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In dozens of anthologies published over the last thirty years, the words “edited by” have been followed by a singularly reassuring name: Ellen Datlow. For countless readers (and writers), Datlow’s name has served as a virtual guarantee of quality. Each of her many anthologies, whatever its specific nature, reflects a high degree of taste, intelligence, and professional judgment. As Gary K. Wolfe notes in his excellent introduction, her work has received “an almost unprecedented string of honors.” Honors and awards are fine, of course, but it’s the stories that ultimately matter. And Datlow has ushered more good stories into the world than any editor in living memory. The book you are currently holding stands as a testament to that fact.
Edited By is a thoroughgoing attempt to reflect both the quality and infinite variety of the fiction she has championed in the course of her career. The stories gathered here come from all over the literary map. There are SF, fantasy, and horror stories, often in unique combinations. There are household names among the contributors, such as Neil Gaiman, whose screenplay/story “Eaten (Scenes from a Moving Picture)” is a chilling account of eater and eaten, predator and prey. There are newer, lesser known figures as well, among them Nathan Ballingrud, whose “Monsters of Heaven” is an achingly beautiful story of grief, loss, and strange encounters. And there are many award-winning writers included, among them Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Lucius Shepard, Ted Chiang, and Jeffrey Ford, to name just a few. Their contributions are among the many highlights of this book.
Edited By is one of those rare books that offers intense pleasure and intellectual excitement on every page. There are no bad stories here, and there is no lazy or indifferent writing. Some of the finest imaginative fiction of modern times awaits within the covers of this magisterial book. This one really does belong on the permanent shelf. Don’t let it pass you by.