With the surprising number of Years Best anthologies on the market these days — nearly a dozen, by my count — it takes something pretty darn special to get me to pry open my wallet for another one.
Salt Publishing has accomplished exactly that with their dual series, The Best British Fantasy, edited by Steve Haynes. and Best British Horror, edited by Johnny Mains. Where the other Years Best series mine the same American magazines and anthologies for the same batch of writers year after year, these books have the compelling advantage of drawing from a wholly different market. Featuring top-notch authors like Lavie Tidhar, Mark Morris, Ramsey Campbell, Sam Stone, Steph Swainston, Nina Allan, Guy Hayley, V.H. Leslie, Robert Shearman, Michael Marshall Smith, Helen Marshall, and many others, these books offer a refreshing change of pace for jaded SF and fantasy readers.
The Best British Fantasy was launched first. Edited by Steve Haynes, it lasted only two volumes, 2013 and 2014. Fortunately, both volumes are pretty readily available to US buyers, though a variety of online sellers.
We covered the first volume, The Best British Fantasy 2013, in more detail back in 2013.
Best British Horror, edited by Johnny Mains, began with the 2014 volume, with a very impressive line-up. Here’s a snap of the cover and the TOC.
The 2014 volume was a tough act to follow, but 2015 turned out to be no lightweight either. Here’s a look.
Nonetheless, all four volumes are still available in both digital and print formats from most major online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you’re looking to try a fine set of anthologies with a satisfyingly different slant on the market, this is a fine option.
We’ve covered ten previous Best of the Year volumes this year:
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016, edited by Mercedes Lackey
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten, edited by Jonathan Strahan
The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 1, edited by Neil Clarke
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, edited by Rich Horton
The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF 2015, edited by David Afsharirad
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2016, edited by Paula Guran
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016, edited by Paula Guran
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and John Joseph Adams
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois
Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3, edited by Simon Strantzas and Michael Kelly
See all of our coverage of the best new fantasy here.