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Summary: Themed Anthologies (small publishers), 2008 - The Elephant Forgets
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Summary: Themed Anthologies (small publishers), 2008


4. More themed anthologies (from smaller publishers)

This  category includes additional anthologies with obvious themes, but that came from smaller press outlets (and usually got less extensive distribution). (Though one might suggest that for example Seeds of Change, from Prime, or Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, from Subterranean, might have been listed with the "major" publishers.)

Seeds of Change, edited by John Joseph Adams;
Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, edited by William Shafer;
Paper Cities, edited by Ekaterina Sedia;
The Exquisite Corpuscle, edited by Frank Wu and Jay Lake;
Gaslight Grimoire, edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Pepotec;
Otherwordly Maine, edited by Noreen Doyle;
Spicy Slipstream Stories, edited by Nick Mamatas and Jay Lake;
Triangulation: Taking Flight, edited by Pete Butler.

Subtotals: 8 books, 98 stories (16 novelettes, 82 short stories (9 short-shorts)), about 518,000 words of new fiction. (There were a few reprints, particularly in Otherwordly Maine and Triangulation: Taking Flight.)

Stats: 40 of the stories were by women (41%), and 31 were SF (32%).

On the whole I think this is a good list of books as well -- further reinforcement to the idea that 2008 was an exceptional year for original anthologies.

Stories that particularly stood out for me: Patrick Rothfuss's "The Road to Levinshir" (Subterranean), a very entertaining fantasy (revised from a WOTF story, and from an episode in The Name of the Wind) about a "Traveler" (sort of a gypsy) encountering another group of travelers, and the unsettling discovery he makes; Gregory Feeley's "Awskonomuk" (Otherwordly Maine), in which a a hobbyist archaeologist, interested in the possibility that Leif Ericson’s people got as far south as Maine, inquires into the history of an Abenaki woman whose DNA suggests a snippet of European ancestry; "Red Sunset", by Bob Madison (Gaslight Grimoire), which pairs Sam Spade with Sherlock Holmes; "The Red Planet League", by Kim Newman (Gaslight Grimoire), which very funnily looks at Professor Moriarty (with the help of Sebastian Moran) taking revenge on a silly astronomer; "Revolt of the Ultraists!", by Richard Becker (Spicy Slipstream Stories), a very weird story set in a grungy future with a woman hiring a killer to revenge her brother's murder; "N-Words", by Ted Kosmatka (Seeds of Change), which takes a look at racism by examining the attitudes towards recreated Neanderthals; Tim Powers's "The Hour of Babel" (Subterranean), about a survivor of a terrible fire who decades later encounters time travelers interested in the disaster; William Browning Spencer's "Penguins of the Apocalypse" (Subterranean), about a divorded drunk who appears to meet a penguin which makes distressing demands of him; and Cat Rambo's "The Bumblety's Marble" (Paper Cities), in which a girl comes into possession of the title marble then meets a strange boy who claims the marble is his mother's heart.

I haven't specifically mentioned The Exquisite Corpuscle, partly because in a sense it can best be treated as a unit: the stories and artwork are linked, as the editors put it, almost like a game of telephone. That said, my favorite story in the book was Diana Sherman's "Summer Children", which is actually in the form of a play, about children who don't age. And Triangulation: Taking Flight isn't on the whole quite as good as the other books here, though there were fine stories from Amy Treadwell, Matthew Johnson, and Rachel Swirsky among others in the book.

Other nice work from these books came from Ekaternia Sedia, Carrie Vaughn, David Schwartz, Daniel Hatch, Barbara Hambly, Kristine Livdahl, Darren Speegle, Tobias Buckell, Cat Sparks, Jay Lake, and Barth Anderson.
 

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