The Original Anthology Series in Science Fiction
by Rich Horton
Famously it is said that short fiction is central to SF. Short fiction is a convenient form for presenting a single idea, and as such is natural for a "literature of ideas". Many's the clever notion that won't carry a whole novel, but nicely drives 5000 words.
Thus the SF magazines, as a source of short fiction, have always been central to the genre. Indeed, the existence of a definable, separate, SF genre is usually linked to the appearance of the first magazine. Early genre SF was almost exclusively published in magazines, including most of the early novels (as serials). In the United States, SF books began appearing with some frequency after the Second World War. These included novels (usually reprints of magazine serials), collections of stories by popular authors, and anthologies of popular stories. Thus, the genre was clearly still magazine driven: almost everything published as a book had first appeared in a magazine. This soon began to change, of course. Many novels soon came out first in book form. But the magazines remained, and remain to this day, the primary original source of short genre SF.
That said, it soon occurred to some people that if readers would buy a collection of old stories, or a magazine with new stories, they might buy a collection of new stories as well. Now such a collection might be built on a theme, or it might be planned as a oneshot. But one thing a magazine trades on is a consistent identity, a brand name. Why not a brand name for an anthology? Thus, the original anthology series.
Frederik Pohl edited the earliest original anthology series, Star Science Fiction, for Ballantine. Six numbers were published between 1953 and 1959, with a special seventh collection of novellas, called Star Short Novels (1954). The very first issue of Star published stories by such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Clifford Simak and Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore. This book also featured at least one all-time SF classic short story: Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God". From the beginning, the model for the original anthology series was set: try to establish, via some combination of high pay, perceived prestige (enhanced by relatively low frequency as well as the cachet of book publication, usually in hardcovers), and selectivity, a market which can publish not just a representative selection of available short fiction, but more generally, an elite selection. This ideal has been realized fairly often in the history of original anthologies, in my opinion: certainly in their respective days, Star, Orbit, Universe, New Dimensions, and Full Spectrum all could claim to have been elite collections, at least for a span. And currently, Tor's Starlight series, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, is such an anthology: managing to be, for the happy few of us SF short fiction followers, an event in each year it is published.
Star continued to be a source for memorable stories. #2 featured Jerome Bixby's classic "It's a Good Life". #3 featured Clarke's novelet "The Deep Range", and Gerald Kersh's somewhat overlooked, but quite remarkable, story "Whatever Happened to Corporal Cuckoo". The later issues seem to me less excellent, though fine stories by Cordwainer Smith, Chan Davis, and Fritz Leiber were highlights. There was also a very brief attempt (one issue) to turn the anthology series into a magazine.
After Star ceased publishing, there were no significant original anthology series until the mid-1960's. Damon Knight, whose amazing career in SF already encompassed major contributions as a fan, a writer, a critic, and as the first president of Science Fiction Writers of America, published the first number of Orbit, which became nearly the longest lived of all SF original anthology series, in terms of number of issues. (Only the English series New Writings in SF seems to have published more issues.) The 21 total numbers were published between 1966 and 1977. (Unusually for original anthologies, there were often multiple issues of Orbit in a single year, including three in 1974 alone.)
Right from the beginning, Orbit attracted major writers and excellent stories. The first issue included Richard McKenna's Nebula winner "The Secret Place", as well as James Blish's classic "How Beautiful With Banners". The second number featured Brian Aldiss, with "Full Sun", and Joanna Russ' first two Alyx stories: "The Adventuress" (a.k.a. "Bluestocking) and "I Gave Her Sack and Sherry" (a.k.a. "I Thought She was Afeard Until She Stroked My Beard"), and one of Gene Wolfe's first published stories, "Trip Trap". Orbit 3 featured two award winners: "The Planners", by Kate Wilhelm, and "Mother to the World" by Richard Wilson.
And so it went. Orbit was established as perhaps the "prestige" market for SF short fiction. Its reputation was as a very "literary" market, but Knight also published Charles Harness, Vernor Vinge, and Keith Laumer, none of them overtly literary. Good science fiction was what he wanted, and the results show it.
