Looking for some great Halloween reads?

ZombiesMoreRecent-200Zombies: More Recent Dead‘s first review at Thinking About Books. Each story is covered, but, in sum:

“Here was I thinking the zombie story was dead and buried, only to find this anthology full of stories of such range and quality… There’s still good work being done on old and trusted tropes… I can now shamble forward to seek out more stories such as this for intellectual nourishment. Zombies: More Recent Dead is great value for money.”

Or there’s the annual The Best Dark Fantasy & Horror of the Year: 2014 (from Kirkus):

YBDarkF&H2014cover300“Editor Paula Guran gives her take on the year’s best dark fantasy and horror in this collection, which boasts 32 stories by such talent as Elizabeth Bear, Joe R. Lansdale, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Helen Marshall, Sarah Monette, Kit Reed, Brandon Sanderson, Karin Tidbeck and more. The beauty of an anthology like this—besides being the best picks by an editor who knows her stuff—is the diversity of the genre that it reflects. You’ll find stories here spanning all corners of the horror spectrum, guaranteeing that there’s something you’re looking for as well as new discoveries waiting to be found.”




Time Travel: Recent Trips
Edited by Paula Guran
Trade Paperback | 384 pages | $16.95
Prime Books (October 8, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1607014348
(Also will be available in ebook)

The idea of time travel has been with us since ancient times; now the concept of time travel seems . . . almost . . . plausible. Today, tales of chrononauts are more imaginative and thought-provoking than ever before: new views, cutting-edge concepts, radical notions of paradox and possibility—state-of-the-art speculative stories collected from those written in the twenty-first century. Forward to the past, back to the future—get ready for some fascinating trips!

CONTENTS (Alphabetically by author):
“The Time Travel Club,” Charlie Jane Anders
“Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous,” Dale Bailey
“The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park,” Kage Baker
“The Ile of Dogges,” Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
“The Ghosts of Christmas,” Paul Cornell
“Thought Experiment,” Eileen Gunn
“First Flight,” Mary Robinette Kowal
“Blue Ink,”Yoon Ha Lee
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” Ken Liu
“The Lost Canal,” Michael Moorcock
“The Mists of Time,” Tom Purdom
“September at Wall and Broad,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Two Shots from Fly’s Photo Gallery,” John Shirley
“With Fate Conspire,” Vandana Singh
“Twember,” Steve Rasnic Tem
“Bespoke,” Genevieve Valentine
“The King of Where-I-Go,” Howard Waldrop
“Number 73 Glad Avenue,” by Suzanne J. Willis

Cover art: Julie Dillion




Just a reminder MAGIC CITY: RECENT SPELLS is out and has been a few weeks. Have you nought yours yet?

As an editor, I try not to complain much about anything readers say or do. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I have to admit I am getting very tired of people who complain an anthology like this is…SHOCK!…all reprints. It is made plain by the description on the book that these are some of the best stories from recent years on the theme. And yes, you may have read a few of them before. But I can bet that the average reader has not read ALL of the two dozen included, not even the majority.

On the positive side, more perspicacious readers seem to delight in finding “new” (to them) authors to make note of. And maybe contented readers don’t post as much as those who aren’t.

Before you think I’m being a little too cranky here…there are complaints every time a “year’s best” comes out! OMG, it’s a book of some of the outstanding stories from the year before and readers are complaining they are reprints? Yes, they do. Oy.


Contents Announced: Zombies: MORE Recent Dead

ZombiesMoreRecent-200Contents announced for ZOMBIES: MORE RECENT DEAD. I know…who wants more zombies? Well, even if you don’t like zombies, I think you will like these stories! Writers are being more imaginative than ever with the icon. If you preorder on Amazon.com right now you get more than $5 off cover price.

The living dead are more alive than ever! Zombies have become more than an iconic monster for the twenty-first century: they are now a phenomenon constantly revealing as much about ourselves—and our fascination with death, resurrection, and survival—as our love for the supernatural or post-apocalyptic speculation. Our most imaginative literary minds have been devoured by these incredible creatures and produced exciting, insightful, and unflinching new works of zombie fiction. We’ve again dug up the best stories published in the last few years and compiled them into an anthology to feed your insatiable hunger…

CONTENTS (alphabetically by author last name:

