Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Short Fiction (Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2006)

My contributor copies of The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2006, arrived this morning. The book supports a really sweet Shaun Tan cover with some sort of brass flying thing on it. I've no idea what it is, but it's quite eye catching, as the majority of Shaun Tan's work is, really. We should all be so lucky to appear in books with Shaun Tan's beautiful colour work.

The book will be released officially in late May, early June, or so I've been told. My story 'Johnny Cash' (without the subtitle of 'a Tale in Questionnaire Results') is in it, as are stories by Simon Brown, Jack Dann, Rjurik Davidson, Stephen Dedman, Greg Egan, Dirk Flinthart, Leanne Frahm, Martin Livings, Rosaleen Love, Lucy Sussex and Kaaron Warren. Try saying all those names in one breath. If you haven't read the 2005 edition, you should, as I'm in that as well. You know, I don't know what it is, but I dig being reprinted in Year's Best books--a reprint is like free cash and free books for an author, and Year's Bests come with the bonus of fiction I haven't read. Though in this case, I have read a good selection of the stories in the new volume, and they're all of a solid to high standard, even if, in the case of the Flinthart, they're not the most original of things. Of those I've read, the Davidson, Sussex and Love are worth the price of admission alone, in my mind. So you'd do no wrong buying this new book.

On a personal note, this year so far has been pretty strong for short fiction so far. In addition, it's taking me a lot less time to sell fiction, which is real nice. I've got two stories currently sitting in my rewrite for editors world, and assuming I sell those (and I don't assume) I'll actually be cleaned out on short fiction. Which will be an interesting position to be in, and probably won't happen, since I'm sure I'll write at least one new story between now and then. Still, all this niceness has given me the vague idea that in a year or so, I might even consider putting together a collection, and seeing how that goes. It's just me talking aloud on that, so I wouldn't take it as anything other than an idea being tossed around. In a year's time I'd have to like the work I'm thinking about enough to put it together, give them a strand to link, and also write a novella, because I like collections to have novellas, and I want to write a novella and I have the idea and no excuse to do so. Should I not do the collection, I'll at least have an excuse for doing such a chunky piece, with the knowledge that they're a bitch to sell singularly.

But who knows? Likely I'll reach next year and I think, "What the fuck was I thinking?" or the idea won't seem like such a good one.

I assure you one thing though, it'd have the story notes. I bought Maureen McHugh's Mothers and Other Monsters a month ago, because I quite like McHugh's work, and you should too, and you should buy it, despite the fact that it was empty of notes around the fiction. Sure, sure, it should be that fiction is all that matters, and to a degree it's true, but author notes make me feel as if the collection is full, complete, and personal. Or, you know, I just like them.

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