Three writers are perhaps more closely associated with Orbit than any others. These three published stories in almost every edition of the anthology. They are R. A. Lafferty, Gene Wolfe, and Kate Wilhelm. Lafferty even published a collection of his stories from Orbit, called, naturally enough, Lafferty in Orbit. Others among the many featured in Orbit include Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Thomas Disch, Howard Waldrop, and Brian W. Aldiss. Knight also encouraged new writers, publishing early stories by Wolfe, James Sallis, Gardner Dozois, Eleanor Arnason, Carter Scholz (his first story), Kim Stanley Robinson (his first two stories), and more.
The Prolific 1970s
Orbit was certainly a succes d'estime, and to have lasted for 21 editions, it must have been at least a moderate financial success as well. At any rate, it seemed to open the floodgates for a raft of original anthology series which came out in the 1970s. The two most prominent of these were New Dimensions, edited by Robert Silverberg, and Universe, edited by Terry Carr.
These two both came out pretty much yearly. New Dimensions ran for 12 numbers, from 1971 through 1981. The last two were co-edited with Marta Randall, and a thirteenth was apparently assembled, to be edited by Randall alone, but never published. (One of the stories in it was to have been Connie Willis' brilliant, savage, "All My Darling Daughters".) Universe ran for 17 numbers, from 1971 through 1987, and only ceased publishing upon Carr's untimely death. These two anthology series, with Orbit, were the clear leaders of the field for the extent of their existence. Like Orbit, each published a great many award winners and award nominees, and all three anthology series would probably be classified as at the "literary" end of the SF spectrum, though a subjective rating (by me) of the three on a "literariness" spectrum, assuming such a dubious thing could be quantified, would rank them Orbit, New Dimensions, Universe from most to least overtly "literary". New Dimensions and Universe were regarded as rivals for the same material, in one famous case apparently both deciding to buy the same story, Howard Waldrop and Steven Utley's "Custer's Last Jump" (Carr won, and that excellent piece appeared in Universe 6). (An odd aspect of the rivalry was that each editor regularly published the other's stories.)
Among the significant stories published in New Dimensions were Ursula Le Guin's "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" and her Hugo winner "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", Joanna Russ' "Nobody's Home", James Tiptree, Jr.'s Hugo winner "The Girl Who Was Plugged In", Gardner Dozois' Nebula winning novella "Strangers", and Suzy McKee Charnas' Nebula winner "Unicorn Tapestry". Silverberg didn't seem to have "regulars" in the sense that Knight did for Orbit, though Barry Malzberg published quite a few stories in New Dimensions. Other prominent authors featured included Isaac Asimov (indeed his novel The Gods Themselves apparently owes its genesis to a novelet originally intended for New Dimensions), Harlan Ellison, Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, and Vonda McIntyre. Silverberg also published early work by Marta Randall, Richard Grant, Pat Cadigan, Michael Swanwick, and Phyllis Eisenstein, among others. Those lists reveal a notable affinity for writing by women, certainly in part a product of the times, as women entered the SF field in much greater numbers in the 1970s, but, I think, quite striking regardless.
Universe led off with a bang, featuring Robert Silverberg's Nebula-winning short story "Good News from the Vatican" in its first issue. Other award-winners from Universe included "If the Stars are Gods", by Gordon Eklund and Gregory Benford, "The Ugly Chickens", by Howard Waldrop, "The Quickening" by Michael Bishop, and "Paladin of the Lost Hour" by Harlan Ellison. Among the additional memorable stories Carr published are "The Lucky Strike", by Kim Stanley Robinson, "The Slovo Stove", by Avram Davidson, "A Rite of Spring", by Fritz Leiber, and several wonderful Gene Wolfe pieces, such as "The Death of Doctor Island", "The Rubber Bend" and "The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automaton". Carr also regularly published Edgar Pangborn's beautiful, moving, post-Apocalypse stories, before Pangborn's death in 1976. Universe also featured early stories by Molly Gloss (her first story), Michael Cassutt (his second), Geo. Alec Effinger (who also was featured a lot in both New Dimensions and Orbit), Lucius Shepard, and Robert Reed (his first story).
These lists of stories bring back old memories indeed. This review reminds me how much I liked Universe, which was for whatever reason (maybe the Pangborn stories, maybe the Wolfe stories) my favorite anthology series.
