My two favorite anthologies of 2009

I'm late with this. The time to mention the best books of the preceding year is at the star of a new year, and here it is almost February.  Still, I want to plug my two favorite anthologies of 2009:

  • The Apex Book of World SF, edited by Lavie Tidhar.
  • Tesseracts Thirteen: Chilling Tales from the Great White North, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell.

Now I must admit 2009 was an top-notch year for anthologies, and I didn't have the opportunity to read most of them. I'm also not considering the numerous Year's Best anthologies which came out, many of which were great reads.

The Apex Book of World SF is simply put an amazing and long-overdue anthology. I'm not sure I can add much to the glowing reviews Tidhar's collection has already received, but the proof of the pudding is in actually reading these stories. With works ranging from by S.P. Somtow "The Bird Catcher" to Aliette de Bodard's "The Lost Xuyan Bride," you will not find a better anthology of international speculative fiction. I eagerly await the next volume in this series.

Tesseracts Thirteen, while attracting less attention that the Apex anthology, is another great installment in this ongoing series of Canadian speculative fiction. Where the last volume focused on novellas, this time the focus is on horror and dark fantasy. There are too many good and great stories in this volume to mention them all. Among my favorites were Michael Kelly's cold and chilling "The Woods" and the masterful "Lost in a Field of Paper Flowers" by Gord Rollo. In addition, Robert Knowlton's essay "Out of the Barrens: Two Centuries of Canadian Dark Fantasy and Horror," which closes out the volume, demands to be read by anyone curious about Canada's contributions to these genres.

So if you're interested in great anthologies--and especially anthologies focusing on non-American speculative fiction--check out these two books.