This past week the good folk over the The A.V. Club posted a list of their ten best short-story collections of the 00’s. After presumably much deliberation, they chose: George Saunders Pastoralia, Charles Stross’s Toast, John Crowley’s Novelties & Souvenirs, Alice Munro’s Runaway, Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners, Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things, Deborah Eisenberg’s Twilight Of The Superheroes, Lore Segal’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts, and John Updike’s My Father’s Tears And Other Stories.
That got me to thinking. If The A.V. Club named five genre collections amongst their top 20, what would I come up with if attempted to assemble a list of the top ten genre collections of the decade? I got to thinking, then I began looking through lists and making notes. In the end I think I considered three hundred or so collections (as my starting point I used Locus’s annual recommended reading list as an aide de memoire), and then began whittling it down.
My criteria for the list were simple. The collections had to be outstanding on every level. They had to be science fiction, fantasy, or horror. They had to be original collections. I deliberately excluded major career overviews like The Complete Stories of J G Ballard, which are wonderful, but which strike me as different things. And I had to love them. That left me with the list below…
- Beluthahatchie and Other Stories, Andy Duncan (2000)
- Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang (2002)
- Black Juice, Margo Lanagan (2005)
- 20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill (2005)
- Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link (2005)
- The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (2006)
- Map of Dreams, M. Rickert (2006)
- Pump Six and Other Stories, Paolo Bacigalupi (2008)
- Oceanic, Greg Egan (2009)
- Cyberabad Days, Ian McDonald (2009)
Although I could argue over details, and did consider annotations and explanations, I thought I’d leave the list as is. I’m curious, too, to hear what you think I missed?