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Summary: Series anthologies (unthemed), 2007 - The Elephant Forgets
ecbatan
Summary: Series anthologies (unthemed), 2007

Summary: Series anthologies (unthemed), 2007

One of the really positive developments in 2007, to my mind, was the appearance of no fewer than four unthemed anthologies, each seemingly aimed at becoming a long running series in the mode of Star or Orbit or New Dimensions or Universe. These were:

Fast Forward 1, edited by Lou Anders;
Eclipse One, edited by Jonathan Strahan;
The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, edited by George Mann;
The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, edited by George Mann.

Subtotals: 4 books, 67 stories (1 novella, 23 novelettes, 43 short-stories (3 short-shorts), about 460,000 words. 1

Stats: 8 of the stories were by women (27%), and 41 were SF (61%).

As a group these books featured some of the best SF of the year. I will say, though, that the anthologies I thought the very best this year all had themes, albeit fairly expansive themes: The New Space Opera, Wizards, The Coyote Road, Logorrhea. I think these new anthology series need a little time to settle in, to establish reputations and, perhaps, stables of authors, much as the top previous series did.

The best stories from these volumes include Ken MacLeod's "Jesus Christ, Reanimator" (Fast Forward 1), one of the best stories of the year. It's a Second Coming story, and smart and cynical and even surprising. Also from Fast Forward 1, Paul Di Filippo's "Wikiworld", another of his utopian economic fantasias, this one about a world in which stuff gets done on the "wiki" model, Light-hearted, imaginative, fast-moving, sweet: lots of fun. From Eclipse One, I really liked a very strange Bruce Sterling piece, "The Lustration", about an isolated planet on which the inhabitants have built and maintain an entirely wooden, world-spanning, computer; and also Peter Beagle’s "The Last and Only; or Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French"; an utterly charming tale of a man in California who slowly, but quite completely, becomes French. From the Solaris SF book, my favorite piece was James Lovegrove’s "The Bowdler Strain", a very amusing satirical story about "logoviruses", which change the way people speak -- as seemingly (?) innocently as making impossible to use profanity, or much more distressingly, such a horror as the virus called Windbag. And from the Solaris Fantasy volume, "Lt. Privet's Love Song", by Scott Thomas, in which a mixup involving a love potion is intertwined with succession issue in a kingdom whose heirs are twin brothers

Other strong stories from Fast Forward 1: Robert Charles Wilson's "YFL-500", Tony Ballantyne's "Aristotle OS", and Ian R. MacLeod's "Sanjeev and Robotwallah". From Eclipse One: Ysabeau Wilce's "Quartermaster Returns", Margo Lanagan's "She-Creatures", Maureen McHugh's "The Lost Boy: A Reporter at Large", Lucius Shepard's "Larissa Miusov", and Eileen Gunn's "Up the Fire Road". From the Solaris SF book: Mary Turzillo's "Zora and the Land Ethic Nomads", Stephen Baxter's "Last Contact", Keith Brooke's "The Accord". From the Solaris Fantasy book, Mark Chadbourn's "Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast", Jay Lake's "A Man Falls", and Jeff VanderMeer's "King Tales". Other fine work came from the likes of Elizabeth Bear, Garth Nix, Ballantyne again, Jay Lake and Greg van Eekhout, T. A. Pratt, and Jeffrey Ford.

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Comments
random_alex From: random_alex Date: February 2nd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I adored the Baxter - one of the more original ideas explorations of 'contact' I've read in a while. I agree that both the Macleod and Di Filippo stories were also very cool!
From: ex_benpayne119 Date: February 2nd, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haven't read Eclipse yet, but I found Fast Forward and the Solaris SF books both had a lot of good stories in. The Solaris Fantasy volume I liked less, but there were a couple of really good stories in it too.

Will be very interesting to see how these series develop.

My general impression was that a lot of the best stuff last year was published in anthologies...
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