12 August 2010

BAF coming to an end after three volumes

From Jeff VanderMeer's post:

After three volumes, we’re discontinuing the Best American Fantasy series founded by me, Ann VanderMeer, and Sean Wallace, along with Matthew Cheney. The amicable move from Prime to Underland following the publication of BAF2 was meant to rejuvenate the series and to finally achieve stability for it. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur, for a variety of reasons. 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.
Although we are disappointed in this outcome, we’re mostly sad for Larry Nolen, the new series editor, and for Minister Faust, the guest editor, both of whom had put work into what would have been volume 4. (Not to mention the extensive online reading completed by Alan Swirsky and Fabio Fernandes’s efforts re Latin America.) It also would have been wonderful to see what the guest editors for volumes 5 and 6, Junot Diaz and Catherynne M. Valente, would have chosen, just as we enjoyed reading Kevin Brockmeier’s selections for volume 3.
On the plus side, the various BAF volumes picked up a wonderful blurb from Michael Chabon, made NPR’s recommended summer reading list, were placed on year’s best lists, and garnered a few nice reviews in large newspapers. In addition, a lot of bloggers supported us, and we received good feedback from the readers who picked up the books. Many libraries have stocked them, and all three are still available for sale on Amazon, providing a nice alternative view of the year’s best for those three years. We also made inroads into the literary mainstream through events like the AWP conference, and we were very successful in convincing literary magazines and genre magazines to send us material. In addition, we brought writers into contact with each other who might otherwise not been aware of each other’s work, and our correspondence with magazine editors and writers while running BAF led to many, many other creative liaisons and projects.

But before we shut the door on this wonderful project, here is the list of stories I had marked for consideration (comprising a little over 2/3 of the total stories sent to BAF 4 guest editor Minister Faust to choose from for the final list):

1.  Leah Bobet, "Six" (Clockwork Phoenix 2)

2.  Kelly Barnhill, "Open the Door and the Light Passes Through" (Clockwork Phoenix 2)

3.  Peter Beagle, "Dirae" (Warriors)

4.  John Langan, "City of the Dog" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2010)

5.  Ander Monson, "Decidicousness:  The Mechanism" (Ninth Letter, Fall/Winter 2009-10)

6.  Antonia Clark, "How to Shoot a Tomato" (Mipoesias, September 2009)

7.  Robert Mayette, "Prison of the Gnome" (Mipoesias, September 2009)

8.  Rachel Swirsky, "A Memory of Wind" (Tor.com, November 2009)

9.  N.K. Jemisin, "Non-Zero Probabilities" (Clarkeworld Magazine, September 2009)

10. Eric Schaller, "The Sparrow Mumbler" (New Genre, #6)

11. Christian Moody, "Horusville" (Best New American Voices 2010)

12. Julee Newberger, "Calvin Makes His Escape" (Gravity Dancers)

13. Matt Bell, "The Cartographer's Girl" (Gulf Coast, Winter/Spring 2010)

14. Deborah Schwartz, "Music in the Storm" (Gulf Coast, Winter/Spring 2010)

15. Fred Gavran, "The Reincarnation of Horlach Spencer" (Harvard Review, #37)

16. Benjamin Percy, "The Tree" (Ecotone, #8)

17. Aimee Bender, "The Color Master" (Cincinnati Review, 7.1 Summer 2010)

18. Brian Beglin, "Something Ancient" (Cincinnati Review, 7.1 Summer 2010)

19. Saladin Ahmed, "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" (Clockwork Phoenix 2)

20. Catherynne M. Valente, "The Secret History of Mirrors" (Clockwork Phoenix 2)

21. Michael Blumlein, "California Burning" (Asimov's, August 2009)

22. Eugene Mirabelli, "Love in Another Language" (Not One of Us, #42)

23. Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, "Monkeys of the Sea" (Glimmer Train #74 Spring 2010)

24. Jenny Boully, excerpt from "not merely because of the unknown that was stalking towards them" (Gulf Coast, Summer/Fall 2009)

