Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cover art - "Year's Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3" edited by Simon Strantzas and Michael Kelly

When Undertow Publications began to publish a yearly collection of best weird fiction I welcomed this project with my arms opened wide. My previous experiences with the publisher and the approached niche of its “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” made this new yearly anthology very attractive from my point of view. Now, it can be argued that a year’s best of anything might not be the best for everyone, but I always try to remember that such selections are subjective to the editor’s tastes and they’re meant to be received with an opened mind. As it is meant for the genre within such projects lie. Because, after all, there is only one true category that matters in the end, that of good fiction, the one that helps us expand our horizons despite the genre in which we would like to catalogue it. Although “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” has only two volumes released so far it is a project I would certainly like to see filling my bookshelves for many years to come.

True, I liked some stories more than others, from my personal perspective I questioned a couple of selections, but like I’ve already said I accept completely the editor’s tastes and choices. And it is exactly here where this year’s best anthology scored good points, each year Michael Kelly, the series editor, works on this collection together with a different guest editor, the first was Laird Barron, the second Kathe Koja, this year Simon Strantzas and the next Helen Marshall. Such an approach makes me expect the unexpected, each volume offers something different from the others. There are other wonderful year’s best collections out there and although I love what their editors did with the entire series I feel that, more or less, a pattern surfaces over time. Nothing wrong with it, but by working with a different editor at each volume “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” acquires a unique flavor.

As it does through the cover artworks. There is something different about each one of them and I’ve become to anticipate the release of the next cover with excitement. This year’s selection didn’t disappoint at all. I was familiar with Beatriz Martin Vidal’s art for some time now and seeing her work on the cover of “Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3” brought me great joy. It shouldn’t be such a rare thing, Beatriz Martin Vidal is a very talented artist and looking over her website and Deviantart page you’ll see why. The vivid colors, the light and shadow, her imagination are marvelous traits and because of them and not only I am mesmerized by her art pieces. As is the case with this cover, a beautiful artwork that’s a feast for the eyes and that is, I admit, my favorite of the three covers of “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” so far.

Since we are at it, here is also the table of contents of “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” third volume, with the possibility of one more addition later on:

“The Strangers” by Robert Aickman (The Strangers and Other Writings)
“Rangel” by Matthew M. Bartlett (Rangel)
“Little Girls in Bone Museums” by Sadie Bruce (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2015)
“Violet is the Color of Your Energy” by Nadia Bulkin (She Walks in Shadows edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles)
“Fetched” by Ramsey Campbell (Horrorology edited by Stephen Jones, as “Nightmare”)
“Guest” by Brian Conn (The Bestiary edited by AnnVanderMeer)
“The Marking” by Kristi DeMeester (Three-lobed Burning Eye #27)
“Seaside Town” by Brian Evenson (Aickman’s Heirs edited by Simon Strantzas)
“Julie” by L.S. Johnson (Strange Tales V edited by Rosalie Parker)
“Rabbit, Cat, Girl” by Rebecca Kuder (XIII: Stories of Transformation edited by Mark Teppo)
“Strange Currents” by Tim Lebbon (Innsmouth Nightmares edited by Lois H. Gresh)
“The Rooms Are High” by Reggie Oliver (The Sea of Blood)
“The Seventh Wave” by Lynda E. Rucker (Terror Tales of the Ocean edited by Paul Finch)
“Blood” by Robert Shearman (Seize the Night edited by Christopher Golden)
“Loveliness Like a Shadow” by Christopher Slatsky (Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales)
“Honey Moon” by D.P. Watt (A Soliloquy for Pan edited by Mark Beech)
“The Devil Under the Maison Blue” by Michael Wehunt (The Dark #10)
“Orange Dogs” by Marian Womack (
“Visit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line” by Genevieve Valentine (The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow)

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