I’ve decided I to do a little challenge in 2022. I’ll be reading a bunch of speculative fiction anthologies and collections. Some were recommended on Twitter, or elsewhere, and some I’ve had on the shelf for too long. Putting them down here will help me stay accountable to myself, ~hopefully. Here they are in no particular order, with their Goodreads blurb.
The Tangleroot Palace: Stories, Margorie Liu
New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.
Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.
Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.
The Haunted Quill: An Anthology of Historical Speculative Fiction ed. Kate Francia.
A young girl in a mining town hears three knocks at her door on a dark night. Two Viking warriors, haunted by grief, enter a cursed forest of iron trees. A mysterious orphan girl hides in the rafters high above the stage of the Opéra le Peletier. A widowed mother and a ghost fight to save her homestead.
The Haunted Quill contains eight short stories and original illustrations that explore the strange and uncanny corners of history. Featuring original stories and reprints from new and established writers of speculative fiction, including: Jordan Taylor, Laura Hennessey DeSena, Stephen K Pettersson, Henry Herz, LH Moore, Jane Nightshade, Colleen Ennen, and Caren Gussoff Sumption.
Reworlding Ramallah: Short Science Fiction Stories from Palestine ed. Callum Copley
Critical science fiction, on its most basic level, is an opportunity to experiment with new ways of existing in the world; imaging different, economic, political and social structures. Within its pages, science fiction holds the space to test ambitious projects without the fear of failure. Reading and writing science fiction is, in all its imaginative and disruptive potential, something which I believe is valuable to anyone living under conditions which they wish to change.
‘Reworlding’ is the name given to a concerted effort to reimagine the places and spaces we inhabit, by generating a multiplicity of futures with which to affect the present positively. Reworlding takes the notion of worldbuilding beyond any ostensible purpose as art or entertainment and deploys aspects of it as a radical tool to instigate change in the world.
The stories compiled in this book were the outcome of a writing workshop series led by Callum Copley in a town called Birzeit, a few miles north of Ramallah, Palestine. From alien experiments, to fortune-tellers and telepathic conspiracies; the stories compiled here represent visions of the West Bank and beyond, reworlding both the local and the interplanetary. Although the contributions in the collection vary in form, length and style, all join a rapidly growing but comparatively small niche of Palestinian science fiction.
Robots vs Fairies ed. Dominik Parisien
A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome—robots or fairies?
Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!
People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an anthology that pitches genre against genre, science fiction against fantasy, through an epic battle of two icons.
On one side, robots continue to be the classic sci-fi phenomenon in literature and media, from Asimov to WALL-E, from Philip K. Dick to Terminator. On the other, fairies are the beloved icons and unquestionable rulers of fantastic fiction, from Tinkerbell to Tam Lin, from True Blood to Once Upon a Time. Both have proven to be infinitely fun, flexible, and challenging. But when you pit them against each other, which side will triumph as the greatest genre symbol of all time?
There can only be one…or can there?
Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire
From fairy tale forest to gloomy gothic moor, from gleaming epidemiologist’s lab to the sandy shores of Neverland, Seanan McGuire’s short fiction has been surprising, delighting, confusing, and transporting her readers since 2009. Now, for the first time, that fiction has been gathered together in one place, ready to be enjoyed one twisting, tangled tale at a time. Her work crosses genres and subverts expectations.
Meet the mad scientists of “Laughter at the Academy” and “The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells.” Glory in the potential of a Halloween that never ends. Follow two very different alphabets in “Frontier ABCs” and “From A to Z in the Book of Changes.” Get “Lost,” dress yourself “In Skeleton Leaves,” and remember how to fly. All this and more is waiting for you within the pages of this decade-spanning collection, including several pieces that have never before been reprinted. Stories about mermaids, robots, dolls, and Deep Ones are all here, ready for you to dive in.
This is a box of strange surprises dredged up from the depths of the sea, each one polished and prepared for your enjoyment. So take a chance, and allow yourself to be surprised.
Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond ed. Bill Campbell.
a groundbreaking speculative fiction anthology that showcases the work from some of the most talented writers inside and outside speculative fiction across the globe—including Junot Diaz, Victor LaValle, Lauren Beukes, N. K. Jemisin, Rabih Alameddine, S. P. Somtow, and more. These authors have earned such literary honors as the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker, among others.
Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements ed Adrienne Maree Brown.
Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing visionary fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. This book brings twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to experiment with new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a foreword by Sheree Renée Thomas.
Long Story Short by Jodi Taylor
Now in print for the very first time, this unmissable collection brings together seven short stories from the internationally bestselling Chronicles of St Mary’s series, and one special guest tale from somewhere completely different.
**Includes brand-new St Mary’s short story When Did You Last See Your Father? and original introductions from the author**
From riotous misbehaviour in Victorian London to ingenious feats of scientific invention (powdered water – just add water!), and from a chaotic Nativity play starring a vengeful Angel Gabriel to an illegal expedition to Mars, Jodi Taylor knows how to spin a good yarn.
Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap.
“Am I dead?”
Mebuyen sighs. She was hoping the girl would not ask.
Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, ‘A Spell for Foolish Hearts’ to the terrifying tension of the urban legend ‘Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez’
Silk & Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology ed. Janine A Southard.
Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills.
“Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is inevitably, “Both, working together!”
Herein, you’ll find duels and smugglers, dance battles and danger noodles, and even a new Swordspoint story!
From big names and bold new voices, these stories are fun, clever, and always positive about the power of love.
There is No Death, There Are No Dead ed. Jess Landry.
The spirits of the dead exist, and they want to communicate.
First appearing in the late 1800s, spiritualism became a religious movement that swept the nation. Under the assumption that the dead live on in the afterlife, spiritualists believed that contact with the dearly departed was not only possible, but something those who crossed over longed for. Contact was usually made through a medium, a person who claimed to have the ability to speak with the dead.
There Is No Death, There Are No Dead is a horror anthology that tackles all aspects of the spiritualist movement: from the true believers to the nay-sayers, the hoaxes to hauntings, the real mediums to the scam artists. From ghosts to possessions, from profound loss to insurmountable grief, these short stories explore limitless genres (historical fiction, Gaslamp mystery, modern horror, and everything in between) with a diverse cast of characters challenged at every corner.
There Is No Death, There Are No Dead includes new work from some of the most talented and respected authors in the horror and dark fantasy genres, featuring stories from Gemma Files, Helen Marshall, Kathe Koja, Lee Murray, David Demchuk, Lisa Morton, Gwendolyn Kiste, S.P. Miskowski, Seanan McGuire, Catherine Lord, Chesya Burke, Nadia Bulkin, Michelle Belanger, and Laird Barron, and edited by Bram Stoker Award winner Jess Landry and Aaron J. French.
The dead are speaking. Will you hear?
Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices ed. Swapna Knishna.
Featuring stories by a bestselling, cross-genre assortment of the most exciting writers working today, an anthology of gender-bent, race-bent, LGBTQIA+, and inclusive retellings from the vast lore surrounding King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table.
Here you’ll find the Lady of the Lake reimagined as an albino Ugandan sorceress and the Lady of Shalott as a wealthy, isolated woman in futuristic Mexico City; you’ll see Excalibur rediscovered as a baseball bat that grants a washed-up minor leaguer a fresh shot at glory and as a lost ceremonial drum that returns to a young First Nations boy the power and the dignity of his people. There are stories set in Gilded Age Chicago, ’80s New York, twenty-first century Singapore, and space; there are lesbian lady knights, Arthur and Merlin reborn in the modern era for a second chance at saving the world and falling in love–even a coffee shop AU.
Brave, bold, and groundbreaking, the stories in Sword Stone Table will bring fresh life to beloved myths and give long-time fans a chance to finally see themselves in their favorite legends.