2011 has definitely been the year of Mary discovering the joys of short form speculative fiction – both the reading and the writing of it. Of course, being new to the writing part, I’ve been gobbling up contemporary examples I can learn from. I’ve come to the (somewhat obvious) conclusion that Kiwis and Aussies put out some cracking good short specfic!
I began the year with the ‘Baggage’ anthology, edited by Gillian Polack. There were some amazing stories in that one – a couple of my favourites being Lucy Sussex’s ‘Albert and Victoria/Slow Dreams’ and Kaaron Warren’s ‘Hive of Glass’. Then I went on to read Tim Jones’ ‘Transported’, which I loved to distraction. Tim has a voice I find particularly pleasing – neither lurid nor saccharine sweet, his stories are quirky, tightly-written and engaging. I was indeed transported! Lately, I’ve moved on to ‘Sprawl’, explorations of suburban strangeness edited by Alisa Krasnostein, and ‘Tales for Canterbury’, the cool Christchurch benefit anthology edited by J.C. Hart and Anna Caro, both of which I’m enjoying tremendously. And when I’m done with those, I hope to sample ‘Bluegrass Symphony’, Lisa Hannett’s intriguing debut.
It’s a tiny selection of the fare already out there, I know. But it does say something that in all I’ve read so far, I’ve found nothing but jaw-dropping talent to admire. I am increasingly in awe of the (generally small press) outfits making these collections available. Producing short story anthologies is no ticket to riches for publishers, and it’s a testament to their faith in Aussie and Kiwi authors that they do so. Long may it continue.
Anyway, all this to say: get your hands on these books. They should be available by direct order through the publishers. Do it! Treat yourself to some wonderful short fiction.