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The SCIFICTION anthology

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:23 pm:   

Well, it looks like we have a deal for Barnes & Noble to publish a print anthology of SCIFICTION stories.
The contracts are not yet signed so it's not "official" but it's certainly semi-official.
The book will be 275,000 words, which will allow me to reprint three novellas: two of our award-winners: "Goddesses" by Linda Nagata and "Over Yonder" by Lucius Shepard. I'm also reprinting Barry Longyear's brilliant "Silent Her," which I feel never received the attention it deserved the first time around.

I'm also including our other award-winning stories:
"What I Didn't See" by Karen Joy Fowler
"The Empire of Ice Cream" by Jeffrey Ford
"The Cure for Everything" by Severna Parks

I'm not absolutely sure of the rest of the line up but when I am, I'll post the TOC here.

B&N will publish the book in 2005.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 09:13 pm:   

Nice. Lookin' forward to that.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 12:13 am:   

Excellent news! :-)
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 04:13 am:   

Ellen, this is excellent news for two related reasons.

First, I'm a card-carrying member of the cult of the codex. SCIFICTION is one of the mere handful of non-paper print venues I look at. Having these stories in a book that feels, looks, and smells like a book--well, it will ease my reactionary mind. So much better than loose-leaf hard copy bound with a rusty paperclip.

And second, I have been recommending individual stories on SCIFICTION to friends and enemies for some time now, but I'm never convinced by their comments that they've visited the site. After all, with all the nearly-amusing things posted all over the Internet, who's got time to sit at one site and read a whole short story, much less a novella? Now I can put a book in their hands and grin smugly as their objections crumble. And if they refuse to read it, at 275,000 words, it will have the heft required for a handy bludgeoning weapon. I think this is a very good idea.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 05:54 am:   

Wonderful! I love Scifiction, but after I read about 1 short story online, my eyes start to cross. This way I could read for hours. ;)
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 06:29 am:   

This is a fantastic idea, Ellen. I'm really looking forward to it.
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Lou Anders
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 07:12 am:   

Vol. I perhaps?
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JJA
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 07:29 am:   

Just curious -- are the stories that get reprinted in the anthology going to be removed from the online archive?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:47 am:   

Thanks for all the positive feedback.
I'd love for it to be volume one--I guess it depends on how this one does for them. I'm sure we'll be calling it a "best of" although it might very not be. I'm more inclined to use the older stories than the newer ones this time around. Also, there are longer stories I'd like to use by authors but only have room for shorter ones.
The three novellas themselves take up over 82,000 words.

John, no they won't be removed from the archives. There's no need for it.
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Dawn B
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 10:04 am:   

Ellen, an older story I loved and really thought should have been up for some awards was Butler's Amnesty (http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/butler/butler1.html). Do you have room for that one? I guessing not as it runs about 10k, but it was such a good one and overlooked, I feel.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 02:16 pm:   

I'd been hoping to include that one Dawn, but fear I don't have the room. It's over 10,000 words, in fact.

I hope we'll do another volume and then I'll be able to use it.
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Jonathan
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   

I want it all, I want it all!!! Nice series of uniform volumes, by year, containing all of the stories from SciFiction. We need a campaign to get those wonderful stories off pixels and on to nice safe Library of Congress-approved ink dots where they belong. Till then, this happy news will suffice wonderfully. Many congrats!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   

Hey Jonathan,
I first envisioned them as a series --not necessarily everything but most--about 100,000 words per volume. But that's not what anyone went for. So for now I'm happy with 275,000 words to be published by B&N. It's really frustrating though-to have to cull. I'd prefer that the book be called "a selection" from rather than a Best of but I'm sure marketing will force the latter.
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Lou Anders
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 02:49 pm:   

How about "a random selection of stuff you might like"?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 09:42 pm:   

Well, unfortunately that won't sell the book :-)
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chance
Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2004 - 07:01 am:   

And we definitely want the book :-)
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Sarah Prineas
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 06:37 am:   

I want some John Kessel in there!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 07:49 am:   

Sarah, I'll be using Kessel's "The Baum Plan for Financial Independence."
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 07:10 am:   

I'll be looking for Nathan Ballingrud's "You Go Where It Takes You."
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 07:52 am:   

Neal,
It will be in the book.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 08:34 am:   

What about "A Walk in the Garden" by Lucius Shepard and "Eyes of America" by Geoffrey Landis?



