February 4th, 2010

Summary: Anthologies for new writers, 2009

Anthologies for New Writers, 2009

I put this category in a couple years back when there were a few anthologies devoted, one way or another, to new writers. But the last couple of years it's just been one book -- the annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future collection. This year was the 25th, Of course I have reservations about the association of the Writers of the Future contest with Scientology, and for that matter I have reservations about Hubbard as a writer, but it seems to me that what they are doing in this particular area is a Good Thing. Plenty of writers I have the highest regard for, like Jay Lake and Nina Kiriki Hoffman, to name just two, have been promoted by this contest. I've met K. D. Wentworth, the current editor, and she's always seemed a nice level-headed person -- and a good writer. I know one of this year's winners a bit, Don Mead, and I talked to him about the contest -- no suggestion of religious proselytization, but some definite positive advice and help with the business and art of writing.

This year's book had 12 stories, 1 novella, 9 novelettes, 2 shorts, in the neighborhood of 125,000 words. 8 of the stories were SF, and 8 of the writers were men.

My favorites this year came from Gary Kloster: "The Farthest Born", about children on a colony planet being raised by virtually controlled robots; from C. L. Holland: "The Reflection of Memory", traditional fantasy about a woman who can't remember who she is and who goes on a long journey to learn her identity, perhaps in the end unwelcome news. Other nice work came from Donald Mead, Heather McDougal, and Gra Linnaea.

Summary: Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, 2009

Summary: Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, 2009

Lady Churchill's, which I have called the grandparent of a whole slew of variously interesting modestly produced little SF/Fantasy/slipstream 'zines, normally publishes two issues a year but only put out one in 2009. The shortfall was for a very good reason -- Gavin Grant and Kelly Link had a baby in February. Issue 24 included 9 stories, 1 novelette, the rest shorts, two of them short-shorts. Just about 44,000 words of fiction. Of course the 'zine also publishes some poetry and some nonfiction, such as Gwenda Bond's delightful advice column "Dear Aunt Gwenda" and a comic strip by Abby Denson. The longtime editors/publishers are Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link, but this year the cabal of makers (to use their words) included Jedediah Berry, Michael J. DeLuca, Sara Majka, Paul Bozzo, Kristen Evans, and Faune Albert.

My favorites this year were Dennis Danvers's "The Broken Dream Factory", about the title factory, which makes what it says, and its economic troubles; and Anya Groner's "The Magician's Keeper", about a girl kidnapped and kept as a love slave by a magician, and her difficulty readjusting after she's freed. Good work also came from Alexander Lamb and Jasmine Hammer, among others.

Stats corner: All of the stories were Fantasy this year. 5 of 9 stories (56%) were by women, a fairly typical proportion for the magazine.