The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Ellen Datlow (editor)
Del Rey, Apr 2008, $16.00
This sixteen story anthology runs the gamut of speculative fiction, which makes it in many ways a fresh throwback before themed restraints became the name of the short story game for especially fantasy and horror but to a lesser degree science fiction and alternate history too. The contributions are all well written with several spectacular entries. “Renaissance” readers will enjoy the compilation from the opening alternate history act (The Elephant Ironclads” by Jason Stoddard) to the closing collaboration “Prisoners of the Action” by McCauley and Newman and points in between. The tales include contemporary urban (“Ardent Clouds” by Lucy Sussex), fairy tale revision (“The Goosle” by Margo Langan), and an alternate historical fictional account of why “Sonny Liston Takes the Fall” in his bout with Ali then Clay by Elizabeth Bear. Sci fi is present with “Special Economics” in China by Maureen F. McHugh and changing urban geography too (“AKA St. Marks Place” by Richard Bowes). Barry Malzberg provides a change of pace with plenty of humor with his talking goat golem in “The Passion of Azrael”. With supernatural entries (“Jimmy” by Pat Cadigan and “The Lagerstatte by Laird Barron)) to round out the anthology, this is a strong refreshing all over the place collection though a strong alternate history (to include “Shira” by Lavie Tidhar) presence is throughout.