Peter S. Beagle (photo: Rina Weisman) and Jacob Weisman
So – what of the stories? They range from the apparent simplicity of the fairy story or fable (“Duck”,“The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees”, “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn”) to knotty horror (“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, “The Haunting of Apollo A7LB”) to fantasy romance (“The Tallest Doll in New York City”) adventure (“My Time Among the Bridge Blowers”) and all points in between. Many are multilayered, reflective stories – see for example how “Pauper Prince” and “Bridge Blowers” in particular both echo and critique the kind of story they appear, on the surface. There is a lot of dialogue with the existing body of SFF work going on here, though it doesn’t stop the stories themselves being immediate, entertaining and fun.
The collection as a whole is very strong, with something for everyone. They are all great stories, though different readers will have their favourites. Whether as a solid collection in its own right or as a sampler for these authors, I’d recommend this to anyone interested in where fantasy is going.
A. M. Steiner on his eponymous blog praises the anthology.
If you consider fantasy writing as a form of magic, this anthology cements Beagle and Weisman’s reputations as witch-finder generals. The scope and power of the talent they expose within is quite terrifying, and for all the right reasons.
In the end, all anthologies are a product of their times, and this one is no exception, but looking beyond that, the quality of the writing and the ideas presented is unbelievably high. You’re never going to love every story in a collection this wide-ranging, but I defy anyone to not find at least one gem inside that makes this box of treasures worthwhile.
For the CAPITAL AREA DISTRICT LIBRARY, Jessica T. recommends the book.
This is one of the best fantasy collections I’ve read in a long time. It is a lovely blend of fascinating and disturbing (mostly) urban fantasy stories pulling from and playing with folklore and mythology. Most are already award-winning stories. All are compelling and they are great examples of a diverse field of up and coming stars, including Sofia Samatar, Max Gladstone, Ursula Vernon, E. Lily Yu, Maria Dahvana Headley, Hannu Rajaniemi, Amal El-Mohtar, and Usman T. Malik, just to name a few of the 19 authors.
My favorites included “Jackalope Wives” by Vernon, which shows a wise grandmother having to clean up a mess made by her foolish grandson. I loved Headley’s “The Tallest Doll in New York City” in which the Chrysler Building is done waiting for the Empire State Building to make its move. “The Haunting of Apollo ACLB” by Rajaniemi is a funny and sad ghost story. And “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise is an informative and humorous brochure. Gladstone’s “A Kiss with Teeth” looks at the dangers of trying to fit in versus being your authentic self. Brooke Bolander’s love-struck tornado; Sarah Pinsker’s pond that may or may not disappear people; Kelly Sandoval’s story of a woman adjusting to life after being away a year and a day… really, these stories were all so good!
For more info about THE NEW VOICES OF FANTASY, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Camille André
Cover design by Elizabeth Story