Friday, September 14, 2007

if i were to edit an anthology - the short list

I have narrowed my Long List of 40 writers down to 21 for the Short List while adding one that wasn't on my Long List.

The Short List (21) - In Alphabetical Order
Kage Baker
Elizabeth Bear
Tobias Buckell
Ted Chiang
Alan DeNiro
Louise Erdrich
Stephen King
Mary Robinette Kowal
Joe R. Lansdale
Kelly Link
George R. R. Martin
Alison McGhee
Mike Resnick
Chris Roberson
Nicholas Seeley
Lori Selke
Lucius Shepard
Rachel Swirsky
Karen Traviss
Carrie Vaughn
Connie Willis

The one addition to my Short List is an author who, as far as I know, has not published any short fiction. The novels she has written, however, have been outstanding. Alison McGhee. Between Rainlight and All Rivers Flow to the Sea, McGhee has proven herself to be one of my favorite authors in any genre. The lady writes good books. Period.

Half of this list was an easy list to come up with: King, Bear, Kowal, Chiang, Martin, Shepard, Lansdale, Selke. Easy in to the Short List. The rest had to argue with those authors left off the list. I think Karen Traviss brawled with Anne McCaffrey. Traviss is a bruiser. She might have taken out Margaret Atwood for being Canadian and Vandermeer for looking at her funny. I can't prove this, however, and I am not sure I would survive the investigation...and I'm the editor!

What I'm going to do between now and whenever is think about which ten authors I would invite (and pay outrageously) to write original stories for my anthology. It was originally going to be a zine, but screw it, I’m going all out and getting a hardcover release. Hey, it's my dream. Subterranean Press will publish it. Again, it's my dream.

A couple of days after I posted the Long List I also came up with a theme: Dead People. I think it could work, and maybe this is why Subterranean will need to publish it, but in my short fiction reading of the past year the stories which have most captured my imagination are the ones which featured Dead People as characters in some fashion. What I’m thinking of specifically is Lori Selke's story in Strange Horizons, though my writers here can do anything they want as long as they have dead people who can walk and talk and interact with the world in some fashion. The only thing I really don't want is a traditional zombie story. Not that sort of dead people. Try to avoid vampires, too. Not undead in the Anne Rice (or Charlaine Harris) sense.

Would this work for an anthology? Maybe. From a specialty press who would gussy up the production values for the book, have a smaller price run, signed by all the authors collected in the anthologies, numbered editions...that’s what I'd like to see.

I can scarcely imagine what some of these writers would do with general subject matter of the Walking, Talking Dead. Shoot, if I thought this was real I would salivate over the Joe Lansdale story.

I suspect I'll be very tempted to leave an eleventh or twelfth name on the list, but I must be strong. After all, this needs to be a sharp set of stories.

The Long List

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