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September 8, 2009

Year’s Best Fantasy 9
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:30 PM * 25 comments

Just out today from Year’s Best Fantasy 9, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. Thirty stories, including one (“Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistritia”) by Dr. Doyle and me. Other stories include “Shoggoths in Bloom” by our good friend and fellow Viable Paradise instructor, Elizabeth Bear.

The book is being presented in a wide variety of electronic formats; a POD version is also available

Get it direct from Tor.

Get it from Barnes & Noble

MobiPocket E-book version

[Update 06DEC09]
Selected stories from this anthology are available at the site for registered users. Registration is free.
Comments on Year's Best Fantasy 9:
#1 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 01:35 PM:

For the curious, Kathryn Cramer lists the table of contents at her web site:

(Haven't found the link that lets me buy it as an ebook though.)

#2 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 03:20 PM:

I like the cover. It has a nice warm feeling to it.

#3 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Today here, possibly tomorrow wherever you are now, is 09/09/09.

A writing project related to that: A Day On The Planet (English version explanation, 7 more languages). About 400 words/1 page on your 9th September. Many stories to be put online, 500(?) published. Charity support to be decided.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Jim, Debra, well-deserved congratulations.

Epacris, don't think for a moment that I'm unaware of 09/09/09. Himself has listened to every one of the released samples, and can rattle off the exact points of difference in the editions.

#5 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 07:20 PM:

*is humble* Hope I didn't tread on toes. Just went so well with "Best Fantasy 9" & wasn't sure how well-publicised it was.
Back to speed calculations.

#6 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 08:18 PM:


#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:20 AM:

To clarify, the Hartwell/Cramer Year's Best Fantasy 9 is the first book published by, as distinct from Tor-Books-the-publishing-company-we-all-know. is in fact a separate business entity under the Macmillan umbrella. Tor-the-publisher's actual corporate web site is separate from Yes, it's very confusing, and you will all be severely graded on how carefully you remember every detail. Don't forget to worry about it a lot.

#8 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Am I reading this right that the only dead-tree edition is the Print-on-demand one? And does this mean it won't be available in actual brick-and-mortar bookstores?

And -- while I'm asking questions -- is this a first for a book by such well-established authors/editors? I've bought a few POD books before, but they were fairly obscure items of specialty interests (I'm thinking of Robert Borski's volumes of Wolfe criticism, and I think the book on Crowley, Snake's Hands, was POD too). I'm surprised to see the Hartwell/Cramer volume in this format (unless - again - I'm simply misunderstanding the post).

#9 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 08:30 PM:

I asked this on, but thought I should post it here as well.

So let me get this straight. A series (Year's Best SF/Fantasy) which has, for the past 14 years, been published as (currently) $8 mass market paperbacks, is now only available as a $16 POD. Which costs the consumer twice as much, and is more expensive to produce, and thus that much harder to sell (will it be on the New SF racks at Borders and B&N? let alone tiny independents like Penn Books in Penn Station) with perhaps a smaller profit margin. And no e-book versions (yet). And this is a good idea (for the editors/ authors/ consumers/ publisher) ... why?

#10 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 09:10 PM:

Well, I guess the future's here, then.

I collect "Year's Best..." anthologies in our genres, going all the way back to Bleiler & Dikty.... Needless to say, I have dutifully purchased #1 through #8 in this series.

I'm going to have to brood about this.

#11 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 12:22 AM:

#8: I think the past couple of the Hartwell & Cramer Best Fantasy volumes (unlike the Best SF vols.) were actually in trade not mass market paperback, and cost more than $8. I don't recall if it was as much as $16, but definitely double digits.

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 12:49 AM:

Jim, I haven't found any other mention of the "wide variety of electronic formats".

Until that's sorted, I'm not going to say more.

#13 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Amazon has earlier volumes of Hartwell and Cramer's Best Fantasy volumes listed at $14.95; Volume 9 is listed at $15.95.

#14 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 03:06 AM:

I am curious as to the DRM situation, when the electronic editions finally arrive. Curious as in, "will probably be a deciding factor in whether or not I buy it." (A major reason for me buying an ebook rather than treeware is the storage space issue for books I want to keep -- thus an ebook designed to be non-transferable to another gadget when current gadget breaks is pointless from my perspective, unless it's priced as a read-once disposable item.)

#15 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 05:49 AM:

So ... when will it be available as a paperback, like the others in the series, so that I'm able to buy it at Waldenbooks?

(Cuz if the answer is "never", then I'll never be able to read it, or pay money to Tor for it. Sorry.)


#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:53 AM:

(Cuz if the answer is "never", then I'll never be able to read it, or pay money to Tor for it. Sorry.)

I think the answer is "never," but that shouldn't stop you from stepping smartly over to the Special Order desk at Waldenbooks and asking them to get a copy in.

#17 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 06:40 PM:

Hmm. Certainly a possibility.

(It's not as though there aren't other books in my textfile that I'll never actually see there.)


#18 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 06:42 PM:

However, for future Tor/Baen/etc. reference? I can't special-order books until I've actually heard they're there, and have added them to my list, and taken the list into the store. This is inferior, as a marketing technique, to encountering a new book that I hadn't heard of, or didn't know was out yet, already in the bookstore, that I can buy on the spot. The Internet allows a lot of savings on various parts of the process, but can't replace "oh look, I was looking down the shelves and here's THIS", as far as I can tell.


#20 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 12:06 PM:

So ... when will it be available as a paperback, like the others in the series, so that I'm able to buy it at Waldenbooks?

Paperback? Right now! That's a real, paper-and-ink-and-professional-binding trade paperback, just like the previous three volumes from Tachyon Press. Available in bookstores (though probably only as a special order) or over the air.

Mass-market paperback? That's not going to happen. There are very, very few "year's best" short fiction collections in mass-market any more--unless I'm missing something, the only such is Hartwell and Cramer's Year's Best Science Fiction.

#21 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 09:22 PM:

OK, I bought a physical copy of the book via this new-fangled "Internet", and it arrived in today's mail.

If I didn't already know, I don't think I'd notice that it's a POD copy, and it does match the previous volumes well enough.

All things considered, I'd rather have this book than not have it: but I worry about this as a business model.

I still think about the archetypal "12-year-old kid with a bit of spending money" who will never have a chance to run across this book in a bookstore. And so I worry about about the future of SF, and SF publishing.

#22 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 10:16 PM:

Bob, 21: I teach 8th graders. They know what CDs are because their parents have them, but they don't personally own any. All their entertainment is online--so if an e-book is readily available, they'll find it. (Side note: my high-schoolers read dead-tree books for fun. As far as I'm concerned, they can stay on my lawn.)

#23 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 12:25 PM:

'As You Know' Bob @21:
Flip side, I think bookstores are themselves a dying breed; online may well be the only path to survival for anything that can't make it into drugstores and supermarkets.

#24 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 04:34 PM:

Publishing-wise and year's-best-wise, it is the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine: The Year's Best Fantasy 9 is a bleeding-edge publishing experiment, and so there is a fair amount of bleeding involved as a byproduct of the process. That's what being on the cutting edge is like. You bleed.

Nonetheless, for all of the red splatters involved, our book will reach a larger audience than the competing Datlow-Link-Grant volume covering the equivalent period, because ours got published. Yay!

Thank you to for giving us the opportunity.

Regarding bookstores, my understanding is that it is now possible for bookstores to order copies on reasonable terms via the distributor Ingram.

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