It’s Almost Like Being Respectable

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – that eminently respectable publisher with eminently respectable bloodlines (I’ve been in this business long enough that I can remember when Harcourt was a separate publishing house) – is adding a science fiction and fantasy volume to its annual Best American series.

This isn’t the first, or the only, annual “Best of” anthology out there; but it’s (maybe the first?  I don’t know that answer) one that’s coming out not from a known genre publisher or fantasy/sf imprint, but from a mainstream house that’s very much into serious literary business.  They’ve also had the good sense to take their series editor ( John Joseph Adams) and the editor for the inaugural volume (Joe Hill) from the ranks of people who are actually working in and familiar with the field, instead of hauling in some college professor or mainstream critic to do the job.

(I have nothing against literary critics or college professors, mind you; it’s just that their taste in fiction tends to privilege those works which provide the best fodder for classroom lectures and articles in academic journals.  Which is not necessarily the same thing as those works which are good.)

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