Terry Dowling, remember him?

It’s easy to get taken for granted. If you’re around for long enough, do good work for long enough, people come to assume that ‘of course it’s good’ when you do something new, and are only waiting for ‘this one’s great’. It’s how anything gets overlooked, and I think it’s what happened to Terry Dowling and the two new stories he did for his collection Basic Black, which was published last year by Cemetery Dance.

Dowling added “La Profonde” and “Cheat Light” to Basic Black, and it garnered great reviews in the US, with Publishers Weekly giving it a prestigious starred review. And yet, somehow, here at home not a whisper. So far, the collection has barely received a whisper of mention, and neither story has ended up on any awards ballots or in any year’s bests. Given that the stories are good, I can only assume that this is because we’re used to having a writer of Terry’s calibre around, and that we sort of taken it for granted that he’ll be good. I don’t know.

Anyway, this makes the news that Terry’s story “La Profonde” will appear in Datlow, Link & Grant’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection particularly welcome: something that’s only highlighted by his being the lead-off name on the cover. Clearly the book’s editors and publishers know that they’ve got something pretty special, and see it as an advantage in the US. Hopefully we’ll wake up and realise that soon too. Oh, and it’d be nice if someone would reprint Basic Black, which was out of print within several months of publication. Everyone should have a chance to see the book. Dowling was, is, and remains one of our very best.

Note: Because comments don’t appear on the main page, thought I’d add that you can get a galley of Basic Black for as little as $US7.00 and a hardcover for as little as $US29.00. Not too bad.

New Weird Tales editor…

The guys over at Wildside have announced that Ann VanderMeer will be the new fiction editor for Weird Tales. Ann’s done a lot of interesting editorial work over the years, from her days back when she was editing The Silver Web, on to her many collaborations with Jeff VanderMeer. I think she’s a really interesting choice. For my money, Weird Tales had really lost it’s way over the years, losing touch with the field that it played an incredibly important role in creating. Here’s to a fresh editorial eye coming in and giving the whole publication a fresh perspective: I can’t wait to see what she’ll do, I’ve no doubt it’ll be interesting.