Friday, January 4, 2019

Anatomy of an Anthology-3

This weekend I need to cut my list of twenty stories down to fourteen for The Year’s Top Robot and AI Stories. This will allow me to start contacting authors next week about acquiring reprint rights to their stories. This is all done fairly quickly these days by e-mail, text, Facebook, and Twitter. When I first started doing this, way back when, it took much longer as it was all done by snail mail. As such I have wonderful letters from many authors. One of the most memorable letters was from Ursula K. Le Guin. Infinivox published “The Shobies’ Story,”part of her Hainish seriesas part of its Great Science Fiction Stories audiobook series. This was way back when audiobooks were published on cassette tapes. Among other things, she gave me a very detailed pronunciation guide to use for her story. She was very gracious and open to my attempts to get the series up and running even though I was new to the field. To be honest, most authors, now and back then, are also gracious and go out of their way to be helpful. The science fiction field is fortunate to have so many wonderful people in it. It’s a pleasure to work with most authors!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Anatomy of an Anthology-2

I’ve got a list of stories that I’m excited about that would make the inaugural volume of The Year’s Top Robot and AI Stories an exceptional anthology. Sales of the inaugural volumes of The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction, The Year’s Top Short SF Novelsand The Year’s Top Hard Science Fiction Stories continue to be strong to this day. So the inaugural volume of a series is important as it sets the tone and expectations for the series. No pressure!

I’m shooting for a word count of around 100,000 words for this collection. Word count is an important measuring stick in the anthology publishing business. It is kind of like pounds for a weight lifter or kilowatt hours for an electric utility company.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Anatomy of an Anthology

Happy New Year!
May there be more alternate histories in your future. May you score more space operas. May time travels take you further and may short stories keep you longing for more.
I’ve been putting science fiction collections together for a decade now. My first anthology, mini-Masterpieces of Science Fiction, was published in 2008. It’s only available as an audiobook, as were all my other anthologies until 2010. Starting with the publication of The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 2, ebook editions of my anthologies became available, along with the audiobooks. Three year’s ago, paperback book editions also became available starting with the publication of The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 8To date, I have cobbled together twenty-five anthologies. My most recent title to come out was The Year’s Top Hard Science Fiction Stories 2just before Christmas a few days ago.

I’m starting this log to give the curious a sense of how an anthology comes to be. This is a great time to do this as I’m starting a new series this spring. It’s tentatively entitled The Year’s Top Robot and AI Stories although I sometimes think it should be called The Year’s Top Robot, AI, and Tech Stories. We’ll see.