Friday, May 14, 2010

I 4got a few things.... (Part 5)

I probly would never have continued my addiction as a science fiction fan w/o doses of annual BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR short-story collections edited by people like Terry Carr, Gardner Dozois, David Hartwell, Donald A. Wollheim....
I got hooked by Carr's collections early. By late 1973 I was addicted 2 his BEST #2, which Xposed me 2 stories I might notta found NEwhere else, like Graeme Leman's hilarious "Conversational Mode" & James Tiptree Jr.'s spacey & disturbing "Painwise." Carr was a really reliable editor -- could always B counted on 2 include at least a coupla award-winning stories in his books, + some overlooked gems U might never find otherwise. Over the yrs summa the great stuff he reprinted included George R.R. Martin's "Meathouse Man," Bruce McAllister's "When the Fathers Go," Barry N. Malzberg's best story "La Croix (The Cross)," Connie Willis's shocking "All My Darling Daughters," Kim Stanley Robinson's great alternative-Hiroshima story "The Lucky Strike," Philip K. Dick's "Frozen Journey," William Gibson's "Burning Chrome," & many more. Carr wrote great story-intros & got chattier as he went on....
Carr started-out co-editing an annual Year's Best w/ Donald A. Wollheim 4 Ace Books back in the '60s. I tripped over these early in my addiction. Among the greats they reprinted were Roger Zelazny's "For a Breath I Tarry," Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" (& mosta Harlan's other award-winners), Gerald Jonas's "The Shaker Revival," R.A. Lafferty's "Continued on Next Rock," Thomas M. Disch's "The Number You Have Reached," & more. Until the field opened up a little in the '70s, Carr & Wollheim Cmd like the place 2 go 4 the best stories. (Judith Merril had a wider range, but I didn't discover her Year's Best collections til much later.) But the team broke up in the early '70s. Carr carried on the high quality.
I thot Wollheim was a bit of a stick-in-the-mud on his own -- a good editor, but pretty conservative. Still, in his annual bests (started in 1972 w/ his own DAW Books company), Wollheim reprinted greats like Ellison's "The Deathbird" & "With Virgil Oddum at the East Pole," Michael Bishop's "Death and Designation Among the Asadi," Robert Silverberg's "Homefaring," Ted Reynolds' "Through All Your Houses Wandering," lotsa work by Tiptree, & more.
By the early '80s, Dozois was the man 2 go 2 w/ his HUGE Year's Best collections. These not only included TONS of stories (the series continues 2day), but a lengthy overview of the year in SF & a LONG list of Honorable Mentions. Among the greats he brot 2 my attn were Kim Stanley Robinson's "Green Mars," "Mother Goddess of the World" & "A History of the 20th Century with Illustrations," Lewis Shiner's "Love in Vain" & "Jeff Beck," Pat Cadigan's "It Was the Heat," William Gibson's "The Winter Market," Bruce Sterling's "Dori Bangs," Michael Swanwick's "The Dragon Line" & "The Edge of the World," Robert Silverberg's "House of Bones," Bruce McAllister's "Dream Baby," Karen Joy Fowler's "The Faithful Companion at 40," Gwyneth Jones's "Red Sonia and Lessingham in Dreamland," & many more.
A coupla yrs after Dozois got his big annual rolling, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling adopted the same 4mat 4 the same publisher & started their annual YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR, which also featured lotsa great stuff. Tho they sometimes repeated summa Dozois's choices, they also reprinted lotsa Xcellent short work by Kathe Koja, Dan Simmons' stunning "Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds," Michael Blumlein's "Bestseller," David J. Schow's "Not from Around Here," Greg Egan's "Scatter My Ashes," John M. Ford's "Preflash," Ian McDonald's "Unfinished Portrait of the King of Pain by Van Gogh," & many more.
I was also addicted 4 awhile 2 Karl Edward Wagner's YEAR'S BEST HORROR series 4 DAW Books, especially summa the later 1's where he got more adventurous, reprinting things like Gregory Nicoll's "Dead Air," twisted short pieces from tiny small-press magazines, & other off-the-wall stuff. But many of his choices never Cmd quite scary enuf, or I missed the point.
In the last decade, the place where I've bn turning 4 my short-fiction best-of fix is David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer's YEAR'S BEST SF, now up 2 about #15 in the series. They sorta strike me as like the Dozois annuals only on a smaller scale: U can actually carry the book around w/ U. They've reprinted greats like Rick Moody's "The Albertine Notes," Cory Doctorow's "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth," Alastair Reynolds' "Beyond the Aquila Rift," the Gwyneth Jones story listed above, & more. I keep looking 4 back issues -- which I had 1nce & stupidly sold-off when I needed $$$ a few yrs back -- but I don't C 2 many of the old Hartwell collections in used bookstores NEmore. MayB SF fans out there know how solid the books R.... I still look at the new annuals whenever they come out, at least long enuf 2 C who's on the contents pg ... even if I wait til they show-up at the 2nd-hand stores B4 I buy....

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