Tachyon revamp

I see that Tachyon Publications have revamped their website. It’s still not quite perfect, but it’s a major improvement over the old site that they’d had for quite a while. They’ve added a blog, have more information on forthcoming books (the section I always want sites to improve on), and even a news page (which I always think should be on the home page. Now, if you could just shop easily online…

I am very impressed with their 2007 line-up. In addition to the terrific Ellen Klages’ collection, Portable Childhoods, which I mentioned earlier, they’re publishing Susan Palwick’s The Fate of Mice, Carol Emshwiller’s The Secret City, a reprint of Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place, The Asimov’s SF 30th Anniversary Anthology, and, happily, Year’s Best Fantasy 7 by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. The only item on their list that I don’t quite ‘get’, and I never have, is the Tiptree Awards volume. I hope it’s an enormous success, but it puzzles me.

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  1. The Tiptree volume doesn’t follow an ‘annual’ approach. It does usually include the winner or winners, or a relevant excerpt. But that’s usually at most two stories. The remaining material is usually all over the shop. A mixture of old reprints – in this volume including an old Tiptree story and going back to about 1990 for a Le Guin story – and some original or reprint nonfiction.

    That’s what I mean about not making sense. It’s not an annual. It doesn’t just have fiction or nonfiction. It isn’t just reprint or just original. It’s more like a note back to the world at large from the latest Wiscon. It makes for a very odd book.

  2. The Nebula volume is what the Tiptree Award Anthology comes closest to, with its mixture of fiction and essays. We start with the winner (usually a novel excerpt; I’m not a big fan of novel excerpts in anthologies, but we’re sort of stuck with them), and the short fiction that is on the short list. We could conceivably have a year with a bookful of short fiction on the short list (there have been some years in the past where that would have happened), but usually there isn’t enough. The question at the very beginning was whether to use other stories from the year (making it more of a traditional annual) or to use stories from previous short lists. We decided to commit ourselves to the short-listed stories, with the goal of keeping the anthology series going long enough to reprint every short story that’s ever been on a short list.

    What I say in the introduction to the forthcoming Anthology 3:

    “We four anthologists then take the short fiction on the list and something out of the winning novel, and juggle it together with some nonfiction pieces and some stories from older short lists until we have something that feels like a book.”

    It looks pretty lumpy, I admit, but I hope it reads smoother than it looks.

  3. It’s not an annual, in the traditional sense. It’s a smorgasbord that we publish once a year. Current winners and really terrific stories that you may have missed the first time around. Non-fiction that informs and expands and explores the themes and issues of the fiction. It’s a book that creates a dialogue with the reader.

  4. I can sort of see that. I still don’t get it. I just don’t. I look at it, I see it, but it doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, just that I’m not the audience for it, I guess.

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