Tallying the Bests

Mark Kelly, posting about the recently released Locus Poll and Reading List, wrote:

The online Locus Poll ballot is up … Special this year is a category for ‘best all-time fantasy story’ … Jonathan Strahan was the inspiration behind this category, and I’ll leave it to him to comment more about it in his blog.

Um, okay. I hadn’t really planned on saying much about it, but I always try to be responsive to suggestions. As a lot of you know, I spent some time last year working on The Locus Awards anthology. It was a lot of fun, and took into account not only results of the Awards but of various polls we’d done. I noticed, in looking at past polls, that we’d never specifically asked about fantasy short stories and though it would be interesting to see what readers thought were really excellent and important stories. I’m not sure what’s been written up in the magazine, but I had in mind stories published between 1900 and the present day. Hopefully the poll will give an interesting overview of what the magazine’s readers think are the best, the most important, the most enjoyable fantasy stories of the modern era.

accents (without umlauts)

I remember someone once told me that you couldn’t hear someone’s accent when they were singing. It struck me as an odd, and not entirely accurate observation. After all, how could you account for the heavily Australian accent of Mick Thomas if that were true. I then heard Missy Higgins, who sounds so Australian it’s almost caricature. I mean, her big hit is “Scaah” (Australians are suffering a chronic shortage of the letter “R” and try to use it economically, if at all) and refers to ‘moi noightloight’ (my nightlight) in one song. Sounds good, if kinda weird.

Who’s Laughin’ now?

Brad Denton writes wickedly wonderful books. If you’ve read Blackburn, Lunatics, or Buddy Holly is Alive and Well and Living on Ganymede, you’d know that. His most recent books have been published by St Martins, but the Subterranean Press site lists a new novel, Laughin’ Boy, as being due out this year. The description for it reads:

America at the end of the Twentieth Century was a dangerous place. It was a place conceived in liberty, yet threatened by the forces of oppression and evil. It was a place where fanatics–political and religious, foreign and domestic–sharpened their swords to attack an innocent populace whose love of freedom was matched only by its lack of irony. It was a sick place in need of sick heroes. And so they came: PORNO GIRL, whose consumption of filth was merely a disguise to conceal her purity of soul… THE RACIST RANGER, whose repugnant jibber-jabber masked the fact that his strength was as the strength of ten… And Danny Clayton, the infamous LAUGHIN’ BOY — born in tragedy, caught in a despicable act — who would become both the most beloved and most hated man on earth. In other words: Its Savior. Or not. It would depend on whether he lived long enough for the rest of us to find out.

I hope it sells really well for Sub Press and gets a mass market edition. Either way, I can’t wait to see it.

Top 40

Sometimes things just leave you nonplussed. Pleased, but nonplussed. I was out browsing the web last week and saw that Asimov’s had posted Jim ‘Casey Kasem’ Kelly’s latest On the Net column, and that it was about blogs. In amongst the article, Jim names his top 40 blogs based on the criteria that ‘the posts be interesting, regularly updated and touch on genre, at least occasionally’. I was flattered, grateful, and more than a little surprised to see this blog on the list. It weas coo- … Um, very pleasing and rewarding.

Incoming parrots

I’ve edited a quarterly semiprozine, a one-shot critical ‘zine, some convention/conference materials, and nine reprint anthologies over the past ten years or so. They all have there own pitfalls and rewards, and I’ve enjoyed doing them. Currently, though, I’m working on my first ever, solo original anthology. It’s an exciting idea and I love the project, but until the last few days I’ve been feeling a tad stressed because I’ve not actually received any submissions and the book is due in mid-year.

As you can imagine, I’ve been very happy and more than a little relieved, to see the first submissions trickle in, and they’re good. If (if!) things hold steady, this is going to be a wonderful book.