To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I'm sure I'll get some shade for this brief review, but this collection suffers GREATLY from a surfeit of the surreal. This results in an overly-narrow interpretation of "what" fantasy is, and quite frankly leads to a collection that... is just not fun to read. Perhaps the VanderMeers have simply outgrown me, but for this reader their curatorial taste skews too far towards the surreal and literary symbolic and it's like they saw this anthology as their last opportunity to rescue THEIR favorite obscure writers - many of whom are out of print/untranslated for a reason.
Accomplished? Yes (in a VERY specific way).
Enjoyable? Not to me, overall (as a fan of immersive world-building).
Vandermeer & Vandermeer argue in the Introduction that fantasy is thought of as stories "that which is produced by a fantasy writer" or "that which I recognize as fantasy because of pop culture," but they want us to imagine a fantasy, not as a genre but a "set of tools" that incorporates the "non-real" and can be used by any kind of writer. As an example, the third story is "Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov. It is one of the best short stories I have ever read and has a very complex plot. That said, by no means I categorize it as a fantasy and would rather call it fiction.
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2020
I love anthologies of any and every genre. They give the reader a fresh look at stories and authors we'd probably not read any other way and they serve as a series break to give a reader different materials and characters. The fantasy genre covers a huge landscape, from Disney princesses to Brothers Grimm. So many readers will say they don't like fantasy without realizing it's woven throughout their every day TBR pile.
The VanderMeer name is synonymous with collections of stories that span eras and genres. This volume is "modern" fantasy, those stories published after WWII. There are 91 short stories in this volume, a fair collection of famous and unknown authors from many different countries. The settings and characters are unique...that's one requirement of fantasy...and as in all collections, you'll love some and hate some and reread many of them. I know I did. This is a great read for anyone interested in fantasy or looking to expand their reading experiences.