The Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Collections of 2012

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Among the many hats I wear besides novelist and faithful Omni correspondent is as founder of Cheeky Frawg, an indie press devoted to international fiction. This fall we’ve released Swedish writer Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath: Stories. This unique fantasy collection’s been very well received, including a rave review by NPR’s “All Things Considered”; the author even attended the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto recently.

As the book’s publisher, one task I always undertake is checking out the competition. And therefore I’m intensely aware that this is a really great year for fantasy and SF story collections. It would be easy to name as many as 15 or 20 collections in compiling a year’s best list. However, I’m instead going to make it hard and restrict myself to 12 that I find the most interesting and unique, besides Jagannath, and then count on you, the readers, to tell me if I’m wrong and what I missed.

So, here goes, in alphabetical order by author…

Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear (Prime Books) – This new collection from Bear includes the Hugo-winning title novelette and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winning “Tideline.” A World Fantasy, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick nominee, Bear is one of speculative fiction's most acclaimed, respected, and prolific authors.

Beneath the Liquid Skin by Berit Ellingsen (firthFORTH Books) – Short, sharp shocks of the surreal and the strange, anchored by Ellingsen’s clear eye for detail and for the most psychologically interesting aspects of narrative. This Danish-Korean author is just starting what promises to be a major career, but already giving readers a unique and fascinating perspective.

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