Though Universe and New Dimensions were surely the most prominent of the original anthology successors to Orbit, they weren't the first. Two fairly short-lived series debuted in 1970. Quark was edited by Samuel Delany and his wife, the fine poet Marilyn Hacker. Four issues appeared in 1970 and 1971. This anthology definitely tended to publish experimental, "New Wave", stories. Regular authors included Thomas M. Disch, R. A. Lafferty, and Joanna Russ. They also published early work by Vonda N. McIntyre and Christopher Priest, and fairly late work by A. E. van Vogt. My favorite Quark story is one of Larry Niven's best stories: "The Fourth Profession". The other 1970 debut was Infinity, edited by Robert Hoskins. Five numbers came about between 1970 and 1973. Infinity featured stories by the likes of Poul Anderson, Barry N. Malzberg, Robert Silverberg, and Arthur C. Clarke (including a reprint of Clarke's earlier classic, "The Star", first published in the Hoskins-edited magazine also called Infinity, November 1955). Early stories by Edward Bryant and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, among others, were published here.
Throughout the 1970s, original anthology series kept cropping up. One reputation shared by all three of the major series mentioned above was for preferring more literary, more "New Wave", more experimental, stories. (I would argue that all three editors were hospitable to such stories, yes, but all were quite happy to publish excellent stories in the traditional SF vein.) At any rate, Judy-Lynn del Rey, the Science Fiction editor at Ballantine Books (which Science Fiction imprint was renamed Del Rey Books after her), vowed to publish an anthology series devoted to "stories". Ballantine was the publisher of Pohl's pioneering series Star, so del Rey named the new series Stellar as an hommage. Ironically, one of the best stories in Stellar 1 was the decidedly literary "Schwartz Between the Galaxies", by Robert Silverberg. But by and large del Rey was quite successful in achieving an "old-fashioned" feel. Partly she did this simply by publishing stories by SF veterans: Clifford Simak, Hal Clement, Gordon Dickson, and Jack Williamson all appeared in Stellar, as did Isaac Asimov with the most famous story Stellar printed, his Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella "The Bicentennial Man". Del Rey also tended to publish writers from the "hard SF" end of the spectrum: besides Clement and Asimov, she featured several stories by Larry Niven and by Charles Sheffield, and the most regular contributor to the anthology series was James P. Hogan. Stellar also published work by James Tiptree, Jr., Philip K. Dick, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Anne McCaffrey. Besides the Asimov and Silverberg stories already mentioned, memorable stories from Stellar include Tiptree's "We Who Stole the Dream" and Vernor Vinge's "The Whirligig of Time". Stellar ran for seven numbers (from 1974 through 1981), as well as (again in imitation of Star) one collection of novellas, Stellar Short Novels.
Two other general interest SF original anthology series to appear during the '70s were Nova, edited by Harry Harrison (four volumes, published between 1970 and 1974) and Chrysalis, edited by Roy Torgeson (10 volumes, published between 1976 and 1983). Nova featured Brian W. Aldiss regularly, and also published interesting stories by James Tiptree, Jr., Robert Sheckley, Barry Malzberg (and his alter-ego K. M. O'Donnell) and Philip Jose Farmer. The obscure Chrysalis published what is, in retrospect, a refreshingly different sampling of SF writers. The overall quality was clearly not up to that of the Carr and Silverberg anthologies, but the feel was strikingly different, and the anthologies served a purpose by showcasing some less familiar writers. Thomas Monteleone and Australian writer Leanne Frahm were Chrysalis regulars. Torgeson also published interesting work by Jayge Carr, Al Sarrantonio, Tanith Lee, Steve Rasnic Tem, Orson Scott Card and Octavia Butler. He published some of the last stories of Theodore Sturgeon and Margaret St. Clair, and some early stories by Somtow Sucharitkul and Elizabeth Lynn.
The multiplication of original anthology series suggested to some that anthologies devoted to more restricted areas of the field might be of interest. There were at least three series devoted to Sword and Sorcery only, for example. One of these was Flashing Swords, edited by Lin Carter (five volumes between 1973 and 1981), featuring stories (almost always novelet-length) by Poul Anderson, Jack Vance, Andre Norton, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock and others. Carter published almost exclusively stories by established writers, often working in their well-known worlds. Another S&S anthology series was Swords Against Darkness, edited by Andrew J. Offutt (five volumes between 1977 and 1979). Offutt published a wider range of authors, and his selections often had a tinge of horror. Regular contributors included Ramsey Campbell, Tanith Lee, and Manly Wade Wellman. At this time (1979 and 1980) Chrysalis editor Roy Torgeson published two numbers of an explicitly "fantasy" original anthology, Other Worlds, which had a feel much like that of Chrysalis.
