Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best of the Year

Today the mail brought Gardner Dozois's THE YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION: TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL COLLECTION. As always, it's massive: 32 stories, one of which is mine ("Laws of Survival," originally published on-line in JIM BAEN'S UNIVERSE.) Of equal interest is Gardner's "Summation," if only to marvel at how much sheer reading this man does every year. If you don't get a chance to see this book, or if you're not into reading summations, here are a few factoids:

-- The anthology includes eight stories by women, twenty-four by men.

-- The print magazines' circulation figures continue to drop, but the drop has slowed. And REALMS OF FANTASY has actually increased circulation.

-- There were 250 new SF novels published in 2007, 460 new fantasy novels, and 198 new horror novels.

-- Short fiction featured many stories about terrorism, many about big airships and air pirates, and, in Gardner's words: "for whatever reason (I'm not even going to venture a guess) there were a lot of stories about dogs." Since mine is one of those, I'm pleased that he noticed.

-- The launch of new anthology series is a good sign for the field. Gardner especially liked ECLIPSE I and THE SOLARIS BOOK OF NEW SCIENCE FICTION.

-- Gardner, like nearly everyone else, is not committing himself to predictions about the future of on-line SF, but is waiting, like nearly everyone else, to see if a viable way can be found to make such ventures profitable.


José Iriarte said...

Really? I kind of figured that with short fiction the question had been answered. Are IGMS and Baen's Universe not making money? Strange Horizon's seems to pretty much make its donation quotas without even charging for their product.

Steven Francis Murphy said...

Gardner's Summaries are very much like a textbook to the field. I've suggested in the past that he collect them together as a stand alone publication but he seems to think no one would be interested.

Apex SFH just went from print to Online and pro status to boot. Maybe online is the future but my poor eyes have a hell of a time reading fiction off the screen.

It just isn't the same experience.

S. F. Murphy

Nancy Kress said...

I agree that reading fiction on-line isn't the same. I always print out stories to read. Sometimes I even print out long emails.

Nick A said...

I hope it happens (resurgence of the short-story form on the Internet). There are now more publically pronounced polygamists in the US then readers of Asimovs....

...also, there certainly is a huge market of people who want entertainment from the creative ideas generated from science fiction (standing in line for Batman last night with my son...). Eventually, someone will write software that automates a translation of the nuances of great short stories into other media (the current 'state of the art' are example of manual 'world building' on line), or perhaps as a direct 'plug in' to our so-called 'meat machines'.

Anyone remember the original 'books.com'? In 1993, prior to HTML standardization and wide adoption, a bookstore setup a telnet service that allowed you to log in, browse by subject/title/author/ISBN. 'amazon.com' in text mode: it was cool, and state of the art at the time, for a commercial service.