WotF XIX is a compilation of excellent stories (with a few, notable exceptions) spanning the genre range from historical fiction through horror and fantasy to science fiction. Despite the ever-present copy-editing errors, this was a very good read.
I would put the stories in four categories of excellence (well, three of excellence and one of crap).
Group One: The best
Walking Rain - Ian Keane's tale of supernatural beings in present day America, reminiscent (but not derivative) of American Gods, is compelling. The writing is lush, the characterizations beautiful. Hands down the best of the best. I can't say enough about this story. The book is worth buying for this story alone.
Into The Gardens of Sweet Night - Algis Budrys weaves a fairy tale-like tapestry of words as a boy takes a fantastic journey into the sky looking for the fabled gardens. Sometimes the discussions on freedom get a bit thick, but still great.
Blood and Horses - Myke Cole brings us a story of military sf where rebels riding horses seek the oil that gives life, losing their own blood fighting against a technically far superior opponent.
Group Two: The very excellent (in no particular order)
From All the Work Which He Had Made - Michael Churchman's style is strikingly odd at first, but within a page he had made me a convert with this interesting tale about the development of a humanoid robot exploring the questions of his soul.
Dark Harvest - Geoffrey Girard brings us a story about what happens when you find your worst nightmare dying in a field, and it becomes a tourist attraction. Excellent writing, and a wonderful story.
Beautiful Singer - Steve Bein's story of a haunted sword is elegant in its way of presenting feudal Japanese culture and characters. Every word of this story echoes with the culture of the samurai. The only thing holding back this most savory of writing from the top slot was the way the ending rushed together (a common difficulty in short-story writing).
A Few Days North of Vienna - Brandon Butler takes us along as a band of thieves join up with a group of vampire hunters to eradicate those evil creatures. The plot is nothing new or innovative, but the writing is top notch, and that's more important anyway.
Group Three: The still excellent (still in no particular order)
A Ship That Bends - whatever Butler lacked in innovation, Luc Reid makes up for in spades with his characters who live on a flat world and must build a bending ship if they wish to sail to the other side without falling off. The ending is its great weakness, suddenly ending the story before it really reaches its climax. Fun world, great writing, but it just stops cold.
A Silky Touch to No Man - a weak ending is also the problem with Robert J. Defendi's exploration of life in the near future where virtual reality has become the only reality. For a murder mystery, it was painfully apparent "whodunit" from the very beginning. But the writing is strong and the world well conceived (almost scary, actually) which makes it fun anyway.
Gossamer - Ken Liu offers a scenario where Earth finally makes contact with an alien species, and has no idea if they can even communicate. Art seems to be the only thing the Gossamers are interested in, but what does that mean? Interesting twist on the first contact plot.
Numbers - Joel Best brings us a stark account of a world where mathematicians can do almost anything, including make animals and people. In this world one woman seeks to create the perfect mate, but learns that perfection (and creation) are about more than doing everything flawlessly.
Group Four: The stories that really don't belong
Trust Is A Child - Matthew Candelaria's overly long story of negotiations with aliens is really just a painful rehash of about a thousand other identical stories, offering no new slants or anything. That alone wouldn't make it so horrible, but the main character is painfully stupid, and the plot has a hole in it the size of a small star system (it has to do with her being stopped by Marine guards while the aliens can just cruise on by and enter her private quarters without explanation). Also, her solution to being stopped is just horrible (apparently the guard is even dumber than she is). Still, with a good edit and re-write, I think it could have been decent, so I wouldn't write off the author.
A Boy and His Bicycle - Carl Frederick offers a story about just that: a boy and his bike. They don't do anything interesting, or go anywhere fun, or give us any reason not to hope that they just crash into a bus and die. The only saving grace is that it's short and over quickly. And to think this story got first place that quarter...
Bury My Heart At the Garrick - Steve Savile takes the prize for plodding, pointlessness. This story of Houdini was confusing, but not in that good way where you want to know what's going on, more in the way where you just don't care and want to skip to the next story. I kept reading to see if it would get better (imagine a short story that took me a week to read!). It didn't.