A review by octavia_cade
100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories, by Janet Fox, Isaac Asimov, Terry Carr, Martin H. Greenberg

2.0

This is the second of the short-short books I've read recently, in my ongoing effort to read more flash. It is not nearly as good as the mysteries volume. Perhaps it's just that many of these stories are decades old, but they often read as cliched and fairly unsophisticated. Perhaps they were new and exciting at the time, but they're not now. There is a truly execrable group of stories, for instance, based entirely around puns, all of which need to be taken out back and shot. A ridiculously huge amount of the remainder are based around either a deal with the devil or a wish-granting genie. (In fairness, the blame for all this repetition can be laid squarely at the feet of the editor and not any of the contributing authors.)

There are only really two stories that stood out for me here. The beautifully written, if otherwise slight, Jane Yolen story "The Lady and the Merman", and "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Harlan Ellison, which had an excellently punchy ending. Apart from these, there's really nothing extraordinary here. Which is a real shame...