After completing my copy edit of the Kameron Hurley novelette, I resumed work on my current project for Tachyon Publications -- volume two of anthology The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder.
Back in 2009, in celebration of sixty years of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Tachyon Publications released the anthology The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which contained 23 stories from some of the best names in the genre: Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen King, Karen Joy Fowler, Ted Chiang, and Roger Zelazny, to name just a few. I copy edited this initial F&SF anthology in March 2009 -- and now, nearly four years later, I had the opportunity to work on volume two.
Here's the Volume Two table of contents:
Introduction by Michael Dirda
"The Third Level" by Jack Finney (1952)
"The Cosmic Charge Account" by C. M. Kornbluth (1956)
"The Country of the Kind" by Damon Knight (1956)
"The Anything Box" by Zenna Henderson (1956)
"The Prize of Peril" by Robert Sheckley (1958)
"'—All You Zombies—'" by Robert A. Heinlein (1959)
"A Kind of Artistry" by Brian Aldiss (1962)
"Green Magic" by Jack Vance (1963)
"Narrow Valley" by R. A. Lafferty (1966)
"Sundance" by Robert Silverberg (1969)
"The Attack of the Giant Baby" by Kit Reed (1976)
"The Hundredth Dove" by Jane Yolen (1977)
"Jeffty Is Five" by Harlan Ellison® (1977)
"Salvador" by Lucius Shepard (1984)
"The Aliens Who Knew, I mean, Everything"
by George Alec Effinger (1984)
"Rat" by James P. Kelly (1986)
"The Friendship Light" by Gene Wolfe (1989)
"The Bone Woman" by Charles de Lint (1993)
"The Lincoln Train" by Maureen F. McHugh (1995)
"Maneki Neko" by Bruce Sterling (1998)
"Winemaster" by Robert Reed (1999)
"Suicide Coast" by M. John Harrison (1999)
"Have Not Have" by Geoff Ryman (2001)
"The People of Sand and Slag" by Paolo Bacigalupi (2004)
"Echo" by Elizabeth Hand (2005)
"The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates"
by Stephen King (2008)
"The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu (2011)
Each of these 26 stories is a classic in its own right.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know I have a penchant for the humorous, sardonic story -- and R. A. Lafferty's "Narrow Valley" fits this requirement perfectly.
In 1893 the remaining 821 Pawnee Indians were given land allotments of exactly 160 acres; they were to live on the land and pay taxes, "the same as the White-Eyes did." But Clarence Big-Saddle had other ideas, and performed a Pawnee chant over his land: he had no plans to ever pay any taxes.
"Clarence Big-Saddle lived on his land for many years, and he paid no taxes. Intruders were unable to come down to his place. The land was sold for taxes three times, but nobody ever came down to claim it. Finally, it was carried as open land on the books. Homesteaders filed on it several times, but none of them fulfilled the qualification of living on the land."
Then one day, many decades later, the Rampart family arrived in town and filed paperwork on this one tract of land that still remained open. After filing the paperwork at the courthouse, they climbed back into their camper and headed to the property, all 160 acres of it.
The easiest route to the property was through the short pasture belonging to cattle and wheat farmer Charley Dublin. So the Ramparts stopped at Dublin's house, and he escorted them to their property:
"Well, Rampart, this is the fence and the end of my land. Yours is just beyond."
"Is that ditch on my land?" Rampart asked.
"That ditch is your land."
And that's just the beginning of this 5,300-word treasure.
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume Two will be published in July, but why wait: preorder your copy now.