Best of the Year anthologies seem to have a six-month gestation period (exactly the same as baboons, and slightly longer than goats). The stories are chosen in January and the volumes appear in June. Jonathan Strahan's BOY turned up in my mailbox today. It contains my story "By Fools Like Me," but of more interest to me (since, after all, I've already read my story) was a fact in Strahan's Introduction. He says that LOCUS estimates, and Strahan concurs, that roughly 3,000 new stories of science fiction and fantasy in English appear every year.
Three thousand! This includes on-line venues, but he doesn't say if that means only paying markets or if it includes every story someone has put up on his own website (and how would you count those, anyway?) Strahan then goes on to say that there are actually more, if you count those that have fantastic elements but are not labeled as such. Many more. Many, many, many more.
But even the 3,000 number boggles my mind. Moreover, Strahan says he reads all of them to make his choices. The result of this statement is to fill me, who am behind on reading even the measly few magazines I subscribe to, with deep literary guilt. How does Jonathan do it? How does Gardner Dozois or Rich Horton or David Hartwell or Karen Haber? Don't they read anything but SF? Or am I just a slacker?
Don't answer that.