Essential SF Collections

I love SF Signal's Mind Meld features, and they've just posted one that's particularly wonderful: "What Single-Author Short Fiction Collections Should Be in Every Fan's Library? (Part 1)". They limited everyone to only ten choices each, which of course is impossible, but it forces the minds melded to focus their perspective, and in the best cases to make lists that are something more than just a collection of books they happen to like. Note Jeff VanderMeer's list, for instance, which for me, though I actually find them all pretty agreeable, is the most interesting one there.

Speaking of Mr. VanderMeer and single-author collections, I just received an advance copy of his own new collection, The Third Bear. It's a really fascinating collection of stories about big hairy men. Oh wait, no, that's something else... Actually, it's a collection of linked stories that are basically a Goldilocks/Rambo mashup. Or no, that was another thing I was reading... I know I know I know -- it's stories about the difficulties faced by National Park Rangers during the Bush administration, and what happened when Werner Herzog went to a circus, and fantastic tales of lovely maidens saving hapless knights stuck in trees, and lots of stories about unicorns learning to live in peace and harmony with vampire meerkats, and a fine group of vignettes about the happy-go-lucky lives of capybaras, and--

I think I need to look at the book again...

Anyway, it's an essential collection because it's by Jeff VanderMeer and it's attractively designed, affordably priced, and will cure most of your weird medical conditions for the duration of the time you're reading it. Thus, if you want to live forever, never stop reading The Third Bear. And buy copies for everyone you love and insist they do the same.

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