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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 10/100: Fantasy, the Best of 2006 by Rich Norton

Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition - George Saunders, Gregory Feeley, Paul Di Filippo, Theodora Goss, Holly Phillips, Gene Wolfe, Richard Parks, Pat Cadigan, Steve Rasnic Tem, Marc Laidlaw, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Murphy, Rich Horton, Matthew Hughes, Michael Canfield, Sonya Taaffe, Samantha Henderson, Eric Schal

Well, it took me almost nine years to get there, but now I am all up to speed on which fantasy was hot in 2006!

I don't often read short story collections, so this was a nice change of pace for me. I liked the low-level commitment, and the fact that if I didn't like one story, it wouldn't take long for it to be replaced by another. Like all anthologies, I really liked some stories, felt indifferent to others, and found still others insufferable. I marked just under half the stories in this collection as ones that I "liked," and I page-flagged them all so that my husband can read the abridged version and not have to wade through the less-enjoyable stories.

The short story can be a difficult genre for a fantasy writer; there isn't much time for world-building, yet world-building is essential in a world that is different than our own. Because of that, several of the stories left me feeling a little disoriented, and as if I never really did get a handle on what was going on. Also, the flavor of the stories was quite different than I was expecting. A friend bought me this book because it has the "sequel" to The Last Unicorn, "Two Hearts," in it. "Two Hearts" is traditional fantasy, with a prince and villages and a griffin and magician. I expected a lot more traditional fantasy, but many of the stories were urban fantasy and/or paranormal. Perhaps these genres were emerging as new and "edgy" in 2006, but today the market is so saturated that stories with paranormal tropes almost instantly turn me off. So I wish there hadn't been so much of that here. I was a little more forgiving of the more "science-fiction-y" stories in the bunch, as none of them seemed to rely enough on hard science to pull them completely out of the fantasy realm.

It was a worthwhile read for the 8 stories that I really loved, although it took me much longer to get through than I expected. I think it's because of the extra time needed to re-orient myself to a new world with the start of each chapter.