I'm Iain Nicholas Mackenzie, the Green Man Librarian, and I have the distinct pleasure of introducing this special edition which is solely devoted to the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror anthology which celebrates its twentieth year with its latest edition! Yes, twenty years of choosing the very best in both fantasy and horror tales that were written for our pleasure. Now if you consider that myriad anthologies ranging from mediocre to superb are published every year and all of them are attempting the same task as YBFH, that YBFH is by far the best of the lot is quite a feat. It is the only such anthology that is consistently checked out from the Library. We keep three or four copies of the trade edition available for reading as the value of the hardcover editions collectively is in the thousands of dollars. Yeah, they're that collectible!
Our Editor once said that 'the strength of the YBFH collections has always been their ability to find the very best in short fiction in the fields of fantasy and horror... I don't know about you, but I don't see enough short fiction each year to have a feel for what's the very best which has been published. Novels I see by the hundreds, single author collections, quite a few, but much of the really interesting short fiction appears in publications, both digital and hardcopy, that one never, ever would be expected to know about unless one was assembling an anthology like this.'
But it's more than just the stories in these massive volumes that make them impressive, i.e. each is graced by a wrap-around cover by one of the best artist working today, Tom Canty. Though St. Martin's hasn't kept most of them in print, they are readily available online for quite reasonable prices for the trade paper editions. Got a week's worth of evenings free? If so, you can do far worse than pick up any of the YBFHs. As one of our Librarians noted she kept 'reading and reading and reading even more, but the stories kept going on as if they couldn't possibly be contained by the pages themselves.'
All of us here at Green Man appreciate all the hard work that Jim Frenkel, Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Kelly Link, Edward Bryant, Gavin Grant, Charles de Lint, Tom Canty, and many, many others have put into making this so. So read on for interviews with Jim Frenkel, Tom Canty, Ellen Datlow, and others involved in keeping YBFH thriving all this time, and an indepth look at all of the editions up to and including YBFH No. 20