Posts Tagged ‘anthologies’

Old-School Scifi

So, a few months ago, we were at our local thrift store on one of their half-off-everything days, and I discovered that someone had donated a ton of old scifi books from the 50s. Andre Norton, Asimov, people I’ve never heard of but the stories looked cool. And among them was an anthology entitled SF: ’59 The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy.

(I bought them all. Don’t judge me.)

Yesterday I finished reading the anthology, which was kind of enlightening, honestly. It was like a snapshot into what science fiction and fantasy was over fifty years ago. And it was interesting because most of these stories, the best of the year, would never get published in today’s climate. Part of that is that they would be seen as derivative, but I’m sure they weren’t back then. Some of them aren’t science fiction or fantasy, but just a little off-kilter (like one telling the story of Hickory Dickory Dock in the style of Jack Kerouac). And the editor uses “SF” to mean science fantasy, which she uses interchangeably with science fiction.

There’s still a couple of great stories though. My favorite was a longer story called “The Comedian’s Children” by Theodore Sturgeon, whom I know mostly because he wrote some of my favorite original series Star Trek episodes (including the infamous “Amok Time,” thus delighting fanfiction authors for decades). I should probably read some of his novels or more of his short stories at some point.

Even more interesting than the stories was, at the back, they had a nonfiction section, with essays about space travel and the state of science fiction. In 1959, the manned space program was still a few years out from starting (NASA wasn’t even NASA yet) and Sputnik had just been launched a few years before (in 1957). So it’s very interesting to see them trying to puzzle out how to solve space flight issues since I can look back and see how it actually happened (and I am a huge space nerd, and have read a ridiculous amount of books on early manned spaceflight, so it’s an area I know quite a bit about). And Asimov wrote an essay about the state of science fiction, and how science keeps coming along a few years behind them and proving them wrong, which is kind of hilarious (and I think he meant it to be).

(I think it’s worth pointing out that most of the non-scifi/fantasy stories included were originally published in Playboy.)

Some aspects of this anthology are kind of depressing, because it goes to show how few authors ever truly are remembered past their times. Of the authors included, the only ones I recognize are Gerald Kersh, Fritz Leiber, Brian W. Aldiss, Theodore Sturgeon, and John Steinbeck (who of course wrote one of the non-SF stories from Playboy). Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a SF expert, but here are a bunch of authors who wrote what was considered some of the best SFF of their time, and I’ve never even heard of them. And that’s a humbling idea.

Do you have an experience with old scifi, Squiders? Do you like the style? Who’s your favorite?

Under Her Protection Cover Reveal and Announcement

I am pleased to announce Turtleduck Press‘s newest anthology, Under Her Protection, being released on August 1. Under Her Protection is the longest anthology TDP has ever produced, and contains stories about men in danger and the women who rescue them.

Under Her Protection coverSometimes men are the ones trapped in a tower, or bound by a curse, or doomed to stay in the underworld. Damsels or not, they need rescuing too. And these are just the women to do it…

A swordswoman and a scholar.

A grim reaper and a dead man.

A maidservant and an inventor.

A new university grad and a prince.

Fantasy romance stories from four indie writers about strong women…and men who need their help.

Under Her Protection will be released on all ebook platforms, and will also be available in print. Pick it up when it comes out next week!

Anthologies: Pros and Cons

Ah, anthologies. I love to write for them. I am usually disappointed when I read them. It boggles the mind.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, an anthology is a collection of stories from different authors that all center around a theme. I just finished one where the theme was “fantasy tropes turned on their heads,” for example, though they called it something else. Basically, someone says “I want to put together an anthology about strong women with swords,” people submit stories that fit the theme, the editor(s) picks the ones they like, and then they publish the anthology.

(Themes can be any number of things, from clear cut things like “pirates” to completely arbitrary things like “I think this famous person may have been influenced by these stories” or “the best whatever of the year.”)

I love to write for them because I like the exercise of writing to a prompt, especially if it’s a little out of my comfort zone. I tend to not like reading them because by the time I get used to a story/character/voice/whatever, that particular story is over and it’s on to the next. It makes me grumpy.

The exception, for me, seems to be Shared World anthologies. Shared Worlds still are multi-author works, but the world, and in some cases the characters, are the same from story to story. Sometimes one story directly flows into the next. (Examples of this include the Thieves’ World anthology series, the Star Trek Corps of Engineers series, and Turtleduck Press’ Seasons Eternal.) Since I’m left with something to hold on to, I don’t find these as jarring.

Anyway, I promised Pros and Cons.

Pros

  • Show many different authors’ interpretation of a theme
  • Stories tend to be short, allowing for easy breaks in reading
  • Can find new authors to try out

Cons

  • No commonality between stories makes it hard to transition
  • Open interpretation means stories can seem completely unrelated
  • Story quality may vary and you might not find any voices you like

How do you feel about anthologies, Squiders? Love them, loathe them (either from a reading or writing point of view)? Any to recommend?