I occasionally post to the Asimov’s Forums, an interesting message board owned and run by the good folk who publish Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I confess, though, that I don’t check in there often, and I also am lousy at keeping track of usernames and passwords for things like message boards.
Given that, I thought I’d grab a question raised by the estimable Fabrice D. about Eclipse Four. Many moons ago, on their Original Anthologies – 2010 thread, he asked:
What will be the flavour of Eclipse 4? [The first three being three very different books, my favourites in the “3” being, on the SF side: “It takes Two” (that will probably end on my Hugo nomination ballot ), “Useless Things” and “Galapagos”. On the fantasy side: “Sleight of hand”, “The Pretender’s Tourney” and of course (being a Frenchman and an admirer of Rousseau’s paintings), “The Visited Man”].
A good question, indeed. When Jason Williams and I first conceived of the Eclipse series the idea was to produce a very broad series of books that simply gathered together ‘good stuff’.
The first volume was very much that sort of thing, I think, but it lacked a consistent feel or focus. The second volume was pushed very much towards SF, as I’ve discussed here before. The third volume was different again. Responding to the criticism the series had received, I cast my net wider and ultimately I think produced a better book. It’s less centre-of-genre in many ways, but has a consistent feel to it and an overall high quality of stories that helped make it the most successful volume, critically and commercially, so far.
Given that it’s also the one I’m happiest with overall, my intention is to very much continue the series as a follow-on from Eclipse Three. The volume I’m working on now, Eclipse Four, is intended to be a direct follow-on from that book. It will feature some of the same writers, and hopefully will feel similar to Three. I’ve already bought stories for it from Andy Duncan, Emma Bull, Gwyneth Jones, Peter M. Ball, and others, and am waiting on a stack of submissions so I can wind it up by Christmas, and get it ready for May 2011. When it’s done I’ll definitely get a ToC up here. Hope that answers the question.