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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 02:47 pm:   

Good news, Ellen. Oh, and I second Ahmed's nomination of Shepard's very cool war story. One more question: When in 2005? Any ballpark idea?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 03:33 pm:   

Ahmed,
I'm already using "Over Yonder" by Lucius. Since we're stuffing the first book (in the hopes that there will be more volumes) with award winners OY, which won the Sturgeon award, is going in).

I'm strongly considering "Eyes of America."

Neal, I think they want to publish next July.
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JeremyT
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 05:49 am:   

Was "Potawatamie Giant" ever reprinted anywhere?
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 06:36 am:   

Jeremy: I'm with you. A story by Andy Duncan would be great. There have been two, I believe and both are terrific.

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Charlie
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 09:33 pm:   

Jeremy, "The Pottawatomie Giant" was reprinted in the YBFH 2001.
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E Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 05:43 pm:   

Maybe you could call it something like Original Stories from SCIFICTION or SCIFICTION Originals. It sounds slightly more assured than "A Selection" and allows for additions in the future, SCIFICTION Originals Vol. II, etc. without the "Best of..." issue.

I'm not sure what marketing would think about this, but I personally think there are so many "best ofs" out there that unless it is one of the more established anthologies, "best of" doesn't have the impact it used to have. I think the name of the magazine is what will get recognition and draw people in, both now and in the future if there are more volumes.
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E Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   

Oh, I forgot to mention that I think this is a great idea to start having SCIFICTION anthologies. :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 09:47 pm:   

I'm pushing for calling it The Book of SCIFICTION. That leaves room for more anthos in a series and doesn't announce "best of," when it isn't necessarily that.

E Thomas--a best of a particular venue works fine generally --eg The Best of F&SF--I'm just not comfortable with the title.

The book will be co-branded--by SCIFI.COM and B&N books.

I'm using "The Pottawatomie Giant" again because it won the WFA.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

With all due respect to E Thomas, if I saw a book with the word "Originals" sharing space with the SciFi Channel imprint, I'd instantly assume it was an antho of poorly-written giant-snake-and-insect stories.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 02:08 pm:   

I hope that the overall package will make it clear that it's award-winning fiction from the website...

Since our designers will be creating the package and my boss and I will have final say on its look, it should be clear that the book isn't related to the Channel's shows.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 10:08 pm:   

Some of my favorites:

"The Children's Crusade"

"The Last Big Sin"

"Elvis in the Attic"

"The Wages of Syntax"
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Jonathan
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 03:42 pm:   

Ellen - I know there'd be no room to fit it into this first SciFiction anthology, but just for the record, one of my all-time favorite SciFiction stories is Elizabeth Hand's "Chip Crocket's Christmas Carol". If there was any way on Earth I could sneek it into my best novellas book I would. Someone should reprint that story. It's a wonder
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 07:44 pm:   

Jonathan,
It's already been reprinted in Liz's collection Bibliomancy.

It's also possible if we do another antho I could fit it in. it's only 4,000 words longer than the Nagata.
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E Thomas
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 06:43 pm:   

Ellen Datlow: I'm just not comfortable with the title.

Understandably. I even remember Gardner Dozois saying about his Year's Best something like the selections were the stories that he most liked on the day he made the list, that were the most diverse, that fit together the best, that he got the rights to, that weren't republished in too many other places, that weren't all from Asimov's, etcetera.

Neal, hmm, if it was SCIFI Originals I might think so, but not SCIFICTION. It sounds like the overall package will eliminate those issues. I really like the title that Ellen Datlow is trying to get through, The Book of SCIFICTION.
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Andrew J. Breitenbach
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 01:28 am:   

Please please please reprint Graham Joyce's wonderful "Partial Eclipse". It was the first story I read on SCIFICTION where I sat up and yelped "Holy CRAP that was good!" After it, I read SCIFICTION religiously -- before I'd read it when I had some time to squeeze it in. I still think it's a crime it wasn't nominated for a Hugo. It was better than what won (sorry Mr. Langford), and certainly better -- by a very wide margin -- than the other nominees.