• Joanne Anderton, “Trail of Dead”
• Michael Arnzen, “Rigormarole” (poem)
• Marie Brennan, “What Still Abides
• Mike Carey, “Iphigenia in Aulis”
• Jacques L. Condor (Mak a Tai Meh), “Those Beneath the Bog”
• Neil Gaiman, “The Day the Saucers Came” (poem)
• Roxane Gay, “There is No ‘E’ in Zombi Which Means There Can Be No You Or We”
• Ron Goulart, “I Waltzed with a Zombie”
• Eric Gregory, “The Harrowers”
• William Jablonsky, “The Death and Life of Bob”
• Shaun Jeffrey, “Til Death Do Us Part”
• Matthew Johnson, “The Afflicted”
• Stephen Graham Jones, “Rocket Man”
• Joy Kennedy-O’Neill “Aftermath”
• Caitlín R. Kiernan, “In The Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection”
• Nicole Kornher-Stace, “Present”
• Joe R. Lansdale, “The Hunt: Before and The Aftermath”
• Shira Lipkin, “Becca at the End of the World”
• David Liss, “What Maisie Knew”
• Jonathan Maberry, “Jack & Jill”
• Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Selected Sources for the Babylonian Plague of the Dead (572-571 BCE)”
• Maureen McHugh, “The Naturalist”
• Lisa Mannetti, “Resurgam”
• Joe McKinney, “The Day the Music Died”
• Tamsyn Muir, “Chew”
• Holly Newstein, “Delice”
• Cat Rambo, “Love, Resurrected”
• Carrie Ryan, “What We Once Feared”
• Marge Simon, “The Children’s Hour” (poem)
• Maggie Slater, “A Shepherd of the Valley”
• Simon Strantzas, “Stemming the Tide”
• Charles Stross, “Bit Rot”
• Genevieve Valentine, “The Gravedigger of Konstan Spring”
• Carrie Vaughn, “Kitty’s Zombie New Year”
• Don Webb, “Pollution”
• Jay Wilburn, “Dead Song”


World Horror Convention GOH Schedule

I will be editor Guest of Honor at World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, OR next week. Honor though it may be, I’m fretting because it is really putting me behind on work. (So if you are expecting a TIME TRAVEL contract, it won’t be going out until after the 13th. Sorry!)

Which reminds me: I have a new cellphone # and there’s a good chance if I once had yours, I may not have it now. So email me to exchange numbers if you want to get hold of me there.

The schedule is exceedingly light (see below), but I still am arriving on Weds the 7th and not getting home until late Monday night the 12th. I’ll attend a few of the other panels, I’m sure, but I really wish I had a laptop to keep working during all the free time. I suppose I can hang around the bar and hope people buy me drinks.

Did I mention I am having panic attacks about this trip and appearance?

6:00pm-7:00pm Willamette foyer Opening Ceremonies
8:00pm-9:00pm Ross/Morrison Panel: What Editors Want

11:00am-12:00pm Ross/Morrison Panel: Paula Guran Interview and Q&A
[1 p.m. Room WW2-private workshop meeting]
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Willamette Foyer
Mass Autograph Signing

1:00pm-2:00pm Ross/Morrison Panel: How To Put Together A Great Anthology




I will be editing THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY NOVELLAS for Prime Books (www.prime-books.com). The first volume will be released in 2015 and cover material published in 2014. The volume will be released in August 2015.

Novellas represent some of the finest work being done in the field today and are often available to readers on a limited basis. Due to their length, it is difficult to always include them in the established volumes now being published. This gives us a chance to further showcase outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy. We hope this is only the beginning of a long-running, successful series.

Generally, novellas are considered to be 17,500 to 40,000 words in length.

Guidelines: The work must be published during the calendar year of 2014. If serialized, the novella may have begun in the previous year and ended in current. Direct submissions to the editor as well as suggestions are greatly appreciated. PDF, Word doc, or RTF are preferred, ebook if needed to paulaguran@paulaguran.com. If a physical copy is submitted please send to the address below:

Deadline: January 15, 2015.

Paula Guran
87 S Meadowcroft Drive
Akron OH 44313-7266


Call for Submissions: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran

As the editor of the anthology series The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (Prime Books) I am now reading for the 2015 edition which will include material published in 2014.

I am looking for stories of dark fantasy—they might be simply unsettling or perhaps eerie. Dark fantasy can be revelatory or baffling. It can be simply a story or a small glimpse of life seen “through a glass, darkly.” Or, in more literary terms (all of which are debatable) it might be any number of things: weird fiction (new or old), supernatural fiction, magical realism, surrealism, the fantastique, dark epic fantasy, or the ever-ambiguous horror fiction (which need not have a supernatural element but can crossover into other genres). And yes, dark SF is certainly part of the horror mix.

