Allow me to elaborate: With Planet Stories, we've published a lot of science fiction and fantasy that we felt was both fun and significant to the history of the genre. Which is why, about two years ago, I went to Erik with a proposal: what if we got together 15 of the coolest, most important SF authors alive—with an admitted bias toward the folks at the top of my own bookshelf—and convinced them to let us publish their first-ever SF short stories. In addition, we'd get new interviews from all the authors in which they would critique their own work, explaining what they know now that they wish they'd known then about writing, and giving advice for aspiring authors. It would be both an insightful look at the origins of my favorite authors (appealing to the fanboy in me) and a treasure trove of invaluable authorial advice (for which I remain a total sucker). Without question, it would be a lot of fun to put together. The real question was whether or not it was possible.
As it turns out, it was possible. Within a few weeks of beginning my quest, the anthology had expanded into an absolute powerhouse roster. While we already had good relationships with a few folks—preexisting friends of Paizo like China Miéville, Ben Bova, Nicola Griffith, and Piers Anthony—I was amazed to find just how generous and enthusiastic many of my favorite authors are. Cory Doctorow? Larry Niven? Mr. William "Invented-Internet-Culture" Gibson? Just seeing their names in my inbox was a childhood dream come true.
And now here's the result: an anthology full of advice and encouragement for writers, as well as rare early stories from your favorite authors—many that you may never have seen before, as they've lain fallow in out-of-print magazines. (For instance, when I first asked China to join the anthology, he sent me back not "Looking For Jake," which I had expected, but a bizarre post-apocalyptic short story that had been published when he was still just a kid, and which as far as my Internet research was concerned did not exist. That's the sort of discovery that can really make an editor's day.)
But I've rambled long enough. Below is the full table of contents, and I couldn't be prouder of it. If you decide to pick up a copy, be sure to head on over to the product discussion and post about it—I can't wait to hear which stories (and interviews!) are people's favorites!
- Piers Anthony: "Possible to Rue"
- Greg Bear: "Destroyers"
- Ben Bova: "A Long Way Back"
- David Brin: "Just a Hint"
- Cory Doctorow: "Craphound"
- William Gibson: "Fragments of a Hologram Rose"
- Nicola Griffith: "Mirrors and Burnstone"
- Joe Haldeman: "Out of Phase"
- China Miéville: "Highway 61 Revisited"
- Larry Niven: "The Coldest Place"
- Kim Stanley Robinson: "In Pierson’s Orchestra"
- Spider Robinson: "The Guy with the Eyes"
- R. A. Salvatore: "A Sparkle for Homer"
- Charles Stross: "The Boys"
- Michael Swanwick: "Ginungagap"
James L. Sutter