Load me up with awesome short stories!
April 1, 2014 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I have this book and I love it. I pick it up, open to a random page, and read whatever story I land on (generally with great success) and often discover a new author to read. Can you recommend other similarly gigantic, wonderfully edited, genre-specific collections of short stories/novellas?

The Weird runs high on horror (which I have always loved) and has given me a greater appreciation for sci fi. In my heart-of-hearts, I am a historical- and urban-fantasy gal, but well-curated collections of short stories seem to be a great way to explore new genres. I am turning to the hivemind to point me in the right direction!
posted by torisaur to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
For SF: I'd suggest Gardner Dozois' annuals. His taste runs to postapocalyptofic (although he's toned that down a little in the most recent installments), but he does print a lot of really interesting work.

For fantasy and horror: in general, I keep an eye out for anything edited by Ellen Datlow and Paula Guran.

For mysteries: the Best American... annuals. These tend not to be conventional whodunnits.

For recent Sherlock Holmes pastiches: John Joseph Adams' The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

For a variety of older genre classics: the late Michael Cox edited several collections for Oxford that are excellent introductions to various forms (detectives, ghost stories, etc.).
posted by thomas j wise at 3:21 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions. (The Last Dangerous Visions never happened.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:23 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Best American Noir of the Century. Only one that I really thought was a clunker, a bunch of good, solid stories and several excellent ones.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:27 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Mammoth Book of ... series
posted by soelo at 3:31 PM on April 1, 2014

For "New" Horror: Poe's Children, edited by Peter Straub.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2014

Ambrose Bierce!!
posted by mibo at 3:54 PM on April 1, 2014

Ditto the recommendation for any of Datlow's anthologies, particularly those she edited with Terri Windling. They're often very, very good. You might want to check out the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series specifically, since the books are all sufficiently chunky and, as you might expect, a high watermark for fantastic fiction. (Kelly Link and Gavin Grant picked up editing duties after Windling, and if you like their tastes as exemplified by their Small Beer Press/Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet work, you'll dig their selections.)

Dozois is a good bet for SF. He has two Best of the Best collections if you want a sense of the annual Year's Best volumes.

I'm forgetting some, I'm sure. I'll probably be back to this thread later.
posted by xenization at 5:11 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have also edited a forthcoming book on Feminist speculative fiction. It looks like it's going to have an equally large scope, but sadly it doesn't come out until next year.

Full disclosure - I know the person who put together the anthology, but I would have bought it if I knew him or not. It looks like it will be really good.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:19 PM on April 1, 2014

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have also edited The Time Traveler's Almanac, which came out this month. I haven't read it yet, but I bought it on the strength of The Weird, plus several included stories/authors that I knew to be good.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies. I've got about five random ones on my bookshelf and they've introduced me to some of my favorite authors over the years. My local Half Price Books usually has quite a few on their "Anthologies" shelf, and the older ones are especially cheap as a bonus!
posted by augustimagination at 8:28 PM on April 1, 2014

I may have misread the question - how far afield do you go in search of new genre? The O. Henry Awards collections are typically at least half awesome. The collection comes out annually.

You might also enjoy collections of translated short stories from other countries or language groups.

If you are solely interested in weird/sci-fi/horror/fantasy then my answer is useless.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:37 AM on April 2, 2014

Lesser Shrew: Your answer is not at all useless! I like short stories as a way to go outside my usual range of horror/fantasy as they involve relatively little commitment and often have a high 'return on investment' when i discover a new thing to enjoy.
posted by torisaur at 7:20 AM on April 2, 2014

I cannot recommend "This Is How You Die" hard enough. It's based on this Dinosaur Comic (wherein there exists a machine that can tell you how you'll die). After I got it, I carried it around with me like an amulet and plowed through the entire thing within about 36 hours. SO entertaining and wonderful and dark and hilarious.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:33 AM on April 2, 2014

If you like Bradbury, I'd pick up Bradbury Stories--a hundred of his stories and, in my opinion, the majority of them are really good. John Joseph Adam's anthologies typically include a lot of stories, and I'd say about fifty-fifty in terms of quality. The four-volume Science Fiction Hall of Fame series would probably be worth your time both for its range and acclaim.

A little idiosyncratic, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Kate Bernheimer's new fairy tales and myths anthologies (My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me and xo Orpheus, respectively). I've only read My Mother She Killed Me, and it's one of the finest short story collections I've ever read. I expect the latest one will be just as good.
posted by xenization at 7:18 PM on April 2, 2014

Also, if you just want really good short stories, please read Amy Hempel. She is my favorite living writer, and her stories are beautiful and simple and heartbreaking.
posted by bibliogrrl at 5:04 PM on April 3, 2014

I am a huge short-story fan, so really like this question.

One of my favorite collections (found at a used bookstore) is Other Voices, Other Vistas. The edition I have was published in 1992, I think (very different cover), but I'm guessing the contents are the same.
posted by itesser at 4:37 PM on April 6, 2014

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