Edited by Roby James
Norilana Books (2008)
This collection, edited by Roby James, is touted to be inspired by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s long-running (even after her death) Sword and Sorceress anthologies. Where S&S were fantasy collections, Warrior Wisewoman purports to be science fiction with strong female characters taking the lead. I think the title, Warrior Wisewoman actually doesn’t do this goal justice, as to me, both title words indicate fantasy, as does the cover artwork, but regardless, that was the charter the contributors submitted to! Twelve stories, one of them by New Zealand author Douglas A. Van Belle, whose name, incidentally, was the only one that I recognised in any way. However, I imagine that many of the authors in the pages of Warrior Wisewoman will be seen in many more forums in the future. Continue reading
*sigh* It’s really not that hard to read outside the box you live in and try to look beyond the big name male editors that pop up all the time attached to anthologies. I won’t deny some of them are good, but when you make a list (like this one), why do six out of seven of the editors named have to be men (and two of them twice!!)? In response, I offer you some alternatives…
- After edited by Ellen Datlow (because Ellen IS a great editor and SHOULD be on a list like this – she just shouldn’t have to be the only woman!) – seriously, I could have picked any number of Datlow anthologies, or any one of the many she’s edited with Terri Windling (oh look, another female editor…)
- The AGOG! anthologies edited by Cat Sparks – for many years, the AGOG! books were a staple in the Australian speculative fiction publishing scene. The editor is currently working on a new anthology of climate change stories for Ticonderoga Press and I’ve no doubt it will be a return to the form of the original AGOG anthologies.
- Bloodstones and Bloodlines edited by Amanda Pillar – there are some great anthologies coming out of Australian small press (I’ll forbear mentioning my own at FableCroft – oops, actually, I won’t!) and these are just two that Pillar has edited. Always worth checking out.
- Defying Doomsday edited by Tsana Dolichva & Holly Kench – a powerful anthology from Twelfth Planet Press chock full of fantastic writers and a premise that proves it’s not always the “fittest” who survive – it’s the most tenacious, stubborn, enduring and innovative characters who have the best chance of adapting when everything is lost.
- Firebirds, Firebirds Rising and Firebirds Soaring edited by Sharyn November – three amazing collections filled to the brim with brilliant writers and great stories.
- Glitter and Mayhem edited by Lynne M Thomas et al – a little bit of a cheat, because Lynne does share editorial billing with some gentlemen, but it’s a fantastic anthology and Lynne’s an excellent editor (see also her Hugo Award for editing the non-fiction collection Chicks Dig Timelords and of course her work for Apex and Uncanny Magazine), so this is definitely worthy of inclusion.
- Hear Me Roar edited by Liz Gryzb – resourceful, resilient women who are committed to doing what is needed, no matter what the cost. Liz also edits the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror series with Talie Helene.
- Hidden Youth edited by Mikki Kendall and Chesya Burke – no, it’s not out yet, but if Hidden Youth is anything like its predecessor Long Hidden, it won’t be out of place here and definitely deserves a mention.
- Hellebore and Rue edited by Joselle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff – a book filled with stories of witches and women of power, set in worlds mundane, fantastical and future, where the central characters just happen to be lesbians.
- Kaleidoscope edited by Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios – one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read, as not only were the stories superb, but they also had important things to say about what the real world looks like. The editors are also responsible for the annual Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction series, and Alisa has several other original anthologies under her belt.
- Monstrous Affections edited by Kelly Link (and Gavin Grant) – Kelly is a fabulous writer and an excellent editor, if her track record is anything to go by and I’ve liked every book I’ve read that she has had a hand in.
- Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales edited by Paula Guran – an anthology list wouldn’t be complete without an offering from Guran, who is becoming one of the most prolific editors around. She’s working on original and reprinted collections, as well as various Year’s Bests, and is always worth a look.
