Friday, September 22, 2017
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Here's a story with the names rubbed off, lest I unintentionally give offense. Back in the Eighties, when I was what Gardner Dozois would persist in calling "a hot new writer," for a full decade, a small press published s series of small, cheap SF paperbacks, each containing half a dozen or so stories by a writer whom I considered one of the best of my generation. I eagerly bought them all... and was invariably disappointed. Because they'd all saved their best work for an eventual hardcover collection.
Years later, I was talking to Jim Turner, the extremely valuable editor of Arkham House and later Golden Gryphon Press, about these collections, and he said, "There was no reason not to use their best. I wasn't in direct competition with those books."
I remembered this later, when Chris Logan Edwards suggested I put together a slim collection of stories for his Tigereyes Press. So I went through my uncollected works and chose the very best and because they all were written in recent years, they had an underlying unity that worked well. Chris created a beautiful book with a wonderful cover by artist Lee Moyer
A Geography of Unknown Lands placed on the ballot for the World Fantasy Award for best collection.
The moral here, I think, is obvious.
And the reason for the picture above is...
So off I went, out into the countryside, on what I would have called a "mental health day," back when I pulled down a salary.
The picture above is of a cormorant drying its wings in the sun. Cormorants work hard. Usually, I do too. But not every day.
Above: Photograph by M. C. Porter. Marianne is a much better photographer than I'll ever be.