SALES DRIVE for Best New Horror Volume 19

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SALES DRIVE for Best New Horror Volume 19

Postby Paul_Campbell on Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:15 pm

Surprised?

I was too when I learned at Fantasycon that the series is on the verge of being cancelled. Indeed, one of the reasons that Volume 19 is one of the longest in the series (620+ pages compared to an average 570) is that the editor, Stephen Jones, honestly believed it was going to be the last, and so he wanted to cram in as many good stories as possible. Oh, there will be a twentieth volume next year, but only because the editor implored his publisher to at least give the series some sense of symmetry – a nice round number! – before pulling the plug.

There is many a writer who is, I'm sure, immensely grateful to the exposure that Stephen Jones has afforded them over the years through his tireless efforts with this annual series.

Joe Hill debuted with "20th Century Ghost" in the 2004 edition – a year before Peter Crowther of PS Publishing released his debut collection.

The genre needs Stephen Jones, and it needs the showcase that The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror provides, especially after this year's edition which is one of the very strongest in the series history. I had some issues with Volume 18 – but not here, not this time: Volume 19 does not contain a single weak story, its 26 tales ranging from the 'merely' very good to the excellent.

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Best New Horror is where I discovered Holly Philips and Kelly Link and Mark Samuels and a dozen and more besides. My favourite short story writer right now is Glen Hirshberg – and I owe that to Stephen Jones too.

For any readers out there whose taste only runs to science fiction and fantasy, and who may be thinking that this annual anthology won't be of any interest to them, think again, for this isn't just 'horror' – this is new horror:

Gene Wolfe
Elizabeth Hand
Geoff Ryman
Michael Bishop
Jay Lake
Mark Chadbourn


Do you associate any of those authors with 'horror'? No? Well, they all have one thing in common: they all appeared in Volume 18 (which, incidentally, won this year's BFS Best Anthology Award).

This quote from the London magazine Time Out says it all:

"The must-have annual anthology for horror fans — and for any readers whose minds are not closed to the idea of intelligent writing emerging from a much maligned genre."


Sure, there's always Ellen Datlow with The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, but at quarter of a million words Datlow's round up is a beast of a book to cart around. Give me Jones's far more compact round up of the genre any day.

The Datlow series marked its twenty-first edition this year. I would like to see Best New Horror do the same, and many more besides. Alas, I'm only one-step up from being a techno-Luddite and as such don't do this whole blog, livejournal, Facebook, Myspace malarkey. And even if I did make an effort to do so – right now – it would be pointless as it would take ages for me to established any kind of 'traffic'.

So this is a plea to all those out there who do blog: post an Amazon link to The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror

For years Stephen Jones and bestselling author Michael Marshall Smith (under the alias Smith & Jones) have been designing the covers of Best New Horror using the artwork of Les Edwards. But not Volume 19; disappointed with the sales of Volume 18 the publisher vetoed Smith & Jones, thus this year's unintentionally gay erotic cover (although, ironically, it'll probably sell more copies because of it!). That said – and as much as I like Les Edwards work (especially his 'Edward Miller' stuff) – a change has probably been long overdue: personally I could have happily done without the green (!) bat on Volume 16 and the cleaver wielding granny on Volume 17.

Tell anyone you know who's a reader, even if they're predominately science fiction or fantasy fans. Sales of Volume 19 will dictate whether or not Stephen Jones gets commissioned to do Volume 21.

Let's make next year's advance book launch at Fantasycon Nottingham England of Volume 20 a celebration of its twentieth anniversary – and let's hope that's all it is, and not a combined celebration/farewell party.

Get blogging...
Paul_Campbell
 
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Re: SALES DRIVE for Best New Horror Volume 19

Postby Stephanie on Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:01 pm

Paul - I just purchased Best New Horror #19 this last weekend, having no idea the series was in danger. I have barely cracked it open but I am sure it will be a great read as always. It would be such a shame if they put an end to the series!

Thank you so much for the post.

Glad to see you mention Glen Hirshberg as well. He is one of my all time favorites - his short fiction is excellent. I cannot get enough of it. This time of year I always wish I was in California so I could catch The Rolling Darkness Review!
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Re: SALES DRIVE for Best New Horror Volume 19

Postby Paul_Campbell on Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:14 pm

Stephanie wrote:Paul - I just purchased Best New Horror #19 this last weekend, having no idea the series was in danger. I have barely cracked it open but I am sure it will be a great read as always. It would be such a shame if they put an end to the series!

Thank you so much for the post.

Glad to see you mention Glen Hirshberg as well. He is one of my all time favorites - his short fiction is excellent. I cannot get enough of it. This time of year I always wish I was in California so I could catch The Rolling Darkness Review!


I'd forgotten about this post! :oops:

Although it's only a few weeks old, I'm happy to say that it's now irrelevant: in the US the series has always done reasonably well (considering the horror boom ended some 10-15 years ago!), it was mainly its UK sales which were rather weak. But, then, the UK has a fifth of the population of the US -

- Anyway, as I mentioned over on the What Are You Reading Now Thread Robinson/Running Press recently announced that Volume 19 has become the fastest selling installment in the series in years and, indeed, there will be TWO volumes next year! The second being The Very Best of Best New Horror, a selection from the series' first 20 years.

Like I said, I'd forgotten about this post: by all means encourage people to pick it up (Volume 19 is the best in the series EVER) but don't go around telling anyone that the series is on its way out.

In fact, if you're out there Shane, could you please delete this thread as it may now be detrimental to the series future if people take this thread the wrong way and simply assume that the series is already over. Volume 21 hasn't been commissioned just yet, but with the sales of Volume 19 it looks like a given! :D
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