So, I’ve been reading some anthologies of late, in a bid to get a move on with the ‘year’s best’ reading. Worked my way through Al Sarrantonio’s Flights, which is a very mixed bag. It’s a 200,000 word anthology with some great stories by Liz Hand, Tim Powers, Gene Wolfe, and others. There’s also an interesting Narnia story by Neil Gaiman. And, if your tastes run to the train-wreck kind of thing, it includes a Larry Niven story which is just about the worst thing I’ve seen to appear under a professional by-line in years. Should you go read it? Yes. There’s 100,000 words of good to great stuff (if it was just that 100,000 words Flights would be the fantasy antho of the year), and some very ordinary material. Surprise of the book, for me, was Janny Wurts, who has a very good story that was marred a little for me by a New Agey ending. Looking back on it, Flights isn’t as strong or consistent as The Faery Reel (which I expect will be the fantasy anthology of the year), but it is worthwhile.

The other anthology I’m checking out is Deborah Noyes’ Gothic!, which has ten original gothic tales by the likes of Joan Aiken, Garth Nix and Neil Gaiman. The Gaiman story, “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire”, is terrific and worth the price of admission by itself. More soon…