The third series restricted to Sword and Sorcery is in fact restricted even further. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Swords and Sorceresses series began in 1983 and still continues. 18 editions have been published, though apparently it will stop after the 20th, due to Bradley's death. It features Sword and Sorcery stories with strong female protagonists only. The anthology has always heavily featured new writers, and Bradley can be said to have had a sort of "stable", surrounding this anthology, her Darkover anthologies, and her magazine, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. Bradley herself admitted that some of the earlier anthologies ran some rather weak stories, but the quality has definitely improved. Regular contributors include Dorothy J. Heydt, Vera Nazarian, Diana J. Paxson, Patricia Duffy Novak and Laura J. Underwood. Prominent fantasy novelists such as Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Roberson, and Laurell K. Hamilton published early stories in this anthology series. Other prominent include Lawrence Watt-Evans and C. J. Cherryh. Unsurprisingly, Bradley publishes a great many women writers, but she has always also published men.
Beginning in 1978 and continuing through most of the '80s Charles L. Grant edited a well-regarded series of original anthologies of horror, or perhaps more properly, "dark fantasy", stories, collectively called Shadows (10 numbers, from 1978 through 1988, with a follow-up, Final Shadows, in 1991). Shadows 1 includes such striking stories as "Naples" by Avram Davidson and "When Spirits Gat Them Home" (later retitled "Her Bounty to the Dead", and don't I appreciate a writer who can come up with two beautiful titles from a Wallace Stevens poem for the same story!), by John Crowley. Later editions featured stories by horror legends such as Stephen King, Robert Bloch, and Richard C. Matheson, as well as regular contributions from Ramsey Campbell, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and even a very early story from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski.
One of the stranger concepts for an original anthology series was that of Continuum, edited by Roger Elwood, the super-prolific 1970's editor of all sorts of SF anthologies. This anthology series consisted of four numbers, published in 1974 and 1975. The gimmick was that the stories were all parts of series, which were continued from issue to issue. These books featured the beginning of Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series, eventually a trilogy of novels, as well as a group of Poul Anderson stories that became his novel New America, sequel to the much earlier Orbit Unlimited. Also of note were a very quirky set of stories by Gene Wolfe, and some of Edgar Pangborn's post-Apocalypse stories.
Another original anthology series with a somewhat different format was edited by James Baen. After Baen's energetic stint as editor of Galaxy (my favorite magazine at that time), he joined Ace Books. One of his projects for Ace was something he called a "paperback magazine", Destinies. This was published as a paperback, but numbered and dated like a magazine, and it incorporated features like those of a magazine (book reviews, science articles, editorials, serials). Destinies lasted for 11 issues, it was published roughly quarterly from 1978 through 1981. Regular authors included Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, Charles Sheffield and Richard Wilson. Baen later revived this general concept in the mid-80s, after he had his own imprint, Baen Books. He published 7 issues of Far Frontiers, co-edited with Jerry Pournelle, then 8 more issues (numbered confusingly 1 through 4, and 6 through 9) of New Destinies. Both these anthology series, not surprisingly, published stories of the type Baen Books publishes: a lot of Military SF, generally somewhat "hard" in feel. Notable stories included Greg Bear's "Through Road No Whither", and Vernor Vinge's outstanding "The Blabber", in which he first introduced his concept of the Zones. Other authors featured included Elizabeth Moon, Lois McMaster Bujold, Timothy Zahn, Dean Ing, and Poul Anderson.
In some ways the anthologies Far Frontiers and New Destinies could have been regarded as "Baen Books Showcases" in that they often featured novelists whose books were coming from Baen. From 1980 through 1982 Berkley Books published five anthologies called The Berkley Showcase. These also often (though not, I think, exclusively) featured Berkley authors. They were edited by Victoria Schochet and John Silbersack for the first four volumes, the fifth by Schochet and Melissa Singer. They were somewhat obscure at the time, I thought, but they published some interesting stories: including "Sergeant Pepper" by Karl Hansen, "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat" by Glen Cook, and "The Pathosfinder" by Pat Cadigan, as well as stories by Howard Waldrop, Orson Scott Card and R. A. Lafferty.
