One of the most important and prolific editors of science fiction and fantasy anthologies today returns with The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Sixteen Works by Speculative Fiction’s Finest Voices. The key term here is speculative, for while most of these shorts lack the science fiction and fantasy elements that have come to define such stories for genre readers, they are all set in seemingly ordinary worlds with outlandish and incredible plots that defy the imagination.
After an inspiring introduction from Datlow on the importance of short stories in the genre of fantastical fiction, the collection begins with “The Elephant Ironclads,” set in an alternate 20th century world, where a Navajo nation aims to become a recognized world power, but at the same time wants to maintain its unique culture. Pat Cadigan’s “Jimmy” is a supernatural story set just a short time after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Elizabeth Bear’s “Sonny Liston Takes the Fall” takes readers on an emotional and moving journey about the famous heavyweight fighter’s life and death. The high point of the collection is Margo Lanagan’s “The Goosle,” a dark and twisted Hansel and Gretel retelling, involving mass murder, the bubonic plague, and sexual slavery.
The perfect choice for science fiction and fantasy fans looking for new authors and truly original ideas, The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy offers up sixteen special stories from today’s freshest voices.
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Originally written on April 25th, 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.