Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Anthology or Not To Be?

I broke my rule about not buying anthologies to pick up the spectacular looking Rogues edited by that carefree scamp, George RR Martin. The main selling point was, of course, Neil Gaiman's new Neverwhere short story. It also features new fiction from some other authors I like, such as Connie Willis and Scott Lynch.

I don't usually buy anthologies. I kind of actively dislike them. They're often uneven, disjointed and they never feel worth the money. The stories always end just as they're starting to get good and twenty pages isn't long enough to show your stuff, metaphorically. Some people say they pick them up to get a feel for a new author, but I don't think I've ever discovered an author that way. Often, if I don't know the writer I'll just skip over the story.

So before I bring you a review of some of the best stories in the Rogues anthology tomorrow, I wanted to get your opinion on anthologies themselves. Do you like them? And, if you do, WHY? Do you use them to find new writers or do you like the shorter stories? I can't for the life of me figure them out.

Tell me in comment how you feel about anthologies, your answer might show up in my post tomorrow!
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  1. Anthologies are my secret love, honestly. I purchase any genre anthology I find, especially if they have a theme that interests me or an editor's name I recognize. 'Celebrity' authors are fine, but I really enjoy the idea of finding short stories in there to enjoy, then move on to another right away. I have an entire shelf of anthologies.

  2. I'm choosy about which anthologies I read but I'm a fan of short stories. I love Lightspeed magazine though. I read the short stories on my lunch break.

  3. I like short stories on the internet but I'll almost never read them in an anthology unless it's by an author I'm a huge fan of. I'll certainly never buy one.

  4. As an author, I have two stories in two different anthologies and NEVER. AGAIN.
    As you stated the format doesn't really give you much room to show off a story or characters. If the authors aren't all on the same page the whole volume doesn't feel right, like pants that are the wrong size. I wrote a YA paranormal for one anthology, found out later everyone else decided to write adult sci-fi, horror. Guess I missed that memo...

    I do buy Jeffrey Archer's anthologies, simply because he is the master of a short form mystery, so those always suck me in :)

  5. I generally have to either A) really love the theme and usually B) recognize and like at least three of the authors to make it worth actually buying an anthology. Otherwise I might pick it up at the library. I find short stories interesting reads because I have so much difficulty writing short myself, and so I like to try to identify what's done well, but there are few I finish and find I really loved. The Green Man: Tales of the Mythic Forest (http://www.amazon.com/Green-Man-Anthology-Mythic-Forest/dp/B003F76FMM) stands out as particularly well done, to me.

    And I did pick up a copy of Long Hidden (http://longhidden.com/) and am enjoying that (though I got tricked into reading a zombie story in there, and I really, really, really hate zombie stories [which I know makes me an SFF minority, but the Cauldron Born scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid and I just cannot deal]).