Friday, November 10, 2006


There are some books just out in the last few months that I'd like to pimp. BUT, this is NOT pimpage without honesty, as you'll see below...



First off, there are waay too many year's best anthologies out there, but I suppose you can make the case that you now, as a reader, have the opportunity to pick-and-chose between contributor lists, covers, etc.

Secondly, I'm recommending the fantasy year's bests not because my own "Farmer's Cat" is in the three below, but because of the other work in them. I'm firmly of the belief that if not for my success over the past few years, "Farmer's Cat" would be considered a cute, nice story, but certainly not put in a year's best. However, given that over the years, until "Three Days in a Border Town," I only ever appeared in Stephen Jones' horror year's best, I certainly wasn't going to turn it down. It's just ironic, is all, that I could write "Bone Carver's Tale" and a ton of others that didn't make a year's best and then I write a slight if clever troll story and the damn thing is everywhere. Go figure.

Thirdly, "Lost" appears in the Prime best horror volume and I AM plugging that antho because I'm in it. "Lost" got no play anywhere, but I think it's one of my better stories, and very happy to see it reprinted. (Don't get me wrong--also happy to see "Farmer's Cat" reprinted, it's just...weird, is all.)

Fantasy: The Very Best of 2005, Edited by Jonathan Strahan, Locus Publications
Jonathan recovered from some very crappy events in order to get this volume and it's companion volume, Science Fiction: The Very Best of 2005, out through Locus Publications. There are awesome stories included by Jeffrey Ford, Theodora Goss, Bruce Sterling, etc.

Year's Best Fantasy 6, Edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, Tachyon Publications

Glad to see the periennially underrated Liz Williams in this handsome edition, as well as work by Heather Shaw, Delia Sherman, the awesome and dapper Gavin J. Grant, and many more.

Horror: The Best of the Year, Edited by John Betancourt and Sean Wallace, Prime Books

Just a few of the highlights in this volume include Richard Bowes's "There's a Hole in the City," Caitlín Kiernan's "Le Peau Verte", and Joe Hill's "The Cape

Best New Fantasy, Edited by Sean Wallace, Prime Books

Highlights include stories by Laird Barron, Christopher Barzak, Jay Lake, Kelly Link, Nick Mamatas, Holly Phillips, and Sonya Taaffe. This volume focuses on hot new writers. Which cracks me up a bit. I'm 38, been published for over 20 years, and have more barnacles on my rusty hull than the Flying Dutchman.


Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, Edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, Tachyon Publications

Work by Aimee Bender, Michael Chabon, and George Saunders alongside stuff by Howard Waldrop, Jeffrey Ford, and Ted Chiang. A very impressive line-up. I'm not sure that the contents really define slipstream, but the editors have done a good job of provoking discussion about same. My story included is "Exhibit H," an early Ambergris piece that I just cut from the Secret Life Remix as being too slight, but otherwise this is a good collection.

Out of Time and Space and Lost Worlds by Clark Ashton Smith, Bison Books

I'm getting a lot of strange offers these days. One was doing new intros for two classics by Clark Ashton Smith. I told Bison Books I wasn't the biggest fan of Smith--that I had reservations about his work. They still wanted the introductions. So I went ahead and did them. Basically, I express in these introductions that I love Smith's imagination but think his prose sometimes sucks. And that I prefer his stories that are basically building up odd settings with a minimum of dialogue. Also, that in an odd way Smith's an Outsider Artist of a kind, and that what seemed like commercial pulp back then is actually deeply strange and non-commercial in the current context of fiction. These are lovely looking editions and if you're a Smith hardcore fan, you can always skip the intros.


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous kellys said...

Jeff, your honesty is always refreshing.

So we've got a hundred "Best Of" anthos to choose from. Now a bunch of reprints of C.A. Smith's work to choose from (I'm thinking of the forthcoming Night Shade series). What the hell's a reader to do?

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Nicole said...

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