Two Recent Anthologies…

I’m delighted that a pair of fine volumes featuring work by yours truly have recently arrived on my desk.

Best of Electric VelocipedeFirst off, my Sturgeon nominated story ‘The Irish Astronaut’ comes home in The Best of Electric Velocipede, edited by John Klima, a retrospective collection from the much-missed journal which originally published the piece. ‘The Irish Astronaut’ follows an American pilot on a visit to the moon-like hills of Country Clare in the aftermath of a crash which has placed doubts over the future of the manned space programme.

The story finds itself in some really wonderful company here, with the Best of collecting thirty-four pieces of fiction and poetry from across the twelve years during which Electric Velocipede was published. Those familiar with EV will recognise the great verve and willingness to take risks which defined the magazine in this selection. This breadth of material renders the Best of eclectic in terms of style, however what never varies here is the quality of the work. A few of the pieces which stick with me the most include ‘Indicating the Awareness of Persons Buried Alive’, by Liz Williams, ‘∞o’ by Darin Bradley, and ‘The Beasts We Want to Be’ by Sam J. Miller, but there are also stories by Catherynne M. Valente, Ken Liu, Liz Williams, and many others. It’s a treat of a book… which I’d be saying even if I hadn’t contributed to it (honestly!).

You're Not AloneThe second anthology is You’re Not Alone: Thirty Science Fiction Stories from Cosmos Magazine, edited by Damien Broderick. This volume reprints ‘All the Wrong Places’, a comic story I wrote about the search for the Higgs Boson particle for the Australian popular science publication Cosmos. ‘All the Wrong Places’ was only my second story sale back in 2010 and I’m glad to see it back in circulation. Though of course, as the editor says in his introduction, the piece is ‘a jape which risked being undone by the march of science after its first publication’. While that’s just a risk of the sci-fi field (!), I’m confident that this particular wild particle chase still has something to offer even in light of CERN’s discoveries.

You’re Not Alone features contributions from Australia, New Zealand, England, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States. Many of the pieces are shorter than those in the Electric Velocipede collection, however the result is a no less varied or intriguing selection which ranges from Hard SF to more philosophical offerings. Standouts for me include Pamela Sargent’s ‘Not Alone’ from which the anthology takes its title, Mary Robinette Kowal’s ‘For Solo Cello, op.12’, and Liz Heldmann’s ‘Echoes’. But there are also stories from Joe Haldeman, Cat Sparks, the late Jay Lake, and a whole crop of newcomers. In that way, You’re Not Alone is a great read, yes, but also a measure of short science-fiction’s evolving identity and continuing vitality at the start of the twenty-first century.


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