(Sleeping cats for a Friday.)
First of all, happy birthday to my wonderful wife, Ann!! (Okay, so her birthday is tomorrow, but I’m not online tomorrow.)
Second of all, I did an interview with writer and editor Maurice Broaddus on Omnivoracious. I really love this interview–it’s one of my favorites. Go check it out.
So…we went down to one of the local used bookstores yesterday, thinking “Maybe we can pick up a couple of anthologies or author collections of use for weird and other projects”…only to find more than 200 titles, mostly in old Doubleday or Book Club editions–part of a collection sold by an elderly man moving to a smaller house.
An unseemly feeding frenzy ensued, and close to half of that collection now resides in our house.
It’s fascinating going through these older books. First off, there’s not as much of a reliance on names–they’re absent from some front covers entirely–and more of an emphasis on “hey, you’re about to read some great stories.” New writers appear several times, and there’s a value assigned to publishing new writers expressed in the introductions to several of these anthos. I don’t find that to be the case, generally, with present-day anthologies from large publishers, which fixate on big names as the best or easiest way to generate sales.
And, yep, women appear in these books, sometimes in quantity (although I haven’t looked through all of them yet), and especially in Marvin Kaye’s anthologies there’s a good balance of type of story and also lots of great stories by writers like Joanna Russ, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. Indeed, there’s at least one story by Rabindranath Tagore in Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown. In addition, there are translations either picked up in reprint or commissioned for a particular antho. (Full Spectrum 3 isn’t pictured here, but it features two translations.) In Foundations of Fear, not pictured here, edited by David Hartwell you can find stories by Daphne Du Maurier, Octavia Butler, and more.
This all by way of saying that with regard to the SFX stupidity in not featuring any women in its special horror issue…maybe we shouldn’t let a few asshats define how we think women in horror are or have been represented. Castigate the asshats, yes, but don’t let them define the overall experience. Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, and Fantasy Magazine have all published excellent creepy/horrific stories by women over the last few years, there have been many anthologies with great horror by women, and some of the top editors interested in horror include Ellen Datlow and my wife, Ann VanderMeer, just to name two. (Indeed, all SFX had to do is email Ellen or Ann and ask who to feature and they could’ve had a cornucopia of women.)
One other interesting note before the book photos…one of the books is Dreams that Burn in the Night, by Craig Strete, who writes using a lot of Native American themes. This collection comes with a blurb from Jorge Luis Borges as well as James Tiptree Jr, and one story is co-written with Michael Bishop. The stories, in my opinion, are among those that haven’t dated well. But, given that he apparently was up for the Hugo and the Nebula and no one’s really heard of him today (except for this mention; scroll down), it’s a cautionary note for all of us writer types–see also the Peter Tate collection (who?). Here today, gone tomorrow. Bwaahahahaahaha.
Any observations about these covers? They’re drab in many cases, but, honestly, I prefer drab to the pseudo-Romance covers so popular today, with characters represented. I really don’t want any image of the characters in my head other than the one provided by the words inside.