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Synopsis

Strahan's fifth anthology contains 29 wide-ranging tales. Neil Gaiman's "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains" is a deceptively simple folktale-styled story of the price one may pay for gold. "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey Landis untangles a complex knot of childish power. Sarah Rees Brennan's "The Spy Who Never Grew Up" gives a beloved childhood icon a sinister update; Diana Peterfreund's "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" turns unicorn lore on its head; and Rachel Swirsky's "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window" puts a fantasy spin on the temporal culture shock of immortality. This year the fantasy tales outdo the SF in depth of storytelling and characterization, though all the inclusions are strong, with few ideas left by the wayside.

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