We need more, and more varied, best-of and reprint anthologies, with as much difference of approach in them as possible–not fewer. These are the arks of our common reading culture and outlive the magazines they often cull from. Without past anthos, the book of the weird would be impossible. Even with the internet, these anthos are crucial. The fewer we have, the more of an oligarchy of taste, and the more good work we consign to history’s dustbin.
For the better part of a year now I’ve been wondering out loud if there is a market for an annual The Best Online Short Stories anthology. The online mystery and crime fiction scene is hopping right now and I think one of the best ways to bring attention to it would be this type of annual anthology. But that’s not the only reason.
Keith Rawson and I were recently talking about some of the fallen zines. If there are two words to describe the online short story scene right now then vibrant would be one and transient would be the other. An annual anthology would go a long way to establishing a historical record, an actual artifact to ensure that great stories are remembered, so that future generations of readers can, at the very least, be aware of this time right now. Fifty years from now the only online publication that people will be aware of will be Thuglit.
If we make the assumption that the online scene is about a decade old then my suggestion for some brave publisher would be to offer up a couple best of the decade type anthologies that kick off the annual series. My guess is that there are some of the older, fallen zines that some people havet never heard of, especially if they are new to the community.
The rub is that there is a good chance this would be God’s work only and not very profitable. But with new models emerging in a business that’s changing I remain hopeful.
Let me know what you think? How does the idea of an annual anthology that focuses on online stories only sound? Would you buy one? At what price point? Would you read one? Let’s talk about this.
I would but one at a trade paperback price.