25. Matt Bell, "A Long Walk, with Only Chalk to Mark the Way" (Redivider, vol. 7, issue 2)

26. Joe Celizic, "Reborn" (Redivider, vol. 7, issue 2)

27. Christopher Boucher, "Maryland" (Redivider, vol. 7, issue 2)

28. Deirdra McAfree, "The Shield of the Norns" (The Georgia Review, Fall 2009)

29. Amit Majmudar, "Azazil" (The Kenyon Review, Fall 2009) (Note: TKR is serializing this in 4 issues, I think)

30. Will Kaufman, "Eris Sink Pluto" (Kaleidotrope, April 2010)

31. Joan Connor, "Cassie Bunyan's Yarn: A Short Tale" (Green Mountains Review, XXII, #2)

32. L. Annette Binder, "Halo" (Green Mountains Review, XXII, #2)

33. Benjamin Percy, "Terminal" (Ninth Letter, Fall/Winter 2009-10)

34. Viet Dinh, "Stomp Tokyo" (Ninth Letter, Fall/Winter 2009-10)

35. Stephen Marche, "What Rought Beast" (Ninth Letter, Spring/Summer 2010)

36. Traci O. Connor, "Starla and June" (Gargoyle 54)

37. Adam McOmber, "Of Wool" (Ascent, Winter 2009)

38. A.C. Wise, "A Mouse Ran Up the Clock" (Electric Velocipede 19)

39. Teresa Milbrodt, "Cyclops" (Indiana Review, Summer 2009)

40. Ben Marcus, "The Moors" (Tin House 42)

41. Karen Russell, "The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach" (Tin House 41) Note: She was chosen as one of The New Yorker's "20 under 40" writers

42. B.R. Smith, "Caregivers" (Witness XXIII, 2010)

43. Joe Meno, "Birdmen of Mars" (Redivider, Spring 2009)

44. Judith Cooper, "Sister Light-of-Love Love Dove" (Shenandoah, Winter 2009)

45. Kelly Luce, "Wisler" (The Southern Review, Autumn 2009)

46.Gilbert Allen, "Ecumenical Bedding" (The Southern Review, Autumn 2009)

47. Sean McMullen, "The Art of the Dragon" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, August/September 2009)

48. Wayne Wightman, "Adaptogenia" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, June/July 2009)

49. Elizabeth Hand, "The Far Shore" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2009)

50. M. Rickert, "The President's Book Tour" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2009)

51. Damien Dressick, "Accrual" (Gargoyle 55)

52. Anthony Farrington, "Oh, You Turtledoves, All You Birds under Heaven, Come Help Me" (The Kenyon Review, Spring 2010)

53. Melanie Rae Thon, "Lost Children" (The Southern Review, Spring 2009)

54. Debbie Urbanski, "Taken" (The Southern Review, Spring 2010)

55. Benjamin Percy, "The Mud Man" (The Southern Review, Winter 2010)

56. James B. Pepe, "I am Enkidu, His Wild Brother" (Sybil's Garage, #6)

57. Richard Parks, "The Queen's Reason" (Lady Churchhill's Rosebud Wristlet #25)

58. J.W.M. Morgan, "Superfather" (Lady Churchhill's Rosebud Wristlet #24)

59. Blake Butler, "Our Anniversary, Repeated" (Redivider, vol. 7, #1)

60. Brad Modlin, "Dark Gray Door" (Indiana Review, 31.2)

61. Aimee Bender, "Among Us" (The New Dead)

62. Adam Peterson, "Blood Work" (The Cincinnati Review, 6.2)

63. Micah Riecker, "The Drowned Girl" (The Cincinnati Review, 6.2)

64. Laura C.J. Owen, "The Execution Trick" (American Short Fiction, Winter 2009)

65. Tabaré Alvarez, "The Translation of the Bones" (ep;phany, Fall/Winter 2009)

As I've said elsewhere, it was a privilege to work alongside Ann and Jeff, Matt, Minister, Fábio Fernandes, Alan Swirsky, and all the other people that helped make BAF something worth reading and working on for nearly four years.  Thank you for your support.

