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?
The nominations for the 2009 Aurealis Awards have been announced and I’m delighted to say that Eclipse Two, Eclipse Three and The New Space Opera 2 have all been nominated in the Best Anthology category, along with Keith Stevenson’s x6 and Alisa Krasnostein & Tehani Wessely’s New Ceres Nights. I’d like to thank the judges, wish Keith, Alisa and Tehani well on the night, and thank all of the contributors and publishers of my books. Congratulations, too, to all of the other nominees.
La! It’s December. I know what December used to be like it. It used to be the slow, languorous lead up to Christmas. Back when I was single I completely escaped any responsibility for organizing anything. All I had to do was buy some presents, put in some $$s to cover costs and show up. Bliss. That meant that most of December was a gentle parade of parties and get-togethers, leading up to a period of prolonged self-indulgence interspersed with bloated relaxation. Bliss.
Well, it ain’t like that anymore, baby. I grew up a bit, I got married (happily) and had children (delightfully), and I also got a lot more work. A lot. Now a usual December is a period when I’m worried about getting the house together for the annual gathering of the clans, unsure if I’ll have time to see people, and completely stumped over what to get the ones I love for Christmas.
Or, that’s the usual December. This December is some sort of mad Quantum Mega December. I completely blew my project management specs for this year. Completely. I won’t bore you with the details (again), but basically I said yes to a lot of things and for one reason or another they all seem due now. Yay! I mean, it’s GOOD. It is. I love these projects. But I’ve got all the deadlines, plus we had two weddings, an end-of-term show, a possible car replacement, etc etc. I feel like I’m struggling to survive December, and the darn thing is just racing away from me.
That doesn’t mean things are bad. Not at all. They’re demanding, but not bad. Following from the happy thanksgiving moment the other weekend in the USA a lot of folk are doing ‘what I’m thankful for you’ or ‘what was great in 2009’ posts. I’d like to do something similar. I hope to. We’ll see.
Well, I’ve just delivered my fifteenth year’s best annual, and fourth in this current series, to my publisher Night Shade Books. There’s copyedits and stuff to do, but those should happen quickly as it’s due out in March. It’s a relief to get it done, and three days early. I will, as promised, post the ToC here shortly but am just waiting to clarify one or two more details. It shouldn’t be more than a day or so, though.
The nice people at Booklist have just published this review for Eclipse Three, which made me feel rather shiny.
Strahan, Jonathan (editor).
Dec. 2009. 304p. Night Shade, paperback, $14.95 (9781597801621).
REVIEW. First published December 1, 2009 (Booklist).
In a brilliant, wide-ranging anthology, Strahan presents stories by authors as diverse as Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Bear, and Paul Di Filippo. Ellen Klages contributes “Lotion,“ a story about imaginary numbers and the strange powers of math, in which a young girl discovers the magical potential of pure math. Ellen Kushner’s “Dolce Domum” is, perhaps, not about what its characters think it is. Bear’s “Swell” is a fairy tale about a musician seeking her voice, in which a mermaid’s gift is not as wonderful as at first glance it seems. Molly Gloss’ “The Visited Man” presents a lonely pensioner who lives upstairs from le douanier Rousseau and the relationship that develops after the painter brings the retiree a stray cat. As for the previous Eclipse anthologies, Strahan has picked stories whose authors care about both the craft of storytelling and the stories they tell. Each piece is distinctive and haunting.