Another anthology concept which sprung up in the late '70s and became quite popular in the '80s was that of the "Shared World". This is probably worth an article of its own, suffice it to mention here such significant examples as Thieves' World, edited by Robert Lynn Asprin and Lynn Abbey, Wild Cards, edited by George R. R. Martin, Heroes in Hell, edited by Janet Morris, Merovingen Nights, edited by C. J. Cherryh and Liavek, edited by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull.
New Writers Only
At least three original anthology series have restricted themselves to new writers. These are Clarion, of which three volumes were published 1971-1973, edited by Robin Scott Wilson, and a later volume in 1977 edited by Kate Wilhelm, New Voices, four volumes edited by George R. R. Martin, from 1977 through 1981, and L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, edited for 8 volumes by Algis Budrys, then by Dave Wolverton, which has been published annually from 1985 to the present.
The formats of these three series differed. Clarion published stories by students who attended the famous (and still ongoing) Clarion Writers' Workshops, for beginning writers, as well as some essays by the teachers. There were interesting stories by George Alec Effinger, Octavia Butler, Lisa Tuttle, Glen Cook, Carter Scholz and Pat (later P.C.) Hodgell. New Voices published stories by nominees for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Among the writers included were Tuttle again, Joan D. Vinge, John Varley, Alan Brennert, and Jerry Pournelle. Finally, Writers of the Future publishes winners and other well-regarded entries from the Writers of the Future contest. They also publish essays by professional writers on writing. Notable contributors of fiction include Wolverton, David Zindell, Karen Joy Fowler, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and R. Garcia y Robertson.
British Original Anthology Series
As an American, I had much less access, in general, to the various anthologies published in the United Kingdom. However, there were at least two long-lived and influential series, both, interestingly, offspring of the most durable English SF Magazine, New Worlds.
(Edward) John (Ted) Carnell was for a long time the editor of New Worlds. In about 1964 he left that post, leaving the magazine in the hands of Michael Moorcock, who famously instigated the "New Wave". Carnell at this time began a series of original anthologies: New Writings in SF. This series ran for 21 issues between 1964 and 1972 (when Carnell died), and continued through number 30 in 1977 under the editorship of Kenneth Bulmer. I've seen American editions of a few of these anthologies, but mostly they were only published in the UK. A glance at the tables of contents reveals a strikingly different set of writers from American anthologies (hardly surprising). Carnell's tastes seem, in general, to be somewhat traditional, while Bulmer published some more experimental stories (such as several of Brian W. Aldiss' "Enigmas").
Significant stories published in New Writings in SF include Brian W. Aldiss' "Man on Bridge", a number of James White's Sector General stories, and many of Colin Kapp's "Unorthodox Engineer" stories. Later on, under Kenneth Bulmer, portions of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous With Rama, and Christopher Priest's novel The Inverted World, were published in the books. Regular contributors to Carnell included Kapp, White, John Rackham, Joseph Green, and John Baxter. Carnell published early stories by Priest, Damien Broderick, and M. John Harrison. Under Bulmer, Kapp remained a regular contributor, and Cherry Wilder, Aldiss, and E. C. Tubb were also frequent contributors.
These anthologies seem quite notably products of the "British Empire": we see Englishmen like Aldiss and Priest, a Northern Irishman such as White, Australians like Baxter and Broderick, a New Zealander in Cherry Wilder, and even the odd American such as Joseph Green.
In the meantime, Michael Moorcock had transformed New Worlds utterly. Throughout the late '60s it was notorious as the leading exponent of the "New Wave" in SF. By 1971, the magazine was dead in that format, however. But Moorcock began publishing New Worlds in book form, at first called New Worlds Quarterly. The books occasionally included reprints of stories from the magazine, but eventually became purely original, and from the beginning, most of the stories were new. The first 5 numbers were edited by Moorcock alone. With number 6 the "Quarterly" designation was dropped, and Charles Platt was co-editor. Platt and Hilary Bailey edited number 7, and Bailey alone edited numbers 8 through 10.