14 March 2010

LA Times review of BAF 3

Excerpt from Ed Park's Astral Weeks column:

The audience for "Real Unreal," I suspect, are those fans of writers whose gift for the fantastic has not precluded mainstream notice: writers like Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link, Michael Chabon (who provides a vigorous front-cover blurb, calling the book "an important -- no, a crucial -- map of the richness and strangeness and startling range of the modern American short story"). Which is to say, a better way of marketing "Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy Volume 3" might have been to scrap the defensiveness, switch the title to "Excellent Recent Short Fiction" and leave it at that.

Brockmeier has discriminating taste, and "Real Unreal" is a satisfying mix of styles and sensibilities, featuring fiction drawn from such diverse sources as Fairy Tale Review, Tin House and the Oxford American.

Entertaining long works such as "The Last Unicorn" novelist Peter S. Beagle's warm, precisely dialogued "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" and John Kessel's joke-transcending Austen-meets-Frankenstein pastiche "Pride and Prometheus" alternate with brief but potent pieces. Jeffrey Ford's "Daltharee" turns a city-in-a-bottle experiment into a metaphor for storytelling (I raved about it in this space in 2008, after its appearance in "The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy"). Martin Cozza's even shorter "For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing" is a three-paragraph parable that begins "The president came over for lunch" and ends with the commander-in-chief defacing the narrator's family pictures. (Published in the July 2008 issue of the literary journal Pindeldyboz, it's a cryptic nightmare of Bush-as-invader.)

04 January 2010

Best American Fantasy 4 Guidelines & Reading Period

The Best American Fantasy series (Underland Press) founded by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer is now reading fantasy short stories up to 10,000 words published or to be published from May 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010 for volume 4.
Stories must be by Latin American or North American residents and published in Latin American or North American publications (or magazine websites) during the May-to-May period. All work must have been published in English to be eligible.

Guest Editor: Minister Faust
The guest editor for BAF4 is critically acclaimed writer Minister Faust. The guest editor for volume 5 will be Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz and the guest editor for volume 6 will be World Fantasy Award finalist Catherynne M. Valente. Each of these guest editors will bring excellence, expertise, and their own unique perspective to the position.

Announcing New Editors
BAF is proud to announce that the new series editor for BAF4 is reviewer and critic Larry Nolen, with translator/writer Fábio Fernandes serving as head of Latin American acquisitions and writer Alan Swirsky serving as first reader for online venues.

BAF founders Ann and Jeff VanderMeer will remain as managers/administrators of the anthology series, while former series editor Matthew Cheney will stay on as an advisor. Clayton Kroh and Tessa Kum will serve as assistant editors for BAF beginning with volume 4.

How to Submit Stories
—All relevant print publications and anthologies published in North America should be sent by the publishers to: Larry Nolen, BAF Series Editor, 151 Few Road, Dickson, TN 37055 USA.
—Editors of online publications based in North America should send relevant URLs to the first reader for online publications, Alan Swirsky (jynxshot@gmail.com).
—Editors of online publications based in Latin America should send relevant URLs to Fábio Fernandes (zeroabsoluto@gmail.com), while editors of print publications based in Latin America should query Fernandes about how best to send in eligible work.
—If you have already sent your print publication or anthology to either Matthew Cheney or Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, the materials will be forwarded to the series editor and do not need to be sent again.
As and when possible, and keeping in mind constraints such as expense and a need for additional personnel, the Best American Fantasy series eventually hopes to consider material published in Spanish and Portuguese.

More Information on BAF Editors
Guest editor Minister Faust is an Edmontonian writer, community broadcaster and organiser. His second critically-acclaimed novel was the winner of the 2007 Carl Brandon Society Kindred award, and was the runner-up for the Philip K. Dick Award. His first novel was hailed by The New York Times Review of Books, and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Locus Best First Novel award and the Compton-Crook award, and made several year’s best lists, including those for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, January Magazine, and SFSite.com.

Series editor Larry Nolen is a history and English teacher who devotes much of his spare time to reading and translating interviews and articles from Spanish into English. Since 2004, he has been blogging at the literary fantasy site, OF Blog of the Fallen. He also has had his reviews, interviews, and columns published at the Nebula Awards site, Strange Horizons, and Omnivoracious. In addition, several of his interviews and columns have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and published in Spain and Portugal.

