My roommate at WFC, Neile Graham, left a copy of Jonathan Strahan's new anthology, ECLIPSE, lying around our room, and during a failed afternoon nap I started reading it. This was because (1) it looked interesting, (2) it was there, and (3) I owe a story to ECLIPSE 2 and so it seemed a good idea to get a sense of what the editor wants. Eventually I bought a copy in the dealers' room, and I still have no idea what the editor wants. But it certainly is interesting.
The three stories I've read so far are definitely not SF, but they're not any recognzable (at least to me) subgenre of fantasy either. No magic (maybe). Andy Duncan's hilarious "Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse" is funny and sad with a punch at the end, but he's riffing un-magically on things far removed from spells, swords, or gritty urban wizards. This story is wonderful; I'm recommending it for a Nebula. Peter Beagle's "The Last and Only, or Mr. Muscowitz Becomes French" is as far from his last year's award winner, "Two Hearts," as it is possible to get. It's a compressed biography of a strange life written mostly in exposition (which I tell me students is a no-no!) and frustrated sadness. And Ellen Klages's "Mrs. Zeno's Paradox" uses the equipment of SF (linear accelerators, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle) to slyly turn the world of philosophical premises feminist.
I love that these stories are so genuinely weird, so completely unclassifiable. They expand my mind, which is more than nearly all space opera does -- including the space operas I've written myself.
What does that say?