September 30th, 2009


Year's Best Fantasy 9

Plowing through the mail after a long trip is a bit of a grab bag.  Lots of charitable requests (can't they find something better to do with their money than sending three separate requests in a four-week period?), flyers for plays and concerts and art exhibits, catalogues I wouldn't order from if I lived 90 miles of the nearest clothing store, bills (of course), bank statements in want of balancing, and the occasional intriguing envelope from a publisher, which (now that the WFA flood has dried up) could be a galley for blurb or could be an author's copy of

Ain't it beautiful?

 The story I've got in it is "Gift From A Spring," which first appeared in Realms of Fantasy April of 2008.  It's one of my favorite stories, growing as it did out of the enchanted June of my 50th birthday, which I spent with as many friends as could get there in a funky former sheep farm/arts colony in an unfashionable part of Southwestern France.  Charles Vess (whose birthday is a week before mine) painted me a watercolor as a birthday present, and later, asked me to write a story to go with it.  It's got everything I love about the French countryside in it, plus many of my thoughts on Art and Commerce and following your heart. 

There are 27 other stories in it, too, all of which I'm humbled by being associated with.  Two Peter Beagles, count 'em--Two.  And two Kage Bakers, and the brilliant Hugo-winning (how I love saying that) "Shoggoths in Bloom" by matociquala and WFC nominated (I love saying that, too) "A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica" by yuki_onna, "26 Monkeys and the Abyss" by Kij Johnson, and "If Angels Fight" by Richard Bowes.  I read most of these in the course of my WFA labors, but there are some I missed for one reason or another ("The Film-Makers of Mars" by the incomparable Geoff Ryman, for instance), and I'm glad to have them collected here under one, beautiful cover.