Latin American acquisitions editor Fábio Fernandes is a writer living in São Paulo, Brazil. Also a journalist and translator, he is responsible for the Brazilian translations of several prominent SF novels including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, UK, New Zealand, and USA. Fernandes also published a non-fiction book on the work of William Gibson, A Construção do Imaginário Cyber, and an SF novel, Os Dias da Peste (both in Portuguese). In 2008, he created the SFF review blog Post-Weird Thoughts.

22 December 2009

BAF 3 Publisher's Weekly Review

We've received some praise from Publisher's Weekly:
Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy, Vol. 3 Edited by Kevin Brockmeier. Underland (PGW, dist.), $14.95 paper (318p) ISBN 978-0-9802260-8-9
Brockmeier (The Brief History of the Dead) compiles 20 eclectic and exceptional stories that “graft” fantasy with realistic fiction for this third installment of the annual anthology cofounded by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Standout selections include Stephen King's poignant “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates,” in which a woman receives a phone call from her recently deceased husband, and two World Fantasy Award finalists: Peter S. Beagle's “Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel,” an exploration of redemption and salvation as an angel demands to be a 76-year-old painter's muse, and John Kessel's “Pride and Prometheus,” a mashup uniting Pride and Prejudice's plain sister, Mary Bennet, and Victor Frankenstein. These and other wildly imaginative tales will appeal to fans of fantasy and literary fiction alike. (Feb.)

20 August 2009

Best American Fantasy 3 Contents

Best American Fantasy 3: Real Unreal
Guest Editor Kevin Brockmeier, Series Editor Matthew Cheney
to be published by Underland Press, January 2010

Table of Contents

"Safe Passage" by Ramona Ausubel (One Story, Issue 106)

"Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" by Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads)

"Cardiology" by Ryan Boudinot (Five Chapters, 2008)

"The Pentecostal Home for Flying Children" by Will Clarke (The Oxford American, Issue 61)

"For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing" by Martin Cozza (Pindeldyboz, July 6 2008)

"Daltharee" by Jeffrey Ford (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

"Is" by Chris Gavaler (New England Review, Volume 39, Number 2)

"The Torturer's Wife" by Thomas Glave (The Kenyon Review, Fall 2008)

"Reader's Guide" by Lisa Goldstein (F&SF, July 2008)

"Search Continues for Elderly Man" by Laura Kasischke (F&SF, September 2008)

"Pride and Prometheus" by John Kessel (F&SF, January 2008)

"The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates" by Stephen King (F&SF, October/November 2008)

"Couple of Lovers on a Red Background" by Rebecca Makkai (Brilliant Corners, Summer 2008)

"Flying and Falling" by Kuzhali Manickavel (Shimmer, The Art Issue 2008)

"The King of the Djinn" by David Ackert & Benjamin Rosenbaum (Realms of Fantasy, February 2008)

"The City and the Moon" by Deborah Schwartz (The Kenyon Review, Spring 2008)

"The Two-Headed Girl" by Paul Tremblay (Five Chapters, 2008)

"The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death" by Shawn Vestal (Tin House 34)

"Rabbit Catcher of Kingdom Come" by Kellie Wells (Fairy Tale Review, The White Issue)

"Serials" by Katie Williams (American Short Fiction, Summer/Fall 2008)

Recommended Reading: 2008

Best American Fantasy 3 guest editor Kevin Brockmeier and series editor Matthew Cheney would like to call special attention to the following stories published in 2008:

"Run! Run!" by Jim Aikin
F&SF, September

"The Lagerstatte" by Laird Barron
The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow

"Within the City of the Swan" by Aliette de Bodard
Shimmer, The Art Issue 2008

"What the Redmond Men Found" by Matthew David Brozik
Zahir, Summer 2008

"The Loa and the Gaping Jaw" by Brendan Byrne
Flurb, a Webzine of Astonishing Tales, Fall-Winter 2008

"Jimmy" by Pat Cadigan
The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow

"Poor Little Egg-Boy Hatched in a Shul" by Nathan Englander
McSweeney's, Issue 28