- The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh & Joyce Chng – another reminder that not all anthologies worth reading come from the US…
- To Shape the Dark edited by Athena Andreadis – a quality anthology containing a diverse range of stories. I loved the theme for this one!
- Wilful Impropriety edited by Ekatarina Sedia – wonderfully subversive in terms of gender and sexuality. It reminded me a little of the Tamora Pierce & Josepha Sherman edited anthology Young Warriors (pretend it’s on the list, because I’ve mentioned it now…), except that what those stories did with race, these did with sexuality/gender. And oh my goodness, I didn’t realise until just now how MANY anthologies Sedia has under her belt –’scuse me, popping out to Amazon to grab a couple…
That’s what I’ve got for now, after a quick scan of my physical and Goodreads shelves. Not terribly hard to get a bit of diversity happening, am I right? That said, I am all too aware there are many more fabulous anthology editors out there doing amazing work – let me know some of your favourites in the comments!
Edited by Joselle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff
Lethe Press (2011)
The tagline of this anthology reads, “Tales of queer women and magic” – it is a book filled with stories of witches and women of power, set in worlds mundane, fantastical and future, where the central characters just happen to be lesbians. A fascinating idea, and a well executed one. I enjoyed all the stories within its pages, almost without exception, something that rarely happens with an anthology. Continue reading
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories
August 2014, Twelfth Planet Press
Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios (eds.)
Kaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It’s not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it’s not just the stories, which are engaging and beautiful and thoughtful and brilliant; it’s not just the way the authors explore science fiction and fantasy from perspectives all too frequently unseen in fiction; it’s all of these things, and that it seems so natural. In this anthology, every story takes a character (or two or three) who is often “othered” in fiction (and life), and makes their differences a part of the story. Readers will see themselves, they will see their friends, they will see their families, their cultures, their religious beliefs, their sexuality, their physical and mental states and they will see them as normal, as okay, as special. Not othered. Important and relevant and very very good, Kaleidoscope offers a powerful message to our society about difference, and about what we, as readers, want (and need) to see in our stories.
Some pieces, such as Tansy Rayner Roberts’ “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, offer a biting commentary on popular culture, couched in humour and teen spirit; others, such as “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon” by Ken Liu, take a gentler approach, examining first love with a fantasical twist. Some stories shade darker, as with “The Legend Trap” by Sean Williams (set in his Twinmaker universe, an added bonus for fans) and “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” by E.C. Myers; still others take a familiar trope and turn it sideways, like Faith Mudge’s “Signature” and “The Lovely Duckling” by Tim Susman. Some of my favourite works in the book were those that embedded the story in the protagonist’s nature, like the magic of Jim C. Hines’ “Chupacabra’s Song” and Karen Healey’s astonishingly good “Careful Magic”. There are so many wonderful stories in the pages of Kaleidoscope that every reader will find a favourite (or two or three), and every reader, teen or adult, will find at least one that speaks to them in deeper ways.
This review was first published at FableCroft on June 18, 2014.
Athena Andreadis (ed.)
Candlemark & Gleam (May, 2016)
I’m not really a science person. I love science fiction and fantasy, but I know that that science stuff is mostly trappings as far as I’m concerned (because I often don’t understand it – and generally don’t care…) and as long as it’s plausible and doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of a great story with characters I love (and hate), then I’m good with it. Which is why an anthology all about female scientists is a little intimidating. Not because of the women (duh) but because they all have to be scientists! What if I didn’t “get” it? What if the science is complicated and hard and makes me feel stupid? I was a little nervous going in, but the editor was very sneaky and started the book with stories that were so powerful and so well written that I quickly became immersed and forgot that lady scientists were the purpose because the stories were all that mattered. Which is exactly how it should be. Because even though being a scientist is both integral to the protagonists in each of the stories in the book, and these stories revolved around the protagonist’s profession, it’s not the science that matters – as with any good story, it’s the characters and their journeys that do the heavy lifting. Continue reading