19 April 2006

Best American Fantasy

The word is out, so I thought I'd acknowledge it here: I have agreed to be the series editor for a new series of "best of the year" anthologies from Prime Books, Best American Fantasy, with the guest editors for the first two years being Jeff and Ann VanderMeer.

Yes, we realize there are an awful lot of "bests" out there now, and both Jeff and I have even parodied this fact at various points over the last few years, but we did not enter into this venture without a lot of consideration of the pros and cons, because it is going to eat up a lot of time we would have devoted to other things. At the moment, all I want to say is that this will not be an anthology like any other that currently exists, and we believe we'll be filling a rather large gap in the world of contemporary fiction. Time will tell, and the proof will be in the books themselves, so for now we're going to focus our energies on finding the best fantastical, surreal, odd, postmodern, post-postmodern, nonrealist, fabulist, batshit, weird shit, whatever stories from 2006 that we can. If you see anything you think we shouldn't miss, feel free to make a recommendation at the website. (Note that the site currently redirects to another temporary address; we'll be based at www.bestamericanfantasy.com soon.)

Here, for anyone who wants more details, are the official announcement and the call for submissions and recommendations. At this time we're only considering previously published work, and we are not considering excerpts from novels.


BEST AMERICAN FANTASY
SERIES ANNOUNCEMENT

Prime Books announces the establishment of a prestigious new anthology series, Best American Fantasy (trademark pending), guest edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, with Matthew Cheney serving as the series editor. The inaugural volume will be published in June 2007, showcasing the best North American fantasy short fiction from the preceding year. The editors will apply as wide a definition of the term “fantasy” as is necessary for the integrity and quality of Best American Fantasy -- including magic realism, surrealism, postmodern experiments, and all other applicable permutations.

With prominent distribution and a stylish trade paperback format, Best American Fantasy will provide an elite forum for the best short work from U.S. and Canadian writers published in North America. A list of honorable mentions limited to fifty stories will be included in each volume.

The anthology will feature rotating guest editors, with the series editor providing continuity and stability. Ann & Jeff VanderMeer will serve as guest editors for 2007 and 2008 to help establish Best American Fantasy as one of the premier year’s best anthologies in North America.

Interested parties can find out more about Best American Fantasy at the BAF Website: http://www.bestamericanfantasy.com.

Reviewers, publicists, and other media should contact Prime editor Sean Wallace at: seanwallace@comcast.net.

Prime Books is an award-winning imprint that specializes in literary and cutting-edge cross-genre novels and short story collections.


About the Editors

Guest Editor Jeff VanderMeer is a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award. His books from Pan Macmillan, Tor, and Bantam have made the year's best lists of Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Weekly, Publishers' News, and Amazon.com, among others, and his short fiction has appeared in several year’s best anthologies. Novels and story collections by VanderMeer have been translated into twelve languages. As an editor, he is best known for founding the award-winning Ministry of Whimsy Press and its landmark anthology series, Leviathan. He lives in Florida.

Guest Editor Ann VanderMeer has been a publisher and editor for over twenty years, running her award-winning Buzzcity Press. Work from her press and related periodicals has won the British Fantasy Award, the International Rhysling Award, and appeared in several year's best anthologies. Books published by Buzzcity Press include the Theodore Sturgeon Award finalist Dradin, In Love by Jeff VanderMeer and the IHG Award winning The Divinity Student by Michael Cisco. A Best of the Silver Web is forthcoming from Prime Books in November 2006. She lives in Florida.

Series Editor Matthew Cheney has published fiction and nonfiction with Strange Horizons, Locus, Rain Taxi, Rabid Transit, Pindeldyboz, Failbetter, and others. He has served on the jury for the Speculative Literature Foundation's Fountain Award, and his weblog, The Mumpsimus, was a finalist for the 2005 World Fantasy Award. He lives in New Hampshire.


BEST AMERICAN FANTASY
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

In General

Literary journals, magazines, anthologies, and other venues based in North America are encouraged to submit their publications to Best American Fantasy so that the content can be considered for inclusion. All publications received will be listed in Best American Fantasy. Please send materials for consideration to both:

Matthew Cheney
Series Editor
POB 313
New Hampton, NH 03256

and

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
2006-07 Guest Editors
POB 4248
Tallahassee, FL 32315

Materials only sent to one address will not receive consideration.


Guidelines

Eligible short fiction must fulfill the following rules.

(1) A work of respectable literary quality first published in a U.S. or Canadian periodical (magazines, anthologies, websites, etc.)
(2) Publication in English by U.S. or Canadian writers, or foreign writers who have made U.S. or Canada their home.
(3) Original publication as short stories. Excerpts from novels will not be considered.
(4) Work longer than 10,000 words will not be considered.
(5) All work to be considered must be received by January 15, 2007.

The definition of “fantasy” shall include fabulation, non-realist fiction, magic realism, surrealism, post modern experimentation, cross-genre, etc. The editors will apply as wide a definition of the term as is necessary for the integrity and quality of Best American Fantasy. Editors or individuals should not pre-judge the fantastical content of individual stories or periodical issues but simply send in all possibly relevant materials. Sending tearsheets is discouraged.

Individuals and editors of online magazines can make recommendations via the Best American Fantasy Recommendation Form, found on the BAF website at: www.bestamericanfantasy.com. No self-published work will be considered.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds extremely cool: good luck to you all with it! One question: what's the rationale behind the 10,000-word limit on stories? How many words will each volume be?

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  2. It'll be exciting to see a different approach to Fantasy.

    I'm wondering about the American or Canadian writers only clause. Why not anything published in America and Canada and leave it at that?

    D Kilby

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  3. And why exclude British and Australian work?

    The only thing I can think of is that this is an attempt to emulate Houghton Mifflin's series of "Best American" anthologies: Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Sports Writing, etc. (The short list of honorable mentions and the rotating guest editors are also traits of those anthologies.)

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  4. Congratulations! Looking forward to it.

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  5. Had this anthology existed in previous years, would stories from Joe Hill's Twentieth Century Ghosts have been excluded, because it was first published in the UK? Would stories from Margo Lanagan's Black Juice have been excluded for the same reason? Also, those were both single-author collections; do those qualify?

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  6. This sounds fabulous. Most of the current Best Fantasy anthologies seem to be "Fantasy and Horror" (which is why I don't buy them, actually; reading well-written horror without sufficient warning leads to screaming nightmares). Are you going to be keeping to that particular lumping together, or deemphasizing the on-beyond-dark-fantasy type of stories? (Or will you not know until you see what is submitted...)

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  7. j.e.
    Just fyi, with YBFH edited by me and Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant you can always know in advance which stories are horror by who initials the bio at the front of the story :-)
    Ellen

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