Unlike many authors, I read every single contributor’s copy I am sent. Why, you ask? For many reasons. The first and most obvious is that It helps me keep up with what’s happening in those corners of the genre that I frequent.
In a less pleasant vein, I sometimes find that the places that published my work might not be up to the expected standards–which means I won’t sub there again. Or, conversely, the other stories might be so good that I feel like a third grader walking taking that stroll with Virgil and Dante… completely out of my depth. I always send my best stories to people who make me feel that way.
So I get a lot more than just reading pleasure from this practice–it’s professionally useful, too.
It’s nice to have a serious-sounding excuse to read more stories, isn’t it?
Anyway, before this digression gets overly long (yes, I know it’s already too late for that), today’s post deals with a couple of contributor’s copies from a couple of years ago (never said I was fast, did I?).
Visions III: Inside the Kuiper Belt is one of those anthos that did the Dante thing to me. To be completely honest, I didn’t like the cover art, so wasn’t expecting too much from the stories inside. And then, one after another, they all turned out to be absolutely brilliant. Every one of them was a space adventure that was both well written and entertaining, a combination which, as anyone who’s picked up a Year’s Best antho lately can attest, is getting as rare as three dollar bills. Better still, middle-class guilt and political concerns are nearly completely absent. What joy in this day and age!
Not only do I recommend this anthology wholeheartedly, but I also put my money where my mouth was and sent the editors stories for two more anthos in this series, both of which are sitting in my TBR pile, and both of which I am looking forward to anxiously! Go out and get one, you won’t regret it.
Strangely Funny III is a different animal altogether. Humor can often be hit-or-miss, but this series takes the risk and handles it well. Of course, there are a few stories that don’t quite work for me, but most of them do really well in both telling their story and getting some laughs – admirable goals both!
The stories skew towards horror and the humor sometimes tends to the ghoulish over the slapstick (or combines both). Not something I’d normally pick up at a bookstore, but definitely a genre it’s good to be familiar with – especially since I have been known to write humor every once in a while.
So yes, I’ll keep reading my contributor copies, and let the cutsheet bandits to do their own thing.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer. His novel Siege is for those who think they’d enjoy Visions III, and The Malakiad for those who think Strangely Funny would be more their cup of tea. He aims to please!