I'm very thankful that "You Go Where It Takes You" will be reprinted. That story was astonishingly good.

Others I can think of I liked a great deal: "Flowers on Their Bridles, Hooves in the Air" by Glen Hirshberg, "The Man Who Counts" by William Barton, "Castaway" by Gene Wolfe, "The Discharge" by Christopher Priest, "The Dread and Fear of Kings" by Richard Paul Russo, "His Own Back Yard" by James P. Blaylock, "New Light on the Drake Equation" by Ian R. MacLeod, "The Lagan Fishers" by Terry Dowling, and "Hydrogen" by Michael Swanwick. Particulary the MacLeod and the Blaylock.

Anyway , can't wait to pick this puppy up when it eventually wends its way to ye locale B&N! Excellent!



Exuberantly,

Andrew J. Breitenbach
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 08:31 am:   

Andrew, Your wish has been granted :-)
Partial Eclipse is in the book.

Of the others, "Flowers on Their Bridles, Hooves in the Air" by Glen Hirshberg and "The Lagan Fishers" by Terry Dowling are also going in. I'm using Jim Blaylock's most recent for us "Hula Ville." If I can, I'm using stories that have not yet been reprinted. (or minimally).

If we do another volume I'm sure some of the other stories you mention will be in there.

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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 02:23 pm:   

Hey Ellen, is there a finalized TOC for this book yet?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 02:35 pm:   

Hi Nathan,
Since the book isn't even official yet (we're awaiting a new contract) I can't announce anything more. I'll reveal the TOC, once the contract is set.
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Patrick M.
Posted on Saturday, April 02, 2005 - 01:33 pm:   

How about SCIFICTION - Offline. Personally, I think calling it Originals and letting people think it is related to some of those shows to draw in the apparently decent sized population might be a good thing for them to discover that science fiction and horror gets better than All 'Gator weekend.

Those who know the genre, know Ellen and what she is printing even if it was titled "Monkey drives Toyota, more at 11:00." Getting the cheesy SF fans to read this stuff will only do them good. Why mock them? Why not exploit them?

Just a thought.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, April 02, 2005 - 06:41 pm:   

Patrick,
You'd be surprised at how many people come over and post in the SCI FICTION BB on our website, not realizing it's the fiction part of the site. So they might buy the book thinking the material is related to the tv shows anyway.
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E Thomas
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 03:13 pm:   

You'd be surprised at how many people come over and post in the SCI FICTION BB on our website, not realizing it's the fiction part of the site. So they might buy the book thinking the material is related to the tv shows anyway.

Do you gain any new readers that way?

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 04:25 pm:   

Not too many. But occasionally someone will say they didn't know there was fiction on the site.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 08:22 pm:   

There's movement on this and hopefully we'll have a contract in the next few weeks. More when I'm allowed to post.
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rick bowes
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 01:23 pm:   

I should live so long!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 02:28 pm:   

Ye of so little faith! I'm ashamed of you, Bowes.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 03:43 pm:   

How about Van Pelt's "Flock of Birds?" (Soon will be reprinted in his new collection, though, that we'll have out this summer).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 04:26 pm:   

Patrick,
It's not in this volume. Perhaps if we do another.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:32 pm:   

I bumped this back up to the top because it may become a reality in 2007. I won't say anything more than that an offer has been made, it's been verbally accepted by Craig Engler, and once we have contracts in hand I'll announce it more officially. It will be a small book --only about 80,000 words so I can't use any novellas at all. However, perhaps if this one makes the publisher happy, we'll do more of them.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:41 pm:   

Ah, good news! Congratulations, Ellen. And belated birthday wishes to you. Hope it was a pleasant one.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   

Thanks, Michael. Yes, it as lovely.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Sunday, January 07, 2007 - 08:42 am:   

Oh, that is good news.

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