Review: Edited By edited by Ellen Datlow

cover of Edited By, a collection of short stories edited by Elle DatlowEdited By edited by Ellen Datlow
Subterranean Press (September 2020)
632 pages; $45 limited edition hardcover; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

If you look back over the history of horror fiction, there are a few names that have become synonymous with the genre. Stephen King. Edgar Allan Poe. Shirley Jackson. Clive Barker. Ellen Datlow may not have quite the same level of mainstream recognition as these authors, but her influence on horror fiction (not to mention fantasy and sci-fi) stands equal.

Over the course of more than 30 years and dozens of anthologies, Datlow has established herself as a shepherd in the field of genre fiction, gently nudging readers toward excellent writers while expanding (and sometimes obliterating) the boundaries in which those writers work. Edited By is a field guide to her work, a 600-plus page sampler that merely suggests at the enormity of her contributions.

It’s easy to see that, when choosing work for a collection she’s putting together, Datlow considers craft first and everything else second. Some stories are straight-up horror or fantasy or sci-fi; others are intriguing blends of these genres. Under Datlow’s watchful eye, they remain respectful of their genre without being beholden to it. Above all, they are good; these stories are interesting, thoughtful, experimental. In many cases, they are classic.

From pushing established writers to plumb new depths, to helping new writers reach great heights, Ellen Datlow continues to play a vital role in the growth of genre fiction. Edited By is more than a tribute to her work — it’s a testament to her enduring importance and impact. Highly recommended.

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