Thursday, January 03, 2008
I just this minute finished reading The Solaris Book of New Fantasy,edited by George Mann, and I have to say that I am very impressed. I liked 13 out of 16 stories - which is as good a number as I ever get from an anthology. What's more - I understood and applauded the reason for the inclusion of the three I wasn't wowed by. What George has done, and what makes this anthology so useful to me personally, is to take a very comprehensive, catholic view of the fantasy field. Rather than produce a book entirely composed of traditional fantasy or entirely composed of literary/slipstream fantasy, he's put out an anthology showcasing a broad range of fantasy offerings. As such, this makes the anthology a wonderful overview of the current state of the field (perhaps even a more accurate one than a Year's Best collection might present, with its understandable slant towards literary works) - and a whole lot easier for this busy editor to read than trying to sample a score of tome-sized fantasy novels would be. Looking at the TOC, I really liked 11 of the stories quite a lot, enjoyed 2 more, and, as I said, appreciated the inclusion of the three I didn't like for the education in what's out there they've afforded me. Stand out stories in my opinion are: Mark Chadbourn's "Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast," Jeff Vandermeer's "King Tales," Christopher Barzak's "In Between Dreams," Mike Resnick's "Shell Game," Jay Lake's, "A Man Falls," Scott Thomas' "Lt. Privet's Love Song," and Lucius Shepherd's "Chinandega." Yes, that's a lot of stand out stories. And the others are close behind. I liked the book that much. And I'm very glad to see it doing well, as it's made my yearly required reading list.