Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Locus 2010 Year in Review - Anthologies

In a previous blog post, I wrote that my co-edited anthology Is Anybody Out There? (with Nick Gevers, Daw Books, June 2010) had made the Locus 2010 Recommended Reading List (RRL).

I observed after the RRL was posted, that there was mixed feelings from those whose work appeared on the list. Many, like myself, were pleased/excited/grateful/overwhelmed (select appropriate word depending on the individual's emotional level at the time) whereas others couldn't have cared less.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts as to why I was pleased upon learning that IAOT? was on the list.

Since I no longer subscribe to Locus magazine1, Felicity Shoulders, one of the contributors to the anthology, graciously provided me with all the relevant information in the February 2011 issue.

Here is Locus's introduction to the Anthologies category for the 2010 year in review:

We're recommending a total of 19 anthologies, down from last year's 26. We received 121, up from last year's 101. [FULL DISCLOSURE: People on our reviewing panel have edited some of these anthologies. They were not allowed to vote for their own books and received no special treatment.]

We split the anthologies in the way we list them, though not in the voting, between original, reprint, and Year's Best categories.

Original anthologies are the most important in that they are a major source of new short fiction. This year's 9 is a significant drop from last year's 13.

— Francesca Myman & Amelia Beamer

Nineteen recommended anthologies out of 121 received: that's less than 16% of the total -- and that total represents 20 more anthologies than were considered last year. So more anthologies were received this year than last, and yet only 9 original anthologies have been recommended over last year's 13 recommended titles. I realize I'm simply reiterating what Locus stated above, but I'm trying to emphasize my point here: Is Anybody Out There? is one of these 9 original anthologies -- the only mass market paperback -- and is listed among such heavyweights as The Way of the Wizard (John Joseph Adams), The Beastly Bride (Datlow & Windling), Black Winds (S. T. Joshi), Warriors (George R. R. Martin), Godlike Machines (Jonathan Strahan), and Swords & Dark Magic (Strahan & Lou Anders), among others -- and this is just the original category and doesn't include the year's best volumes and other reprint anthologies.

So, yes, I'm pleased that IAOT? was recognized by the powers that be at Locus, such that the anthology was included in the RRL. My hope is that more readers will learn about the anthology through Locus -- and Locus online -- and consider reading the stories contained therein.

Of course, in the "year in review" columns, each reviewer chooses his/her own way of recognizing any particular title. Sometimes the book garners a complete sentence, more often a phrase within a sentence, and occasionally the book is listed as merely one of a number of titles that the reviewer acknowledges. With that in mind, here is what each individual reviewer had to say about my co-edited anthology:

Francesca Myman & Amelia Beamer: "The search for intelligent alien life is examined in Is Anybody Out There?, edited by Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern (DAW): from Paul McAuley's introduction: 'the truth is likely to be far stranger than anything we can imagine and that's why it's important to imagine everything we can.'"

Gary K. Wolfe: "Other anthologies, usually theme-based, seemed designed to see what writers could do with some of the field's most time-tested conventions:...first contact (Is Anybody Out There?, Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern)...."

Gardner Dozois: "Is Anybody Out There?, edited by Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern, featured good work by Pat Cadigan, Jay Lake, Alex Irvine, Matthew Hughes, and others."

Jonathan Strahan: "These were not the only worthwhile anthologies of 2010, though. I also happily recommend...Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern's Is Anybody Out There?..."

Rich Horton: "DAW cut its schedule of original anthologies quite a bit in 2010 -- of those that appeared, the clear winner is Is Anybody Out There?, edited by Nick Gevers & Marty Halpern, an anthology of Fermi Paradox stories."

This last entry is from Locus online, Lois Tilton's 2010 Short Fiction Reviews in Review:

The "Fermi Paradox" anthology Is Anybody Out There? had David Langford's neat "Graffiti in the Library of Babel."

So there you have it. The Locus 2010 Year in Review as it pertains to anthologies, and specifically IAOT?

If you are new to this blog:
Right below the More Red Ink header logo at the top of the blog, you'll find a tab entitled "Is Anybody Out There?" that leads directly to a dedicated page. This page links to and summarizes all my blog posts on the anthology. Amongst these blog posts you will find the complete text to six of the stories included in the anthology -- the stories by Michael Arsenault, Pat Cadigan, Sheila Finch, Jay Lake, David Langford, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll take the time to read these stories, either now or later. But if you've gotten this far and wish to check out the stories now, here's the page link. Enjoy!


1 I subscribed to Locus for more than 20 years, but increasing philosophical differences with the magazine's content and disagreement with how the Locus Awards were managed compelled me to allow my subscription to expire a few years ago; nevertheless, this in no way detracts from my appreciation of and respect for the magazine's (and staff's) dedication and contributions to the sf/f/h communities. When I have requested information and photographs from Locus, over the years, for use on dust jackets and in this blog, the staff has always been forthcoming, for which I am grateful.

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