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Datlow, Ellen

Entry updated 11 December 2023. Tagged: Editor.

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(1949-    ) US editor, initially of sf, though in recent years she has concentrated more on fantasy and horror. She first became influential as fiction editor of Omni (1980-1995) and Omni Internet (1996-1998); she edited two sequences of spin-off anthologies from the magazine 1983-1994 [see Checklist below; see Omni for details]; a third sequence comprising Omni Visions One (anth 1993) and Omni Visions Two (anth 1994), on the other hand, contains mostly original stories. After Omni folded, she edited Event Horizon (1998-1999) online until it folded, and Sci Fiction (2000-2005) for until this too was shut down. The combination of decent budgets and good critical taste made Datlow one of the more influential US sf (and later fantasy and horror) journal editors during this period; she maintained throughout an intriguing balance between established and new and writers, many of her titles being Original Anthologies, and almost all of them containing at least some new material.

Aside from the Omni anthologies, her most important early work lay in her joint editorship of the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series (volumes one through seventeen with Terri Windling; subsequent volumes with Kelly Link and Gavin Grant), beginning The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (anth 1988; vt Demons and Dreams: The Best Fantasy and Horror 1); the series changed its title with the third year to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and was discontinued after the 2007 volume. These are certainly the best of their kind – the first two and the fourth won World Fantasy Awards – being very big, very wide-ranging and intelligently selected; Datlow dealt with horror throughout, and the other co-editors with fantasy. She has also co-edited the Adult Fairy Tale sequence beginning with Snow White, Blood Red (anth 1993) with Terri Windling (throughout), and comprising original stories, all twice-told versions of traditional folk material. Usually solo – though sometimes with Windling – she has edited various singletons as well, beginning with Blood Is Not Enough: 17 Stories of Vampirism (anth 1989), which with A Whisper of Blood (anth 1991) was assembled as A Whisper of Blood: A Collection of Modern Vampire Stories (omni 2008). Some are of sf interest, including Alien Sex (anth 1990) and Vanishing Acts: A Science Fiction Anthology (anth 2000). Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories (anth 2019), at almost 800 pages, is an ambitious Original Anthology, with three reprinted stories including "The Medium's End" (13 March 1912 The Bystander) by Ford Madox Ford. Another large anthology, Edited By (anth 2020), assembles representative stories from throughout Datlow's long editorial career. When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson (anth 2021), an Original Anthology, contains a range of tales reflective of Shirley Jackson's way of inhabiting her imagined worlds rather than imitations of her subject matter as such; some of the stories are very ambitious.

Datlow won Hugo awards as Best Editor in 2002 and 2005, and again in the revised category Best Editor, Short Form in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021; she has also won a string of Locus Awards as best editor in the years 2005 to 2015 inclusive – and again in 2017, 2018 and 2020 to 2023 inclusive – and was honoured with the World Fantasy Award for life achievement in 2014. [PN/JC]

Ellen Sue Datlow

born New York: 31 December 1949



Omni Science Fiction

Omni Best Science Fiction

Omni Visions

  • Omni Visions One (New York: Omni Books, 1993) [anth: Omni Visions: pb/Gervasio Gallardo]
  • Omni Visions Two (New York: Omni Books, 1994) [anth: Omni Visions: pb/Gervasio Gallardo]

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror


The Adult Fairy Tale Series

Retold Fairy Tales

Best Horror

individual titles


previous versions of this entry

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