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The Pull of the Recent Considered

Yesterday was a day off, as predicted. It was not the best sort of day off. I was too tired to leave the House. I helped Spooky clean the place a little. I started a painting I've been meaning to start since May. I read a little. There was a nap before dinner. After dinner, I went back to WoW and played my night-elf warrior, Mithwen, who has sat neglected since November 2008, when I abandoned her for my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad. Anyway...it was a day.

It would only have been a day, had Spooky's laptop not decided to go belly up. Again. Once again, it's probably the motherboard. She's taking it in for repairs today. Fortunately, it's still under warranty. But she'll be without it for a couple of weeks, which is going to make it harder to deal with eBay and various other necessary things. So it goes. She's stuck on my ancient, but dependable, iBook until her laptop comes back.

---

I wanted to put down some notes addressing John Glover's concerns, posted yesterday, that the "Best of CRK" volume would neglect older tales in favor of new ones. It is a concern that gets to the heart of why putting together the table of contents is proving so difficult for me (though there are other factors, as you'll soon see, that also make it very hard).

Yes, it's true. It's very hard for me to read the older stories (certainly those pre-2000). This is normal. Authors grow. Change. Our voices change, as do our likes and dislikes, etc. But, so far, a good portion of the ToC is comprised of stories written between 1995 and 1999, stories from Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores, and Wrong Things. So, they certainly won't be left out. It helps, too, that very few stories written after 2005 will be included, as those are being reserved for future collections. So, this is mostly Tales of Pain and Wonder through To Charles Fort, With Love and Alabaster. Mostly. There will be very little material from Sirenia Digest, for example. Which helps me to avoid giving the older stories the cold shoulder.

Of course, nothing from the novels written during that time will be included. And none of my comics work (the latter for legal reasons, as all my work for DC/Vertigo was "work for hire," and I don't own it, so have no reprint rights. And getting those rights would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.). This is a "best of short fiction" volume.

But the question of what goes in and what doesn't is more complex than making sure the book represents the full range of my work during this initial eleven-year chunk of my career ('94-'05). The biggest problem I have is in defining the term best. Are we talking about my personal favorites? Reader favorites? Those stories that have been chosen by editors for annual "best of" anthologies? The stories that have won awards? The stories that were only nominated for awards? The stories that have been singled out by reviewers and received the most praise? Stories that mark a sudden stylistic or thematic shift? The stories that have most often been reprinted?

What does best mean in this context? Truthfully, there's no correct answer to that question. All answers must be subjective, relative to one perspective or another. I'm weighing all of these factors (and probably a few more) in choosing the stories.

So, that should offer some insight into how I'm going about this process. When I was offered the chance to do the book, I think my reaction was, "Wow. This will be so easy!" But it's not even remotely simple.

---

It's 12:49 p.m., and I'm still not awake. Mothmen, get the oxygen tank!

Postscript: I just heard from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Ammonite Violin & Others is down to the last 82 copies. That's only 82 remaining out of 1,800 copies. So, if you want to snag one, you'd better do it very soon.

Comments

( 15 comments — Have your say! )
captaincurt81
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Best of CRK
Your choices will become clearer as you continue to examine the stories. Whatever you choose to include will make this a fascinating collection to own and read. Maybe you could make a grid showing which stories fall into which categories you mentioned, evaluate those results, and if grey areas emerge go with your gut. I appreciate the variety of factors being considered to reach your final TOC.
greygirlbeast
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Best of CRK

Maybe you could make a grid showing which stories fall into which categories you mentioned, evaluate those results, and if grey areas emerge go with your gut.

No grids, please.
captaincurt81
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Best of CRK
Whatever works for you.
mira_ceti
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
If i may throw my two cents in, i was hoping too you would put older stories in the best of, for the simple reason that i don't have "From Weird and Distant Shores", nor "To Charles Fort, With Love", nor "Wrong Things", nor "The Dry Salvages", for example. They all sold out before i could buy those, and though i could still find some of those on Amazon, the people are selling them for crazy prices...and it's money i don't have (and i wouldn't give the money to them actually, you wrote those books, i find it incredible that some do dare to ask so much money for their pocket for the work of someone else..).
But this to say, i'm glad to have the possibility of discovering a part of your work that i missed. So thank you very much for that.
And is there a chance that your older work might be reprinted one day? I started with "Threshold", the years before are missing except "Silk" and the reprint of "Tales of Pain and Wonder".
greygirlbeast
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)

I started with "Threshold", the years before are missing except "Silk" and the reprint of "Tales of Pain and Wonder".

Silk and Tales of Pain and Wonder are pretty much the beginning, along with From Weird and Distant Shores.
mira_ceti
Aug. 2nd, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
I see that on Amazon US, some are actually available, when i looked on Amazon FR, there the prices are just too much for me...At some point i thought Subterranean Press was selling your older works, i must have dreamed it..?
The Ammonite Violin will be ordered tonight, don't want to miss it!
greygirlbeast
Aug. 3rd, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)

At some point i thought Subterranean Press was selling your older works, i must have dreamed it..?

I fear you may have. Things almost always sell out fairly soon.
nykolus
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
for what it's worth, i am very pleased to hear TDS will be included in the collection. i rank it very high on my personal list.
greygirlbeast
Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)

i rank it very high on my personal list.

As do I.
alvyarin
Aug. 2nd, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
I am so very excited about this book!
kurtmulgrew
Aug. 2nd, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
What ever you choose to put in this volume of "Best of CRK" I'm sure it will turn out to be something everyone will enjoy. And I'm sure that whenever there's a second volume from your future stories in 15 or 20 years or whatever, it'll be even better ;)
greygirlbeast
Aug. 3rd, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)

And I'm sure that whenever there's a second volume from your future stories in 15 or 20 years or whatever, it'll be even better ;)

That my hope.
ulffriend
Aug. 2nd, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
Perhaps that's the way to approach the selection: by groupings rather than in one large batch. I can see the section headings: "The Award-winners"; "The Fan Favorites"; "The Reviewer Favorites".

One good thing is that there is really no way to go wrong with your selections. No matter what you pick, it will be someone's favorite story. Someone will look at the ToC and gasp with pleasure when they see the title. Of course there will be second-guessing, "Why this and not that?" But you can't include them all. And ultimately whatever you pick will be right.

Haven't read the new Sirenia yet. I have a busy week and I'm saving it as a reward for myself for making it through.
greygirlbeast
Aug. 3rd, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)

Perhaps that's the way to approach the selection: by groupings rather than in one large batch. I can see the section headings: "The Award-winners"; "The Fan Favorites"; "The Reviewer Favorites".

I think I may group by themes, with an alternative chronological table of contents at the back.
ceewayne
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
Hello Ms. K.

I would like the ones that you like Ms. K. What are the stories that were the most fun to write, the ones that were the toughest to write. The ones that mean something to you.
( 15 comments — Have your say! )