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Sinister Fairy Tales & Dreadful New Legends: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017, edited by Paula Guran

Saturday, January 6th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017-small The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017-back-small

I’m not sure what’s up with Prime Books, one of my favorite small press publishers, but I heard they had some production difficulties in 2017, and as a result their schedule was reduced and many titles were delayed by several months. Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017, expected in June, didn’t arrive until late fall, and Sheila Williams’s Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine: A Decade of Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories, 2005-2015, scheduled for last November, hasn’t shown up at all.

Whenever small press publishers experience publishing delays, I fret about them. Delays never help a book. Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2017, due in July, was delayed until December, and I hope it doesn’t get lost in the end-of-the-year crush. It’s a terrific volume, and well worth a look. Why not pick up a copy and help a small press that could use your support?

This is the 8th volume, and it comes packed with fabulous tales — including Amal El-Mohtar’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning story “Season of Glass and Iron,” Victor LaValle’s Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award nominated novella The Ballad of Black Tom, Brooke Bolander’s World Fantasy Award nominee “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” and stories by Aliette de Bodard, Jeffrey Ford, Max Gladstone, Kat Howard, N. K. Jemisin, Stephen Graham Jones, Marc Laidlaw, Seanan McGuire, Rachael Swirsky, Steve Rasnic Tem, Catherynne M. Valente, Michael Wehunt, Fran Wilde, Alyssa Wong, and many others. Here’s the complete table of contents.

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

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“Lullaby for a Lost World,” Aliette de Bodard (Tor.com 06/16)
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” Brooke Bolander (Uncanny #13)
“Wish You Were Here,” Nadia Bulkin (Nightmare # 49)
“A Dying of the Light,” Rachel Caine (The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft)
“Season of Glass and Iron,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)
“Grave Goods,” Gemma Files (Autumn Cthulhu)
“The Blameless,” Jeffrey Ford (The Natural History of Hell)
“As Cymbals Clash,” Cate Gardner (The Dark #19)
“The Iron Man,” Max Gladstone (Grimm Future)
“Surfacing,” Lisa L. Hannett (Postscripts 36/37: The Dragons of the Night)
“Mommy’s Little Man,” Brian Hodge (DarkFuse, October)
“The Sound of Salt and Sea,” Kat Howard (Uncanny #10)
“Red Dirt Witch,” N. K. Jemisin (Fantasy #60)
“Birdfather,” Stephen Graham Jones (Black Static #51)
“The Games We Play,” Cassandra Khaw (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
“The Line Between the Devil’s Teeth (Murder Ballad No. Ten),” Caitlin Kiernan (Sirenia Digest #130)
“Postcards from Natalie,” Carrie Laben (The Dark #14)
“The Finest, Fullest Flowering,” Marc Laidlaw (Nightmare #45)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com)
“Meet Me at the Frost Fair,” Alison Littlewood (A Midwinter Entertainment)
“Bright Crown of Joy,” Livia Llewellyn (Children of Lovecraft)
“The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch,” Seanan McGuire (Lightspeed #72)
“My Body, Herself,” Carmen Maria Machado (Uncanny #12)
“Spinning Silver,” Naomi Novik (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)
“Whose Drowned Face Sleeps,” An Owomoyela & Rachael Swirsky (Nightmare # 46/What the #@&% Is That?)
“Grave Goods,” Priya Sharma (Albedo One #6)
“The Rime of the Cosmic Mariner,” John Shirley (Lovecraft Alive!)
“The Red Forest,” Angela Slatter (Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales)
“Photograph,” Steve Rasnic Tem (Out of the Dark)
“The Future is Blue,” Catherynne M. Valente (Drowned Worlds)
‘‘October Film Haunt: Under the House’’, Michael Wehunt (Greener Pastures)
“Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left,” Fran Wilde (Shimmer 13)
“When the Stitches Come Undone,” A.C. Wise (Children of Lovecraft)
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers,” Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 03/16)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises,” Isabel Yap (Uncanny #11)
“Fairy Tales are for White People,” Melissa Yuan-Innes (Fireside Magazine Issue 30)
“Braid of Days and Wake of Nights,” E. Lily Yu (F&SF, Jan-Feb)

Paula Guran’s rececnt anthologies include Swords Against Darkness, Weird Detectives, Warrior Women, and many others. Check them out right here at Black Gate:

Swords Against Darkness
The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu
Street Magicks
Warrior Women
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas: 2016
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas: 2015
Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep
Blood Sisters
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016
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 & Horror 2017 was released in December 2017. It is 528 pages, priced at $19.95 in trade paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition. The cover art is by BreakerMaximus.

See all of our coverage of recent new releases here.

2 Comments »

  1. I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of years, but I’m surprised to not see Laird Barron in these year’s best anymore. Has the shine worn off his apple?

    I’m also very surprised to not see Philip Fracassi here.

    But I’m complaining. I see a lot of capable and deserving authors here: Stephen Graham Jones (who just a few short years ago couldn’t seem to buy his way onto a year’s best list), Priya Sharma, Caitlin Kiernan, etc.

    I really want to get back into reading contemporary horror.

    Comment by James McGlothlin - January 7, 2018 6:46 pm

  2. ISFDB says Laird only published three short stories in 2016 (the year this anthology covers), so perhaps the rights were tied up, or they just didn’t make the cut. Laird has been focusing at novel lengths recently — the opening volume in his brand new noir crime series, Blood Standard, will be released in May.

    And it would be great to have you review more contemporary horror for us, James!

    Comment by John ONeill - January 7, 2018 9:26 pm


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