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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 10:14 am:   

Well, once again, we here at Wheatland Press are just tickled to have been mentioned by the good folks at Locus...both Polyphony 4 and All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories made it onto the recommended antho list and American Sorrows is a recommended collection. A couple of individual stories also got mentioned, including Jeff VanderMeer's "Three Days in a Border Town."

Of course, what would these lists be if everyone didn't immediately start second guessing them right?

My second guesses:

Leviathan 4 should have been mentioned. Apparently it didn't arrive at Locus until December, so maybe not enough people saw it, but it's an important entry in the Speculative Fiction Meets Experimental Fiction area.

Also, I thought Wexler's Circus of the Grand Design was a very fine first novel. Is it possible that everyone treated In Springdale Town as his first novel?

Finally, it strikes me as odd that a Best of 2004 list would include "Best of 2003" anthos. As good as the Year's Best books are, they are surveys of the previous year. How can a survey of the previous year's work be among the best of the next year's work? Odd, very odd.



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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 10:29 am:   

I hadn't thought about the "Best of..." thing before. As much as I enjoy them, I normally don't vote for them so I guess I ignore them. :-) There are many things to second guess. I'm glad you mentioned Wexler's novel, since I felt there was something missing that I could not put my finger on, ditto Leviathan 4, which I have a copy of yet, but I know what's in it.

I always wonder at the list of editors, since there are people in the list who did not do anything in the past year. Rob Killheffer jumps to mind, and while I like Rob as a person, and I enjoy Century when it comes out, I don't remember seeing one last year, or anything that Rob may have edited.

But, congrats on the noms/recommended list garnerings! You certainly deserve the accolades you receive and then some!

JK
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:18 pm:   

I'll have to disagree about the Year's Best Anthos, since it's a recognition of the work as a whole, i.e. recognizing that the anthologists essentially created a new work by choosing the actual stories and assembling them in a particular order, even if the individual stories are reprints--not too mention the terrific year-in-review essays (in the case of Datlow, Link & Grant) And I'm not just saying that because I helped package the YBFH for four+ years back in the day. I think they deserve the same kind of recognition as an anthology that draws from old classic stuff (e.g. THE AMERICAN FANTASY TRADITION). IMNSHO

More importantly, congrats on your nominees, and bummer about Leviathan 4--haven't been able to get to it yet, because Sondi snarfed it up first!
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:27 pm:   

Yay! Minz is alive!

JK
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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:28 pm:   

Thanks, JK, Minz.

Hmmm...yeah, okay, I guess I can see Minz's point. The editors do mix their labor with the stories...and the essays are very good...

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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:30 pm:   

But isn't it better to vote for Polyphony...?

JK

:-):-):-):-):-):-)
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:43 pm:   

I didn't say they were better than the best originals (though looking back at some years, perhaps), but they certainly deserve to be included on a list that's not limited in scope.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:44 pm:   

Re the editor list--when Leviathan 3 was up, I complained to Mark Kelly about it because it seemed odd to be listed for best antho but not be on the dropdown for best editor. He explained that they just carry forward the list from the year before, usually. So it's entirely possible I'll be on there forever even if I never edit anything ever again. LOL!

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:46 pm:   

Leviathan 4 got to them in plenty of time--galleys went out well before. I think they just didn't cotton to it. Nothing new there. Leviathan 1 and 2 didn't make the list, either. Kind of surprising Leviathan 3 did. But I guess the point is--if Leviathan made the list every year, we'd be doing something wrong. Leviathan's gotta zig while others are zagging or it's repeating somebody in the field.

Thought Poly also did its own thing, but not as experimental, which is probably why Poly made it. The heart of genre is still the *heart* not the fringes.

JeffV
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:49 pm:   

Oh crap! Lev 4! Shit, I knew I forgot something. :-(

JK
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 01:59 pm:   

A year's best anthology should not be on the same list as original anthologies. They should fight it out in their own category or with the other reprint anthologies. It's a whole different ball game when you've got it narrowed down to stuff that's already been published.

JeffV
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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 02:07 pm:   

"It's a whole different ball game when you've got it narrowed down to stuff that's already been published."

That's the part that lead me to my original post about YB's anthos. I hate to advocate Category Proliferation, but reprint and original anthos are just not comparable in too many ways.

As for editors on the pull down...Jay and I are listed as a team this year...and I don't remember being listed before even when the other Polys were recommended.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 02:11 pm:   

Then maybe they systematized their approach this year.


Jeff
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 02:56 pm:   

Thanks for the votes of confidence on Leviathan 4, guys. That means a lot. I'm just stunned that not one story, novelette, or novella from the collection is listed. That's a travesty. The authors in Lev 4 deserve better.

