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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Best American Series for Science Fiction and Fantasy

This week the Best American Series, published by Houghton Mifflin, announced that they have started a brand new series to go with their extensive catalog of books that annually highlight the best in American Short Fiction and Nonfiction.  The new series will be-- The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy.

From the official press release:
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor—a leading writer in the field—then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind. 
Now, with Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, series editor John Joseph Adams will curate a new anthology series that will demonstrate what science fiction and fantasy literature is capable of—that will demonstrate that science fiction and fantasy is more than just retreads of Star Trek and Star Wars, that it is the genre of Flowers for Algernon and Fahrenheit 451, of The Man in the High CastleThe Book of the New Sun, and A Canticle for Leibowitz, that it is the genre of Wild Seed and The Left Hand of Darkness, and of Little, Big and The Sparrow and Dhalgren
Fans of the genres know that the finest science fiction and fantasy is on par with the finest works of literature in any genre, and the goal of this anthology series is to prove it.
The 2015 volume will collect the best material published in 2014, selected by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Joe Hill.
Click through for more information.

First, a general note about the over all series.  “The Best American” series is perfect for public libraries.  The series are well curated with best selling guest editors to attract patron attention, so you have good stories with big name attention all in one annual volume.  They are also a cheap and easy way to introduce patrons [and yourself] to the best writers in a genre especially new writers who may not have published a novel yet.

I order all of the fiction [and the comics] collections for the BPL and we tend to keep the current 3 years editions on the shelf. They circulate well and serve as a great introduction to what’s new.  Patrons enjoy taking the collections on vacation too as they have the perfect double advantage of being in paperback and someone already labeling the content between those soft covers as “best.”

Now about the new SF and FSY edition in particular....it’s about time.  But besides the belated entry of these popular genres into the Best American cannon, I find it more interesting that they are saying it is only Science Fiction and Fantasy yet the series editor, John Joseph Adams, is best known for his editing of awesome horror collections [The 2 Living Dead ones are quite popular at the BPL] AND the first guest editor is one of the best names in horror [and a personal favor of mine]--Joe Hill.

Hmmmm.  I am used to horror being treated as the ugly step-child to SF and FSY, but this is a slap in the face.  Let’s turn it over to all horror people but not mention horror anywhere.  Well, I hope Adams and Hill have the last laugh when they fill the book with great horror [I can dream, can’t I?]

I’ll still be ordering this new series to add to the BPL’s collection, I am just a bit grumpy about the oversight.

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