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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.
Books 71-80.
81. The Dakota Indian Internment at Fort Snelling, 1862-1864 by Corinne L. Monjeau-Marz.
82. A Life on Paper: Selected Stories by Georges-Olivier Ch√Ęteaureynaud, translated by Edward Gauvin.
83. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

84. Best American Fantasy, edited by Ann Vandermeer, Jeff Vandermeer, and Matthew Cheney. I had a hard time with this anthology; some of the stories were great, and some of them bored me, struck me as unambitious, or actively irritated me. (My reaction seems to be similar to that of Gwyneth Jones's, although the specific stories that bothered me vary from hers somewhat.) Kelly Link has a story here, and Meghan McCarron, and those are of course wonderful, but I had read them both before; all but one of the other stories were new to me. Many of them--more, probably, than in any genre "Best" I've read before--come from various literary journals. This is good in that I should read more from the literary journals than I do, but it's bad in that most of the stories from the literary journals made me less inclined to do so. Standout stories included those by Kevin Brockmeier, Daniel Alarcón, Julia Elliott, and Nicole Kornher-Stace. Only a couple of the remaining stories struck me as actively bad, but several of them struck me as playful in the wrong way--to me fantasy should be playful in the way that children are playful, and children are playful in a very serious way. Some of the selections here are playful in a more academic way, and came across as simultaneously less serious and more joyless than I prefer my fantasy--really, my fiction in general--to be. It's possible I'm just rationalizing a prejudice here, since the stories I did like seem to come mostly from the more genre-centric publications and writers. One thing that a reading experience like this does is to help me calibrate my tastes, and sometimes I'm surprised at how conventional they can be.
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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
51. Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame by Akira Yoshida and Paul Smith.

52. Best Short Novels 2006, Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Really these are novellas, and "best" is of course a subjective term; some of these worked for me and some didn't. Ian McDonald's "The Little Goddess" tries to use godlike technology as a metaphor for divinity, to some success. "Audubon in Atlantis," by Harry Turtledove is sort of a charming alternate history travelogue, but ultimately it doesn't go much of anywhere. Re-reading "Magic for Beginners" was a real pleasure, since it's one of the best stories I've ever read. Steven Erikson's "Fishin' With Grandma Matchie" was the biggest revelation of this volume, for me--a writer whom I don't think I've read before, with a wildly playful approach to language, presenting a gleeful twist on tall tales. And "The Cosmology of the Wider World," by Jeff Ford, is a talking animal story with a tragic ending that's no less impactful for being expected. The other stories in the volume, by Matthew Hughes, Cory Doctorow, Wil McCarthy, and Connie Willis, I gave up on within a few pages; with the exception of McCarthy, these are all authors that I already know I don't care for, so it's possible I'm guilty of not giving them an entirely fair chance. I know, I'm a philistine for not loving Connie Willis, I've heard it before. Life's too short, is all I can say.
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Polyphony 7 is happening, just barely, thus making some sort of statement about crowd-sourcing and the power of the small press. I'm not sure what that statement is exactly, but I think it has something to do with scraping and fingernails.

Please pre-order a copy if you haven't yet.

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For the locals: Friday at 7:30, myself, Alan DeNiro, Will Alexander, and Kelly Barnhill will be reading from the Interfictions 2 anthology. Please come! Magers & Quinn is located at 3038 Hennepin Avenue South in Minneapolis. More details here.
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(NOTE: My story "Bear In Contradicting Landscape" is scheduled to appear in Polyphony 7, but due to economic constraints detailed below the anthology has yet to appear. I'm posting the following at Deborah's request and with my full endorsement)

In 2002, the Polyphony anthology series debuted. Conceived as a short fiction venue for stories that would skate gracefully across the boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, and literary fiction, it was quickly recognized as the standard bearer for cross genre work. Since then, the series' six volumes have become a vital, unique collection of voices in literature of the fantastic.

Polyphony has been twice nominated for a World Fantasy Award and the stories therein have been featured in several "Year's Best" anthologies, along with garnering accolades from several award judges and committees. Polyphony authors range from multiple-award-winning seasoned writers to the previously unpublished. The series is truly a melodic interweaving of many voices: old and new, speculative and literary, heralded and unknown. Polyphony has not merely crossed literary boundaries, it has reformed and redefined them.

The harsh economic climate threatens to kill this vital series. Wheatland Press is asking for your help.

The authors have graciously made concessions to make Polyphony 7 a reality. They've agreed to a reduced pay rate to see the volume published. Now we need readers.

In order to publish Polyphony 7, Wheatland Press must receive 225 paid pre-orders via the website by March 1, 2010. If the pre-order quantities cannot be met, Polyphony will cease publication. It's that simple. The preorder link is here.

If the preorder number is met, then Polyphony 7 will be published on or about July 1, 2010.*

We have heard from many in the SF/F literary community that Polyphony is a vital part of landscape. We agree, but we cannot continue without your support. We hope that you will support our fine authors and their art by becoming part of the Polyphony community and pre-ordering a copy of Polyphony 7.

*The fine print: If we do not receive enough orders by March 1, then all preorders will be refunded immediately. Do feel free to buy another Wheatland Press title while you are stopping by the website! Those will, as always, ship immediately.
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Yesterday I received my lovely contributor's copies of the Interfictions 2 anthology. That would be the one that made Amazon's List of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2009. Reviews are popping up: Charles A. Tan says nice things about my story "The 121," while Strange Horizons reviewer T.S. Miller can't help wondering if the whole story isn't just a misguided joke. Ah, the schizophrenia of criticism.

The Interstitial Arts Foundation is pulling out all the stops on this one: go to their Annex and you can read free fiction by talented folks like Mark Rich, Kelly Barnhill, F. Brett Cox and Genevieve Valentine. There are auctions running this very minute for art objects based on some of the stories. Interviews with contributors like Jeff Ford and Cecil Castellucci are being posted at the site. And there are (or already have been) group readings by the contributors: you'll have to wait a short while for our local one (January 29th at Magers & Quinn), which will include myself, Alan Deniro, Will Alexander, and the aforementioned Kelly Barnhill. (Details to come as the date approaches.)

What's more, each contributor has been authorized to offer three copies of the anthology FREE to folks who pledge to review it on their blog or webpage. They suggested we come up with a nifty contest, but I'm no good at that kind of thing. If you're interested, leave a comment, and the first three who'd like a copy will get it. Remember that you are entering a contract which requires you to review the book! Interfictional lawyers will chase you down if you don't, and they can slide right through gaps in doors and windows and such.
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Don't take my word for it. Interfictions 2 just came out today, and has already picked it as one of the ten best science fiction and fantasy books of 2009.

It's not that I believe I have the golden touch or anything. I mean, yeah, Paper Cities just won the World Fantasy Award, but that doesn't mean that every anthology I have a story in from now on is going to be the best of the year.

Not necessarily, anyway.
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1. I am one of the interviewees in Locus magazine this month. Lest that make you reluctant to pick up a copy, the other interviewee is Connie Willis, so.

2. Paper Cities, the World Fantasy Award-nominated anthology in which my story "The Somnambulist" appears, is now available on the Kindle.

3. Not so much an announcement, but I will be dropping by the Twin Cities Book Festival tomorrow at some point, so if you're going to be there let me know and we can look for each other.

4. This is funny:

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Congratulations to everyone who was nominated. But in particular congratulations to Kathy Sedia, Matt Kressel, and my fellow contributors to the Paper Cities anthology (containing my story "The Somnambulist"), which is nominated for Best Anthology. W00t!


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