My mother is the sort of woman who was always saying things to me like, Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? and Why buy the loaf if you can get all the slices? The first meaning, basically, “If you have sex with him now, he’ll never marry you,” and the second meaning… um… probably the same thing, though the metaphor is a little murkier.
Usually when I remember those sayings, it’s to think about how odd and a bit messed up they are; but this month the second one made me think of anthologies.
An anthology is a collection of stories (in this case), each written by a different person. Different slices, if you will. And why buy the loaf? Because! That’s the only way you can get all the slices! True, some anthologies do accept some stories that have been previously published elsewhere. However, in the act of gathering these specific stories, on this specific theme, the anthology becomes something special. A loaf, you see, not just a heap of disparate slices. (OK, so the metaphor isn’t perfect for me either. You still get the idea.)
I’m reviewing two anthologies this month, which is why the topic has been on my mind. In preparation, I’ve arranged an interview with popular anthology editor M. Christian, who has over 20 anthologies to his credit, and whose new anthology Best S & M III I’ll be reviewing this month. Look for his interview to appear here within a week, and the review shortly thereafter.
You know how the French have hypermarkets instead of just supermarkets? (I promise I’m not bringing up the loaf/slices metaphor again.) Well, Rachel Kramer Bussel is like a hypereditor of anthologies, not merely a supereditor. The promotion for her latest, Fast Girls, is a “tour” of reviews, one a day for the month of August, on different blog sites. Sharazade’s day is August 21, so please check back here then to read all about it. However, I’d also encourage you to check the tour schedule here and read the reviews from the other sites. Not only is it a good way to discover other blogs you might like, but it’s interesting to read so many different takes on the same anthology.
I feel a little guilty writing a whole post that’s only a preview of coming attractions, so I’ll throw in a spoiler to balance things out: I really liked both anthologies. Check back this month to find out why!