We’ve just about wrapped up the Best of the Year season, the summer/fall period when eight publishers and a dozen editors collaborate to produce ten volumes gathering the best short science fiction, fantasy, and horror of the year. We’ve had eight so far, from Neil Clarke, Jonathan Strahan, Gardner Dozois, Rich Horton, David Afsharirad, N.K. Jemisin and John Joseph Adams, and others.
But we’re not done yet — and in fact, this week two of my favorites landed on the same day. I’ll deal with Robert Shearman and Michael Kelly’s The Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume Five in a future post, but today I want to talk about the latest installment in Paula Guran’s long-running Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror.
This is the ninth volume in the series, which has been continuously published since 2010. While Paula has been enormously productive in the last decade, this is her sole anthology in 2018, which she laments a little in her Acknowledgments.
This is, if she’s counted correctly, the forty-fifth anthology Guran has edited. Instead of what had become the usual multiple titles per calendar year, it is the only anthology that will appear from her in 2018. That’s probably a refreshing break for most people. She’s got mixed feelings about it herself. After more than a decade of full-time editing, she now freelancing. Guran enjoys the variety but regrets the lack of a monthly paycheck.
This year’s edition includes much of the most talked-about horror and dark fantasy of the year, including Rebecca Roanhorse’s “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™,” Laird Barron’s “Swift to Chase,” Priya Sharma’s “The Crow Palace,” M. Rickert’s “Everything Beautiful Is Terrifying,” Robert Shearman’s “The Swimming Pool Party,” and Stephen Graham Jones’s complete Tor.com novella Mapping the Interior, published at $10.99. Another reason why The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror is one of the best values on the shelves.
Altogether there are 26 stories in the latest volume, plus an introduction by Paula and a 7-page About the Authors section. Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
Introduction: Same Old Stories, by Paula Guran
“Sunflower Junction,” Simon Avery (Black Static #57)
“Swift to Chase,” Laird Barron (Adam’s Ladder: An Anthology of Dark Science Fiction)
“Fallow,” Ashley Blooms (Shimmer #37)
“Children of Thorns, Children of Water,” Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny #17)
“On Highway 18,” Rebecca Campbell (F&SF 9-10/17)
“Witch Hazel,” Jeffrey Ford (Haunted Nights, eds. Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton)
“The Bride in Sea-Green Velvet,” Robin Furth (F&SF 7-8/17)
“Little Digs,” Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark #20)
“The Thule Stowaway,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Uncanny #14)
“The Eyes Are White and Quiet,” Carole Johnstone (New Fears, ed. Mark Morris)
Mapping the Interior, Stephen Graham Jones (Tor.com)
“Don’t Turn on the Lights,” Cassandra Khaw (Nightmare #61)
“The Dinosaur Tourist,” Caitlín R. Kiernan (Sirenia Digest #139)
“Survival Strategies,” Helen Marshall (Black Static #60)
“Red Bark and Ambergris,” Kate Marshall (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #232)
“Skins Smooth as Plantain, Hearts Soft as Mango,” Ian Muneshwar (The Dark #27)
“Everything Beautiful Is Terrifying,” M. Rickert (Shadows & Tall Trees 7, ed. Michael Kelly)
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™,” Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex #99)
“Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment,” Eden Royce (Fiyah #2)
“Moon Blood-Red, Tide Turning,” Mark Samuels (Terror Tales of Cornwall, ed. Paul Finch)
“The Crow Palace,” Priya Sharma (Black Feathers, ed. Ellen Datlow)
“The Swimming Pool Party,” Robert Shearman (Shadows & Tall Trees 7, ed. Michael Kelly)
“The Little Mermaid, in Passing,” Angela Slatter (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol.22, #1)
“Secret Keeper,” Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Nightmare #61)
“The Long Fade into Evening Steve,” Steve Rasnic Tem (Darker Companions, eds. Scott David Aniolowski & Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.)
“Moon and Memory and Muchness,” Katherine Vaz (Mad Hatters and March Hares, ed. Ellen Datlow)
“Exceeding Bitter,” Kaaron Warren (Evil Is a Matter of Perspective, eds Adrian Collins & Mike Myers)
“Succulents,” Conrad Williams (New Fears, ed. Mark Morris)
“The Lamentation of Their Women,” Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com 8.24.17)
About the Authors
About the Editor
Here’s a list with Tables of Contents for the other major Best of the Year 2018 volumes from Neil Clarke, Jonathan Strahan, Gardner Dozois, John Joseph Adams, Paula Guran, Jane Yolen, Michael Kelly, David Afsharirad, and others.
The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volume Three edited by Neil Clarke (Night Shade Books, April 3, 2018))
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Twelve, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris, April 17, 2018))
The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 4, edited by David Afsharirad (Baen, June 5, 2018)
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade, June 12, 2018)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin;, July 3, 2018)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018, edited by Rich Horton (Prime, August 7, 2018)
Nebula Awards Showcase 2018, edited by Jane Yolen (Pyr, August 7, 208)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, edited by N.K. Jemisin and John Joseph Adams (Mariner Books, October 2, 2018)
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2018, edited by Paula Guran (Prime, October 16, 2018)
The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume Five, edited by Robert Shearman and Michael Kelly (Undertow, October 16, 2018)
Paula Guran’s recent 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
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
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017
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
Season of Wonder
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2018 was published by Prime Books on October 16, 2018. It is 528 pages, priced at $19.95 in trade paperback and $6.99 for the digital editions. The cover art is by Fernando Cortes.
See all of our recent New Treasures here.