, the utterly fantastic, the weirdly surreal, atmospheric noir, mysterious hauntings, seductive nightmares, and frighteningly plausible futures. Featuring thirty-five tales from masterful authors and talented new writers sure to make you reconsider walking in the shadows alone…

And here’s the complete Table of Contents, listed alphabetically by author

Laird Barron, “Hand of Glory” (The Book of Cthulhu 2)
Peter S. Beagle, “Great-Grandmother in the Cellar” (Under My Hat)
Peter Bell, “Glamour of Madness” (The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows)
Joseph Bruchac, “Down in the Valley” (Postscripts #28/29: Exotic Gothic 4)
Jim Butcher, “Bigfoot on Campus” (Hex Appeal)
Mike Carey, “Iphigenia In Aulis” (An Apple for the Creature)
Terry Dowling, “Nightside Eye” (Cemetery Dance #66)
K. M. Ferebee, “The Bird Country” (Shimmer #15)
Jeffrey Ford, “The Natural History of Autumn” (F&SF, July/August 2012)
Neil Gaiman, “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” (The Shadow Show)
Theodora Goss, “England Under the White Witch” (Clarkesworld, Issue 73)
Maria Dahvana Headley, “Game” (Subterranean, Fall 2012)
Robert Hood, “Escena de un Asesinato” (Postscripts #28/29: Exotic Gothic 4)
Stephen Graham Jones, “Welcome to the Reptile House” (Strange Aeons #9)
Caitlín R Kiernan, “Fake Plastic Trees: (After)
Ellen Klages, “The Education of a Witch” (Under My Hat)
Marc Laidlaw, “Forget You” (Lightspeed, June 2012)
John Langan, “Renfrew’s Course” (Lightspeed, April 2012)
Joe R. Lansdale. “The Tall Grass” (Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations)
Tim Lebbon, “Slaughterhouse Blues” (Nothing As It Seems)
Alison Littlewood, “The Eyes of Water (The Eyes of Water)
Good Hunting, Ken Liu (Strange Horizons, October 2012)
Helen Marshall, “No Ghosts In London” (Hair Side, Flesh Side)
Sarah Monette, “Blue Lace Agate” (Lightspeed, January 2012)
Ekaterina Sedia, “End of White” (Shotguns v Cthulhu)
Priya Sharma, “Pearls” (Bourbon Penn 04)
Robert Shearman, “Bedtime Stories for Yasmin” (Shadows & Tall Trees 4)
John Shirley, “When Death Wakes Me to Myself” (Black Wings II)
Cory Skerry, “Sinking Among Lilies” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #92)
Simon Strantzas, “Go Home Again” (Fungi)
Rachel Swirsky, “The Sea of Trees” (The Future Is Japanese)
Melanie Tem, “Dahlias” (Black Wings II)
Karen Tidbeck, “Arvid Pekon” (Jagganath: Stories)
Genevieve Valentine, “Armless Maidens of the American West” (Apex, August 7, 2012)
Brooke Wonders, “Everything Must Go” (Clarkesworld, Issue 74)

Paula Guran’s previous anthologies include Vampires: The Recent UndeadNew Cthulhu: The Recent WeirdGhosts: Recent Hauntings, After the End: Recent Apocalypses, and the ongoing The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror. Some of her recent anthologies we’ve covered include:

Blood Sisters
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2014
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013
New Cthulhu 2
New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird
Weird Detectives
Season of Wonder

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2013 was edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books on August 14, 2013. It is 528 pages, priced at $19.95 in trade paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition. Read more on the Prime website.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

5 Comments »

  1. I just read Theodora Goss’s “England Under the White Witch” yesterday and was awestruck. Alt hist and Narnia — two great tastes tasting great together.

    Comment by Jackson Kuhl - February 11, 2014 5:19 pm

  2. Jackson,

    Thanks for the tip! So far, Genevieve Valentine’s “Armless Maidens of the American West” is my favorite story in this collection — it’s a brilliantly haunting, and very understated, fantasy… not quite Alternative History, but it has that flavor, too.

    Clearly I need to check out Theodora Goss’s “England Under the White Witch” too. Gaaaahh — so much to read, so little time.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 11, 2014 5:26 pm

  3. […] New Treasures: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013, edited by Paula Guran […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in February - March 31, 2014 1:45 am

  4. […] is only the latest Paula Guran anthology to catch my eye, following The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013, Season of Wonder, and the marvelous Weird […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » New Treasures: New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran - June 9, 2014 5:32 pm

  5. […] that short list. I sampled the fourth volume of her Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror back in February, and was very impressed. The fifth volume arrived this summer, with an absolutely stellar line up […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Discover the Best Short Fiction of the Year with Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2014 - October 12, 2014 9:33 pm


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