The Road to the Year’s Best

It was just pointed out that my publisher, Night Shade Books, have added a pre-order page for The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 3 to their website, and I was just asked if I have a table of contents for the book. I’m guessing this query, which is in comments for another post, came because the Night Shade page mentions that there’ll be two dozen stories in the new book.

The truth is that I’m only a ways along the long and windy road to completing the year’s best. I’m in the middle of reading, and have a short list of stories – some that I already know definitely will be in the final book and some that may. I still have a bunch of things to read, and am yet to see major anthologies like Fast Forward 2 and Firebirds Soaring. I’m also waiting on the final issues of the magazines for the year, and am yet to do any real re-reading. I also need to scope out publications like McSweeney’s and Conjunctions, which I’ve not seen much of yet.

So, where to from here? Well, I should have a near-final table of contents in the first week of October. I’ll probably send out the first contracts then. By mid-October I’ll have have a final ToC, and be writing the main volume introduction and story notes. And, by November 5 (which feels perilously soon), I’ll have handed in the manuscript and be looking to do some catch up reading for the Locus Recommended Reading issue. Based on my previous year’s bests, I’d guess 24 stories is about right for volume three, but we’ll see.

I am pleased that the pre-order page is up, though. I’m hoping the book will do well.  Oh, and if you, dear readers, have any story recommendations (especially from places like McSweeney’s, The New Yorker etc etc) I’d love to hear them.


I’ve been on leave from work since the afternoon of Friday, 25 July.  That’s a month ago.  Today felt like the first real day I’ve had off, though.  When I started my break I was getting ready to go to Denver, then I was in Denver, then I was in the bit after Denver where I worried about health and stuff.  Well, that’s all laid to rest and this morning I met up with my brother for coffee and a chat, then with the family for lunch, then did some idle shopping.  I’ve really done nothing much, and it’s what I need.  I’m very aware that there’s a lot of stuff I need to do, and I intend to get to it Monday (I’m shifting my editing work onto my regular work schedule and taking the time I was editing as holiday time). I apologise if I’m late writing to you, owe you a proposal or something – it’s not that I don’t value it or take it seriously, it’s just that I need a little time.

Starry again…

I’ve been dying to go public about this for a while, but I wanted to make sure it was all solid before I did.  I am DELIGHTED to announce that I have sold a follow-up anthology to The Starry Rift to Sharyn November at Viking Penguin.  Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier is a young adult science fiction anthology that takes as its leaping off point that we do go to Mars in 2040, as announced by George Bush last year.  Some of my favorite writers will create stories somewhere in the timeline of that future Mars.  It should be a terrific book. It won’t be out till some time in 2010, but if The Starry Rift is anything to go by it will be beautiful.  I’m also delighted to be working with Sharyn again, who is one of my favorite people.

Status update

Well, had the echo stress test done and, according to the doctor and technician there it’s all clear.  It’s still got to be examined by a cardiologist and I still need to see my own doctor, but it looks like I’m not dying any faster than most of the rest of you.  This is good news, and a relief.  Added to the news that I got my job, things have been good since I got back from Denver.  I can’t believe I’ve been on leave for three weeks already, though. Gack. Still things are going well, which is nice. I’m thinking relaxing tomorrow would be good.

Weird week

This is a weird week. I got some good news yesterday. I got my job! I went through all of that drama with the application and interview, and it turns out I impressed. Many, many thanks to all that helped out with that. Now I just need to live up to the interview.

The reason it’s been a weird week is that I have leftovers from previous weeks to clear out before I feel like I’m on leave. First, I have an echo stress test on Thursday. This is a good thing. After the high blood pressure diagnosis I need to show that there’s nothing seriously amiss with the cardiovascular system. When feeling mature and level-headed I’d tell you that there is nothing wrong, but, who’s mature and level-headed all the time? Also, I’ve been suffering the occasional headache and feeling a bit dizzy on occasion, but these are listed as side-effects of the blood pressure medication I’m on. So, hopefully I’ll get the all-clear and then talk to the doctor about (a) the medication and (b) the weight loss program. I’m not thinking too much about the alternatives here, though. Second, I’ve not gotten to the house yet. We need furniture for our lounge room. We went looking today, and will probably again tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll have a good solution in place before Marianne heads East for New York. One of my main goals for my leave remains being able to sit in a finished lounge room and reading a book there for the time before I got back to work. Third, I have a bunch of projects, all of which are grabbing some of my attention. I’m reading and editing and soliciting – all pretty much at the same time. I’m also developing some new projects, so it’s nonstop.

What else has been going on? Well, I’ve been taking the Sony Reader out for a pretty serious run. I went with Charlie and Aaron’s recommendation and, apart from the fact that I think the screen could be a bit bigger and that I may want to by a light for it, I’m well pleased. I’ve also been reading the new issue of Postscripts. It’s a monster triple issue they put out for WorldCon. I dropped the .rtf of it onto the Reader when I was in Oakland and have been working my way through it. Nothing less than solid, but so far Alex Irvine’s story “Shad” stands out.  Irvine made a real impact when he came along, then sort of dropped into the background.  Right now he’s shaping up as one of the more interesting writers out there, though.  Hmm.  I also went to see The Dark Knight (good, but too long), and bought the Fleet Foxes cd (which is way cool).

Not sure what’s on for the rest of the week.  I’ve been thinking about contributing to a new group blog, but have real doubts.  I’m also working with two new reviewers for Locus. Not sure when that’s going to be public, but I’m very happy with the way it’s playing out right now.

Oh, there is one other thing: my sincerest condolences to my Locus colleague and friend Amelia Beamer, and her family. Amelia’s father-in-law died unexpectedly in London.  It must have been a terrible shock, and people have been rallying around her family as they do.  My thoughts are very much with them.