You can get an idea of what I am looking for from the first four volumes of the series; the fifth (covering 2013) will be published in July of this year. Or by reading the introduction to the first volume: What the Hell Do You Mean by Dark Fantasy and Horror?” or last year’s introduction: Instructions for Use.

This is a REPRINT anthology so I am only reading material published during the calendar year of 2014.

READERS: I appreciate your recommendations. Email darkecho@darkecho.com.

PUBLISHERS: I prefer email submissions of Word documents, RTF, or PDF rather than hard copies if available. It saves you the postage and I can keep track of things better this way. If you must send galleys, magazines, or books, see the address below. If your publication appears on the Web only, please make me aware of it. Send to: darkecho@darkecho.com

WRITERS: Please ask the publisher of your collection or of periodicals and/or anthologies you appear in to send me copies of their publications. Please do not send me your individual story or stories unless I request such from you.

Please post and/or pass this on to others.

DEADLINE for 2013 materials: December 1, 2013. If your work/publication is being published in December, please try to get it to me in some form by that date. Overall: the earlier I get the material the better.

—Paula Guran

Mailing Address:
Paula Guran
87 S Meadowcroft Dr
Akron OH 44313-7266


Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran

ISBN-13: 978-1607014270
480 pages | $16.95 | May 2014
(Preorder now: Amazon or BN.com)

Bright lights, big city… magic spells, witchcraft, wizardry, fairies, devilry, and more. Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. Street kids may have supernatural beings to protect them or have such powers themselves. Brujeria may be part of your way of life. Crimes can be caused (and solved) with occult arts and even a losing sports team’s “curse” can be lifted with wizardry. And be careful of what cab you call—it might take you on a journey beyond belief! Some of the best stories of urban enchantment from the last few years gathered in one volume full of hex appeal and arcane arts.

Contents (authors in alphabetical order):
“Paranormal Romance,” Christopher Barzak
“The Slaughtered Lamb,” Elizabeth Bear
“The Land of Heart’s Desire,” Holly Black
“Seeing Eye,” Patricia Briggs
“De la Tierra,” Emma Bull
“Curses,” Jim Butcher
“Dog Boys,” Charles de Lint
“Snake Charmer,” Amanda Downum
“Street Wizard,” Simon R. Green
“-30-,” Caitlín R. Kiernan
“Stone Man,” Nancy Kress
“Pearlywhite” Mark Laidlaw & John Shirley
“In the Stacks,” Scott Lynch
“Spellcaster 2.0,” Jonathan Maberry
“Kabu Kabu,” Nnedi Okorafor
“Stray Magic,” Diana Peterfreund
“The Woman Who Walked with Dogs,” Mary Rosenblum”
“Wallamelon,” Nisi Shawl
“Grand Central Park,” Delia Sherman
“Words,” Angela Slatter
“Alchemy,” Lucy Sussex
“A Voice Like a Hole,” Catherynne M. Valente
“The Arcane Art of Misdirection,” Carrie Vaughn
“Thief of Precious Things,” A.C. Wise


The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2014 edited by Paula Guran


No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors and supernatural visions. You may stumble into obsession or find redemption. Often disturbing, occasionally delightful, let The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror be your annual guide through the mysteries and wonders of dark fiction.

Contents (in alphabetical order by author’s last name):

