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ANTHOLOGIES > THE BEST OF TALEBONES, edited by Patrick Swenson
THE BEST OF TALEBONES, edited by Patrick Swenson

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November 2010           978-1-933846-24-8

Cover design by Patrick Swenson

The Best of Talebones collects 42 of the best and most beloved stories from Talebones magazine. Taken from 39 issues published over 14 years, this anthology includes such writers as Jack Cady, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Marie Brennan, Barb Hendee, Carrie Vaughn, Kay Kenyon, Ken Scholes, James Van Pelt, James Sallis, Paul Melko, Louise Marley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Anne Harris, James C. Glass, Alan DeNiro . . . and many, many more!

"Magazines don’t often come my way as a reviewer, so anthology The Best of Talebones arrived without introduction (literally, since my advance copy lacks its intro by editor Patrick Swenson). Suspended last year after 39 issues, with plans to return in 2011 as an annual, Talebones came from a small press –Swenson’s own Fairwood –that managed to garner work by pros and writers on their way toward becoming names, along with some worthy unknowns. This Best Of includes stories by Jack Cady, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jay Lake, Patricia Russo, and Ray Vukcevich, to name but a few. Though the tone ranges from grisly horror to wry humor, surrealist SF to rampantly pulpish fantasy, these could almost be the varied productions of a single authorial mind, given decades with the freedom to move wherever it wanted, plus the talent to put those wanderings to good use. Less fancifully, they’re evidence of an editor who knows just what he wants. Short stories and even shorter works, along with the rare novelette (no poems), they create their own moods and worlds, in a kind of dialogue with Weird Tales and assorted pulps –detective fiction as well as SF and the fantastic –and writers from Poe and Kipling to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard and beyond. Some offer wry, satiric, outright loony perspectives, others a substantial lyricism that’s closer to Ray Bradbury. If you can’t stand lyrical prose, this isn’t the book for you."                    

     —Faren Miller, Locus

"You may not know every contributor to this volume yet … but you will! This collection reads like a who’s who of contemporary speculative fiction.The stories represent editor Swenson’s favorites from the magazine’s fourteen years of publishing, including some of the first short fiction works by current best-selling authors and some up-and-comers. The stories range from humorously surreal to deeply chilling to fairy-tale noir. Standouts include “The Girl With the Pre-Raphaelite Hair” by Carrie Vaughn, “Snow on Snow” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and “The Next Best Thing” by Ray Vukcevich."                 

     —Maryelizabeth Hart, San Diego Union-Tribune  

"Swenson offers an astonishing range of SF stories filled with things you don't want to encounter (such as tall spirits, out for vengeance) and things you do (such as a poignant and heroic Winnie the Pooh).  Some of these writers are famous, some little known, all worth your time. Savor each one."     

     —Nancy Kress, author of Steal Across the Sky

"The Best of Talebones assembles a fine, highly entertaining selection of contemporary short fiction. An endangered breed is given new life!"  

     —Greg Bear, author of Hull Zero Three

"I've seen just about every issue of Talebones since its inception, so I can tell you without even looking at the contents that this book is worth reading. In fact, after you finish reading it, you'll want to find some back issues of the magazine, because I guarantee you that one volume is not enough to contain all the stories that belong in a book with this title."                            

     —Gordon Van Gelder, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

"Editor Patrick Swenson has an eye for excellent writers. He published many current bestselling writers in Talebones, even early in their careers. His choices are all worth reading. The Best of Talebones includes some of the best speculative short fiction published in the last decade. Read it and laugh and cry and be frightened and be awed." 

     —Brenda Cooper, author of Wings of Creation

"Every once in a while [Talebones] got one of the top stories of the year, and meanwhile helped to develop some first class writing talents. Not a bad record."      

     —David Hartwell, editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction

"With a wide array of authors and topics, there is sure to be something to intrigue and entertain any science fiction fan, and makes for a fascinating and very highly recommended anthology. The Best of Talebones deserves a place in any community library fiction collection."     

     —The Midwest Book Review 


Patrick Swenson runs Fairwood Press, a book line, which began in 2000. A graduate of Clarion West, his first novel The Ultra Thin Man appeared from Tor. The sequel is The Ultra Big Sleep. He has sold stories to the anthology Unfettered III, Seasons Between Us, Like Water for Quarks, and a handful of magazines. He runs the Rainforest Writers Village retreat every spring at Lake Quinault, Washington. He's been a high school teacher for 35 years. He lives in Bonney Lake, Washington with his son Orion.

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