And I agree with both Jeff and Deborah - reprint anthos and original anthos are not the same beast. One is not better than the other, but the compilation and intent of the two are different. They should be judged separately.
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 02:58 pm:   

And, yes, Robert's novel seems like a glaring ommission. Wasn't it given rave reviews by Rich Horton in Locus, or am I mistaken?

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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 03:30 pm:   

You guys think Locus has a system. Tee hee.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 05:24 pm:   

Hey, c'mon--let us speculate, Jonathan! It's more FUN that way!!! LOL!

Every year Locus leaves something off the list. The nature of such lists is imperfect, although a rigorous review of how and why and what might be in order every once in awhile...

JeffV
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 06:14 pm:   

Well, Jonathan, there's obviously some sort of system or the pull down menus wouldn't exist in the first place. That's not to say the system makes much sense, but there has to be some sort of system . . . doesn't there? :-)
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 06:20 pm:   

Well, I mean, they ask various sources for their input. They ask the year's best editors because they've obviously been going through all the material. They ask random "professionals" in the field. Etc.

JeffV
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 07:00 am:   

I agree that comparing reprint and original is definitely apples to oranges, though they are fruit (i.e. anthologies), as opposed to meat&potatoes (i.e. novels), and vegetables (i.e. individual short fiction). And since nobody seems willing to break the two types of anthos into separate categories, I warrant they both belong on the best of lists.

While I don't think it's really fair to ask voters to rank or choose the absolute best from a list that includes both orig and reprint anthos, because they are indeed very different and probably deserve their own separate subcategories, you have to include reprint anthos for consideration. They deserve recognition, and shouldn't be punished because the category is too limited.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 07:06 am:   

I agree with that, Minz--as it stands, there's no choice but to, and each new year of judges for, say, the WF Award, clearly decides whether they want to consider reprint anthos or not by their choices. But I'd think the year's best/reprint editors would welcome a separate category, especially since some of them do original anthos, too. Which means they're competing against themselves, sometimes canceling themselves out.

jeffV
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Jonathan
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 03:02 pm:   

I don't have an insider run on this, but I'm willing to bet one of the reasons reprint anthologies and original anthologies are in the same category is to limit the total number of categories.
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Deborah
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 05:44 pm:   

Yeah, I'm sure that's it, Jonathan. And really, the antho category is not as bad the magazine/fanzine category where voters are asked to compare e.g., Emerald City and FSF...that's not even apples and oranges...it's apples and tennis balls.



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Minz
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 06:10 am:   

Absolutely, Jonathan. And, in truth, there have plenty of years where it would be difficult to fill out both categories. In fact, the reprint category, in general, has a lot less competition in any given year. 18 years ago, there was no best of year fantasy at all (now there's three+), and individual reprint anthos are hot and cold in number published in a given year. And, of course, the proliferation of original anthologies is a relatively new phenomenon.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we are living in the Golden Age of Small Press. Enjoy it while you can, people.
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 01:55 pm:   

One last thought on the anthology category. This year (2005) we should see no fewer than eleven year's best anthologies published. Eleven! I think it will be a real struggle to meaningfully represent in a single category the balance between original anthologies, reprint anthologies, year's best annuals, and small press variations on all of the above. It's going to be difficult and very interesting.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 02:16 pm:   

Yes--I think it's actually kind of bad for everyone not to have two categories. I'm sure the awards administrators periodically re-examine the categories to see if they should create new ones, eliminate some, etc. It might be time to start thinking about this.

And for editors who do original and year's best or reprint anthos, they'll begin canceling out their own work, really, with just the one category.

JeffV
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 05:09 pm:   

True. I'll be interested to see how the market responds to all of these different year's bests. I know that Locus says that about 2400 original short stories were published in 2004, and I'm sure that there were far more than that actually published, so there's enough material to go into the books. Still, does anyone want three year's best SF's, three year's best fantasy's, two year's best horror's, as well as year's best novellas, young adult fiction, Australian fiction and so on. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot here, and I like these books myself, but is there an element of daze setting in?
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 11:37 am:   

Someone should pitch an anthology series -- Best of the Bests: Stories from the Annual Year's Best Anthologies, culling the best stories from those 11 volumes for a single book!

(Tongue in cheek here, of course, but the profusion of year's bests is becoming a bit overwhelming)
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JV
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 02:11 pm:   

Ooooh. Grand idea, Mr. Pratt. Take that tongue out of that cheek and get on it!

JeffV
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Deborah
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 04:19 pm:   

How about The Worst of the Bests?

I think I'd buy a volume with that title, but then, I have a cold and I'm not thinking clearly...

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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 05:53 pm:   

Then there would be multiple worst of the best and best of the best anthos, from which would spark other best-of, worst-of anthos, in turn starting a backlash directed toward finding the truly mediocre, which would provoke a movement, the new mediocre, and of course it would soon be considered the best, and the best of the new mediocre would be sought and anthologized...I see no reason this can't happen.

Get well, Deborah.

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