  • “Postcards from Abroad,” Peter Atkins (Rolling Darkness Revue 2013, Earthling Publications)
  • “The Creature Recants,” Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld, Issue 85, October 2013)
  • “The Good Husband,” Nathan Ballingrud (North American Lake Monsters, Small Beer Press)
  • “Termination Dust,” Laird Barron (Tales of Jack the Ripper, ed. Ross Lockhart, Word Horde)
  • “The Ghost Makers,” Elizabeth Bear (Fearsome Journeys, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris)
  • “The Marginals,” Steve Duffy (The Moment of Panic, PSPublishing)
  • “A Collapse of Horses,” Brian Evenson (The American Reader, Feb/Mar 2013)
  • “A Lunar Labyrinth,” Neil Gaiman (Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe, eds. J. E. Mooney & Bill Fawcett, Tor)
  • “Pride,” Glen Hirshberg (Rolling Darkness Revue 2013, Earthling Publications)
  • “Let My Smile Be Your Umbrella,” Brian Hodge (Psycho-Mania!, ed. Stephen Jones, Robinson)
  • “The Soul in the Bell Jar,” K. J. Kabza (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2013)
  • “The Prayer of Ninety Cats,” Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Online, Spring 2013)
  • “Dark Gardens,” Greg Kurzawa (Interzone # 248)
  • “A Little of the Night,” Tanith Lee (Clockwork Phoenix 4, ed. Mike Allen, Mythic Delirium)
  • “The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning,” Joe R. Lansdale (Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s First Detective, ed. Paul Kane & Charles Prepole, Titan)
  • “Iseul’s Lexicon,” Yoon Ha Lee (Conservation of Shadows, Prime Books)
  • “The Plague” Ken Liu (Nature, 16 May 2013)
  • “The Slipway Gray,” Helen Marshall (Chilling Tales 2, ed. Michael Kelly, Edge Publications)
  • “To Die for Moonlight,” Sarah Monette (Apex Magazine, Issue #50)
  • “Event Horizon,” Sunny Moraine (Strange Horizons, 21 Oct 2013)
  • “The Legend of Troop 13,” Kit Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan 2013 / The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories, Wesleyan)
  • “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell,” Brandon Sanderson (Dangerous Women, eds. George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, Tor)
  • “Phosphorous,” Veronica Schanoes, (Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, eds. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Tor)
  • “Blue Amber,” David J. Schow (Impossible Monsters, ed. Kasey Lansdale, Subterranean Press)
  • “Rag and Bone,” Priya Sharma (Tor.com, 10 April 2013)
  • “Our Lady of Ruins”, Sarah Singleton (The Dark 2, Dec 2013)
  • “Cuckoo,” Angela Slatter (A Killer Among Demons, ed. Craig Bezant, Dark Prints Press)
  • “Wheatfield with Crows,” Steve Rasnic Tem (Dark World: Ghost Stories, ed. Timothy Parker Russell, Tartarus Press)
  • “Moonstruck,” Karin Tidbeck (Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 5, ed. Mike Kelly, Undertow)
  • “The Dream Detective,” Lisa Tuttle (Lightspeed, Mar 2013)
  • “Fishwife,” Carrie Vaughn (Nightmare, Jun 2013
  • “Air, Water and the Grove,” Kaaron Warren (The Lowest Heaven, eds Anne C. Perry & Jared Shurin, Jurassic London)

Public Presence & Perception

EditorEditors, even nowadays, seldom have much of a public presence. Magazine editors and anthologists are somewhat better known than novel editors, and can more regularly be found on panels at genre conventions and the like.

Yet, here we are with websites and blogs and social media “presence”… more and more. As far as I know, Ellen Datlow was the first short form editor to have her own website… but then again she also was fiction editor for the first major professional print magazine, OMNI, to go online. Unless it was Jonathan Strahan, who went online in 1999, but more as a critic/reviewer at the time than an editor. (Although he had edited two Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy volumes.) And, yeah, before I was any sort of editor, what was then “DarkEcho’s Horror Web” went live (at http://w3.gwis.com/~prlg) in mid-December of 1995. (I think I was thrilled to find links to maybe fifty horror authors at the time.)

But among current relatively well-known short form SF/F editors you still will find no websites for folks like Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s Gordon Van Gelder, or the grandmaster of anthologists (and other editing) Gardner Dozois.

[Quick! No checking encyclopedias or even Amazon... Name the the editor of first "year's best" science fiction series. Hint: The Best Science Fiction Stories, published in 1949. Quick! What was and who edited the The first notable paperback anthology (1943)?]

But those who edit even the most famous novelists? Quick! Name Neil Gaiman’s editor! No cheating/googling (agents and avid readers of Publishers Marketplace should not play the game). Hint: She also edits Tim Powers, Neal Stephenson, Terry Pratchett, and, before their deaths, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov…and I don’t know who else you might immediately recognize. How about George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series editor? Who acquired Jim Butcher’s first Dresden books? You won’t even find Wikipedia articles on them.

And even if you know some editorial names, few people really know what editors (of different varieties) do. Writers write… not an easy task, even though the public seems to think writing is not only easy, but consistently lucrative.

(I’ll pause while you writers pick yourselves up after rolling-on-the-floor laughter.)

Anyway, there’s at least some conception of writing. But editing?

I’ll leave it as a mystery for now… but I will supply the answers to the questions I inserted above:

  • Editor(s) of first “year’s best” science fiction series: Everett F. Bleiler T.E. Dikty and E.F.
  • First notable paperback anthology? The Pocket Book of Science-Fiction, edited by Donald A Wollheim
  • Editor, Gaiman, etc.: Jennifer Brehl
  • Editor, GRRM: Ann Groell
  • Editor, first Dresden books: Jennifer Heddle