Anthology work

A thought: over the past year I’ve come to realise how little I understand the art of editing anthologies, how much I’ve learned about doing it, and how much there is still to learn.  The whole management of the editing process is a delicate thing, and I continue to puzzle over it.  There’s editing stories, sequencing books and so on.  My current obsession has become truth in advertising. I’ve frankly made mistakes — honestly, but still mistakes — when it comes to the presentation of books: matching titles to covers to contents to themes to introductions and so on.  I’ve been forming some very strong views on how ‘truth in advertising’ impacts on these things, on how you should deal fairly with readers, and so on.  It’s an interesting process.

World Fantasy

Over at John Klima has raised some discussion of World Fantasy Convention.  He refers to the estimable Chris Roberson’s comment that “World Fantasy is the hub around which my year turns.”   John talks about developing projects, making contacts and so on, and there’s no doubt that’s part of the event (and I’ve certainly done all of those things). But, it made me wonder why World Fantasy is my absolute no-fooling hands-down favorite convention in the world.  I attended my first World Fantasy in Washington DC in 2003, then Madison in 2005, Saratoga in 2007, and now Calgary in 2008.  I loved them all, and will definitely be in San Jose next year and in Columbus too, if I can.  Why?

It’s tricky.  I know people who prefer fan-oriented conventions prefer WorldCon  (Jo Walton says as much on and it was said to me in Calgary by a couple people).  I can certainly respect that.  I find WorldCon too big.  I can’t find people when I want to and spend time rattling around at loose ends.  I find I can’t travel to the other side of the world to rattle around – I’d rather go to Swancon or Conflux for the fan experience.  At World Fantasy I can get the pro experience.  Not networking, which I’ve lost interest in.  Not working on projects.  Not making sales.  I see my agent for an hour maybe (we’re on opposite sides of the world so an annual catch up is worthwhile), but otherwise just see friends for dinner, hit the bar, and hang out.  The pro experience I crave, and that makes World Fantasy so wonderful for me is that there’s a conversation I can have there that I can’t have anywhere else in the world.  At each WFC I’ve attended I’ve had, for example, occasions to sit down and talk with various people who do exactly what I do; to share experiences and learn from people who know more.  Now that I edit anthologies, having the chance to talk about them with Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow, David Hartwell or whomever as colleagues is wonderful, enormously valuable.  All the rest of it is fun, and I’d go to WFC just for that, but that kind of thing is something I can’t get anywhere else.  So, WFC is always on my agenda.

I’ve been pondering this blog in the odd quiet moment, this past few weeks.  I arrived home from Oakland last Thursday.  Marianne headed off to Staten Island that Sunday, and I’ve been taking care of the family stuff since.  Hence, the occasional lack of timely responses from my corner of late.  Anyhow, I was thinking that the blog has very few readers.  This is entirely fair.  I don’t post here much, and when I do, it’s not of the greatest import, so other things make for better reading (like everything else in life, you get out of a blog what you put into it).  I’m not interested in generating faux controversry, as some of the younger bloggers seem to like to, and I don’t really want to gossip or air the details of my business.  So,  I’m continuing to ponder.   Having few readers is a kind of freedom, though. If I get interesting, then I’d have to keep being interesting.  Who needs the pressure…

And how are things here?  I just abandoned C.J. Cherryh’s Cyteen sequel, Regenesis.  I’d read about 250 pages of its closely detailed interpersonal relationships and couldn’t find the desire to continue.  I’d taken a break to read Ken Scholes’ second novel, Canticle, which I really enjoyed (you need to read this guy – buy his collection and snap up his first novel when it hits the stores early next year), and was more interested in reading the new Dan Simmons, which had just fallen through the door. I might come back to it.

On the work front, Eclipse Two should be on the shelves very soon. I’ve seen reviews from Locus and The Fix, all of which were gratifyingly positive, but none of which I agreed with completely.  I’ve just finished The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 3 and most of my work on The New Space Opera 2 for the moment. I’m currently reading a terrific John Kessel space opera and a story from Conquering Swords.  I’m also negotiating a couple other books, so busy.