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qwallath

Qwallath

Hi, I'm Oscar, a historical linguist from the Netherlands who also likes to write about music, games, and history. Check out my longer blog posts and other writings on Sub Specie.

Currently reading

Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo
Mary Douglas
Signs: an Introduction to Semiotics
Thomas A. Sebeok, Marcel Danesi
Language and Space
Lynn Nadel, Mary A. Peterson, Paul Bloom

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror : Thirteenth Annual Collection

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Thirteenth Annual Collection - Patricia A. McKillip, James Sallis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane Yolen, Geoffrey Brock, Michael Marshall Smith, Douglas E. Winter, Ellen Datlow, Charles de Lint, Susanna Clarke, Gary A. Braunbeck, Gene Wolfe, Peter Crowther, Steven Millhauser, Thomas Canty, Kelly Link, Elizab This is the first of this anthology series that I've read, but it was a very refreshing and entertaining look at the world of imaginative fiction. I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for the other instalments.

After reading a collection of short stories and poems like this, you realise how horribly dull the mainstream fantasy/horror market can be, compared to what is written by authors operating in the periphery. This truly is the *best* in Fantasy and Horror, or at least, it is certainly much better than much of the material that gets put out on the mass market.

The stories range from magical realism to folkloric adaptions to just plain old ghost and horror stories and fantastic tales. The material is extremely varied, and will hold interesting bits and pieces for many types of readers. Here's a selection of my favourites:

Neil Gaiman - "Harlequin Valentine" [A typical Gaiman piece, nicely dirty and original]
Thomas Wharton - "The Paper-Thin Garden" [A beautifully evocative concept, worked out brilliantly in only a couple of pages]
Michael Marshall Smith - "Welcome" [Nicely melancholic piece about a man slowly fading from this world]
Tim Lebbon - "White" [Good old fashioned 'monsters kill occupants of a snowed-in cabin one by one', but superbly done, with great atmosphere]
Charles de Lint - "Pixel Pixies" [original and funny folkloric fantasy in an everyday setting]

Also, the extensive overview (200+ pages) of new work in these areas of fiction is indispensible for those who follow the field in detail.