"Drone" by Gemma Files
Not One of Us, Issue 39

"All the Little Gods We Are" by John Grant
Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, edited by Mike Allen

"The Difficulties of Evolution" by Karen Heuler
Weird Tales, July/Aug 2008

"The Hand of the Devil on a String" by M. K. Hobson
Shimmer, Spring 2008

"The Last Dead" by Drew Johnson
Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2008

"Far and Wee" by Kathe Koja
Weird Tales, November/December 2008

"Litany" by Rand B. Lee
F&SF, June 2008

"We Love Deena" by Alice Sola Kim
Strange Horizons, February 11, 2008

"But Wait! There's More!" by Richard Mueller
F&SF, August 2008

"The Glazers" by Joyce Carol Oates
American Short Fiction, Winter/Spring 2008

"On the Banks of the River of Heaven" by Richard Parks
Realms of Fantasy, April 2008

"The Joined" by Helen Phillips
Mississippi Review, Spring 2008

"The Small Door" by Holly Phillips
Fantasy, May 19, 2008

"Creature" by Ramsey Shehadeh
Weird Tales, March/April 2008

"Detours on the Way to Nothing" by Rachel Swirsky
Weird Tales, March/April 2008

"The Body Autumnal" by Lisa Wells
Ecotone, Spring 2008

"A Different Country" by Wayne Wightman
F&SF, December 2008

"Two Tales" by Imants Zicdonis
Fairy Tale Review, White Issue

BAF News: Future Guest Editors, Staff Changes, Latin America...

The Best American Fantasy series has undergone a series of important changes, starting with the publisher. Underland Press has acquired the Best American Fantasy series, and will publish the third volume, "Real Unreal," in January of 2010. BAF4, tentatively titled "Imaginary Borders," will appear in March 2011. BAF3 contains work by, among others, Stephen King, Lisa Goldstein, Peter S. Beagle, and John Kessel, as chosen by guest editor Kevin Brockmeier with assistance from series editor Matthew Cheney. The cover of BAF3 was designed by John Coulthart.

The guest editors for volumes 4 through 6 will be: Minister Faust, Junot Diaz, and Catherynne M. Valente. Each of these critically acclaimed writers will bring excellence and expertise to the position. BAF4 will include work published in 2010, as the series skips a year to accommodate the time needed for the change in publisher and general reorganization.

"Victoria Blake at Underland has worked hard to create the perfect home for this unique series," BAF co-founder Jeff VanderMeer said, "and the guest editors we've put in place reflect an exciting diversity of opinions about and approaches to fiction. Each will bring their own spin to the volume they edit, and that's going to be great in terms of keeping the series vital and relevant."

Starting with BAF4, the series will consider stories published in English in Latin American publications, as well as translations of Latin American writers into English in North American publications. In short, any story published in English in a Latin American or North American publication or website, and written by a Latin American or North American resident, is eligible for inclusion in BAF. (As and when possible, and keeping in mind constraints such as expense and a need for additional personnel, the Best American Fantasy series eventually hopes to consider material published in Spanish and Portuguese.)

A series of staffing changes have also occurred. Matthew Cheney, who has done wonderful work on the first three volumes, will be stepping down as series editor due to other demands on his time. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer will perform the role of series editor going forward, while Cheney remains in an advisory position. Former first readers Clayton Kroh and Tessa Kum will serve as assistant editors for BAF beginning with volume 4. Fábio Fernandes and Larry Nolen have been added in an editorial capacity, especially as regards the Latin American publishing community. Further staff additions will occur over the next year as necessary.

Guidelines for BAF4 will be made available by January of 2010. Any publications sent to Matthew Cheney will be forwarded to the VanderMeers. Publications should not be sent to the guest editors at this time. Please address queries to POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32315. The BAF website will be updated with all of this information shortly.

Guidelines for BAF4 will be made available by January of 2010. Any publications sent to Matthew Cheney will be forwarded to the VanderMeers. Publications should not be sent to the guest editors at this time. Please address queries to bestamericanfantasy@gmail.com or POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32315. The BAF website will be updated with all of this information shortly. Bookmark http://www.bestamericanfantasy.com and http://www.bestamericanfantasy.blogspot.com for future updates.