The original anthologies definitely continued the tradition of the Moorcock New Worlds magazine. It is striking to review the contents of these books and see how many fine stories were published. Many of the "experiments" were failures, but many too were very successful, and at his most radical Moorcock wouldn't refuse a very good story that wasn't "experimental". Stories from the Moorcock New Worlds anthologies include one of M. John Harrison's first Viriconium pieces, "The Lamia and Lord Cromis", Thomas M. Disch's "Angouleme", and Keith Roberts' "The Grain Kings" and "Weihnachtabend". Barrington J. Bayley and John Sladek were regular contributors, and Eleanor Arnason's first story was in New Worlds #5.
Under Bailey's editorship, New Worlds featured Arnason's classic "The Warlord of Saturn's Moons", a number of "Dancers at the End of Time" stories by Moorcock, more stuff from Barrington Bayley and Keith Roberts and Thomas Disch, and the debut of Geoff Ryman. New Worlds #10 was published in 1976, and after that the famous name seemed to die.
However, in 1991 David Garnett revived the name, and began a new series of original anthologies, in the tradition, more or less, of Moorcock's New Worlds. Four issues were published, from 1991 through 1994, numbered 1 through 4 (with internal numberings continuing the whole number series of the original magazine so that Garnett's first anthology was #217.) Garnett's anthologies featured contributions from New Worlds mainstays like Brian W. Aldiss and Barrington J. Bayley, as well as fine newer writers such as Gwyneth Jones, Paul di Filippo, Peter Hamilton, and Simon Ings. While this series ended at four, Garnett has again revived the name, publishing a very fine anthology as simply New Worlds (obscurely numbered 222 inside), in 1997. This book included very good stories by Moorcock ("London Bone"), Kim Newman ("Great Western") and Howard Waldrop ("Heart of Whitenesse"), as well as contributions from William Gibson, Ian Watson, and Pat Cadigan among others.
One more UK original anthology series, less well known, was Andromeda, edited by Peter Weston. Three of these were published, from 1976 through 1978, and interesting stories by Ian Watson, Harlan Ellison, George R. R. Martin, Larry Niven and Fritz Leiber were published therein.
Into the 1990's
The significance of general interest SF original anthology series lessened during the 1980s. By the middle of the decade, Terry Carr's Universe was the only remaining such beast, and then Universe ceased with Carr's death. Into the void stepped a new player: Full Spectrum. This was apparently the brainchild of Bantam SF editor Lou Aronica, and for the five editions published in this series, editing credit went to an ever-changing crew of people, apparently all part of the Bantam staff (much as with The Berkley Showcase). (Besides Aronica, editors credited for one or more of the books included Shawna McCarthy, Amy Stout, Pat LoBrutto, Betsy Mitchell, Janna Silverstein, Tom Dupree and Jennifer Hershey.) The Full Spectrum books avowedly had the goal of publishing stories across the "full spectrum" of the SF range, from hard SF to fantasy, and also to publish stories of "literary ambition". In this they most clearly resembled the triumvirate of 1970's anthologies, Orbit, New Dimensions, and Universe. But these books were much bigger than the earlier original anthologies. (Except for some standalones such as Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions.) The first issue featured no less than 25 stories, and it was successful with award voters as well, featuring a Nebula Winner in James Morrow's "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge", as well as two stories which were nominated for both a Nebula and a Hugo, Norman Spinrad's novella "Journals of the Plague Years" and Jack McDevitt's short story "The Fort Moxie Branch". Subsequent numbers featured impressive stories such as Greg Bear's "Sleepside Story", David Brin's "The Giving Plague" and "What Continues, What Fails", Gregory Benford's "Matter's End", Karen Joy Fowler's "Black Glass", Martha Soukup's "The Story So Far", and Gene Wolfe's great novella "The Ziggurat". Interesting writers who published early stories in Full Spectrum include L. Timmel Duchamp, Ted Chiang, Patricia Anthony and David Zindell. Full Spectrum ran for five editions between 1988 and 1995.
