13 August 2010
Farewell to the BAF
Jeff VanderMeer has announced that the Best American Fantasy series, for which I served as series editor, has been cancelled. I've known about this for a while now, but reading the announcement was a particularly sad moment for me, because I'd been looking forward very much to seeing what the next few books would look like, with new series editor Larry Nolen taking over for me, new resources to open up the literature of Latin America to the book, and exciting guest editors lined up: Minister Faust, Junot Diaz, and Catherynne M. Valente.
There are lots of reasons why we couldn't bring the series beyond three volumes, most of which boil down to the fact that we weren't able to find a way to reach a large enough audience to be profitable. As Jeff wrote, "BAF did not having a wide margin for error. A cross-genre fantasy year’s best that focused not just on genre magazines but also on literary magazines, that required sympathy and generosity from both the mainstream and genre, as well as the right placement in the chains, was always going to be a difficult sell."
Larry Nolen, the new series editor, had just sent a set of 65 stories on to Minister Faust for consideration when the decision to end the series was made. He has posted the list of those stories for all to see, and to offer a glimpse of what might have been.
The books are still out there, and I'm proud of all three of them -- each volume is different from the others in tone and style, but the three stand as a testament to the breadth and vigor of short fiction being published today.