I may have an unhealthy interest in anthologies. Today’s was Familiars, edited by Denise Little. I always check for anthologies in the sci-fi/fantasy sections of used bookstores because I’ve found an increasing awareness of these collections in my reading. I didn’t always seek them out the way I do now, despite the way I’ve read Immortal Unicorn to pieces over the years. I think I can blame Mercedes Lackey for this again, because I am fairly on top of her Valdemar anthologies. (Yes, I am aware that the new one is out. I preordered it from amazon, but it wasn’t the only preorder I had in that set, so they aren’t planning on shipping it for a while yet.)
Regardless, of the fifteen stories inside, I was drawn in by recognition of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jody Lynn Nye, Laura Resnick, Josepha Sherman, Michelle West, and the great Andre Norton. Yes, it’s less than half of the authors, but these are good ones, and more than worth taking a chance on the rest. Actually, this anthology was one of the best I’ve read in quite a while. I don’t think I actively disliked any of the stories within, which is rather notable. Sure, some were better than others, but all were good.
The stories range from pure fantasy to pure science fiction and everything in between, including a couple rather mundane ones. Please remember that that “mundane” in this sense refers to a rather real-world setting in the present, as opposed to the story being boring or uninteresting. I don’t want to disparage a single story in here because I enjoyed them all.
I am not certain why I put off reading some books as long as I do, but this wasn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last. At least this time it ended up as a pleasant surprise.