Full Spectrum was soon followed into the market by the relaunch of a familiar name. Robert Silverberg, with his wife Karen Haber, decided to continue the Universe name, partly in memory of Terry Carr's efforts. They published three anthologies, every other year from 1990 through 1994. These, like Full Spectrum, were long, and emphasized eclecticism and so-called "literary" values. To my perception, the stories in these three anthologies tended a bit more to the exotic, the colorful, than the Full Spectrum stories. My favorite stories were "The Shores of Bohemia" by Bruce Sterling, and "Going West" by Phillip C. Jennings. Universe also published interesting work by Ursula K. Le Guin (her return to the Hainish universe, with "The Shobies' Story"), Barry N. Malzberg, Paul di Filippo, and Sean McMullen, as well as early stories by Jamil Nasir, Alex Jeffers and Tony Daniel. All in all, this was an interesting anthology, but it didn't quite reach the heights of either Full Spectrum or the earlier incarnation of Universe.
I've already mentioned the various incarnations of New Worlds as an original anthology, including its early '90s series. At about this time, 1992 and 1993, another magazine known for publishing cutting edge SF, Omni, ventured into the original anthology field with a short-lived series of three books, entitled Omni Best Science Fiction One, Two and Three, edited by Omni Fiction editor Ellen Datlow. Like the early editions of New Worlds Quarterly, these books mixed in a few reprints from the parent magazine, but the bulk of the stories were original. Authors featured included Dan Simmons, John Crowley, Ursula K. Le Guin, Paul Park, Lucius Shepard, Pat Cadigan and Elizabeth Hand.
By 1996 it seemed that the field would support one major original anthology series installment per year, and that Full Spectrum and Universe would be that book in alternate years. But both had stopped publishing. Into the gap stepped Starlight, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden. The first issue made a big splash, with impressive stories like "Erase, Record, Play" by John M. Ford, "The Dead" by Michael Swanwick, "The Cost to be Wise" by Maureen McHugh, "The Weighing of Ayre" by Gregory Feeley, and the Nebula-winning short story "Sister Emily's Lightship", by Jane Yolen. Two very impressive debut stories were also included, by Andy Duncan and Susanna Clarke. Starlight clearly fits the mold of the original anthology series established by Star, and fixed in place by Orbit: publish a wide range of stories, biased if anything towards the "literary" end of the spectrum, try to establish the market as a prestige market. The second issue, from 1998, is also strong, including Ted Chiang's remarkable novella "Story of Your Life", Raphael Carter's Tiptree Award winning story "Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation", and impressive stories by Clarke, Angelica Gorodischer, Martha Soukup, and Jonathan Lethem. The third issue, from 2001, also had many fine stories, particularly Maureen McHugh's "Interview: On Any Given Day".
These days a lot of SF, including many short story collections, is published by the small press. It seems natural that small presses might produce original anthologies, and the Ministry of Whimsy Press is now publishing an anthology series, Leviathan. Two themed volumes have appeared to date, in 1997 and 1998, with a third planned for 2002. Jeff VanderMeer has edited both, with assistance from Luke O'Grady on the first and Rose Secrest on the second. Leviathan explicitly publishes "cross-genre" fiction, or as VanderMeer writes "our brave little circus of surrealism and fabulation". A slipstream anthology, one might say. They have published such writers as Stepan Chapman, Mark Rich, L. Timmel Duchamp, and Richard Calder. I particularly like the Chapman story "Minutes of the Last Meeting" from Leviathan 2.
The New Millennium
The original anthology series, a rare beast when it was invented, became amazingly common during the 1970s, but has slowly diminished in popularity so that now we are lucky to see one major anthology per year. I hope we can maintain at least that rate. Starlight already plans at least a third volume, for 2000. What other anthology series may compete with it? I hope that the Phoenix-like New Worlds will continue to publish. In addition, some of the people involved with Full Spectrum are now at Avon, and apparently plan a new anthology "in the spirit of Full Spectrum". (From a later perspective, both those naive hopes of mine remain unfulfilled.)
I've long looked forward to the best anthologies. At their best, they publish both very high quality stories, and a broad range of stories. Often they publish rather quirky stories as well. High pay, a certain increased attention in terms of reviews, an impression of the better series as prestige markets, and editorial policies and schedules which sometimes allow greater selectivity, have allowed the editors of many of these anthologies to consistently feature a sampling of the best short SF of their respective periods. The magazines remain the lifeblood of the field, the place where the most short stories are published, and the most new writers are first featured, but it does us good to have a book to point to each year as a special event.