I'm of two minds about Benjamin Rosenbaum's story A Siege of Cranes. On one hand it was a bit cold and off putting and the explanation of the motivation of the villain was a let down. On the other hand, there was something still satisfying about the conclusion of the story. It is a quest story with brutality, missing persons, grotesquery, a jackal-man, a djinn, and almost no hope at all. The ultimate conclusion of the story worked. The first half of the story, however, did not work nearly so well. Had A Siege of Cranes not been nominated for a World Fantasy Award I might have passed on finishing the story, even though it was only 24 pages in Word. The story comes from the All Star Stories anthology Twenty Epics and A Siege of Cranes has that feel of an epic fantasy, it just takes a while to really get the depth of the story across or even allow the reader to engage with the story.
Having now read three of the five nominated stories if I had a vote, and I do not, would go to Jeffrey Ford's "The Way He Does It". Short. Simple. Fascinating. Quirky. Ford can be hit or miss with me, but "The Way He Does It" delivered the goods.
To paraphrase Jon Lovitz in A League of Their Own: "I know the goods when I see it. He's got the goods. Sorry, kid."