Best American Short Stories

I've known for a while that the upcoming Best American Short Stories volume, edited by Michael Chabon, would be a little bit different from past editions, but I didn't dare hope things would turn out quite as well as they have.

I think Gwenda Bond was the first to break the news publicly, and it's big: Kelly Link's story "Stone Animals" (from Conjunctions 43) and Tim Pratt's "Hart & Boot" (from Polyphony 4) will be included in the book.

At the end of last year, in some thoughts on "Stone Animals", I said, "If Kelly Link isn't the best short story writer in the U.S., then she's the equal of whoever is." Earlier in the year, I'd described "Hart & Boot" as "the kind of story you might get if a schizophrenic fabulist decided to recount the plot of a spaghetti western." (That was in a joint review of Polyphony 4 with Dan Green, who had good things to say about the story in passing.)

It's been a while since a writer specifically identified with the science fiction/fantasy label has made it into The Best American Short Stories -- I think Harlan Ellison was the last, in Louise Erdrich's 1993 volume (for more background on the history of SF writers in BASS, see Andy Duncan's letter to Locus from July 2001). Never, to my knowledge, have two such writers appeared together in one edition of the book.

And, needless to say (though I will anyway, because I try not to let necessity dictate my decisions), I can't wait to find out what the other stories in Chabon's volume will be...

Update: Some people are having fun trying to guess what the third story by an SF writer in the book will be, since Jonathan Strahan broke the news by hinting, "Suffice it to say that it's a story I'd picked to reprint from its online publication in a book I'm doing, so I'm very chuffed for the author." Here's another hint, though not a very helpful one: I've also written about it. (And yes, I will note when it has been publicly announced, which I expect will be soon.)

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