After three volumes, we’re discontinuing the Best American Fantasy series founded by me, Ann VanderMeer, and Sean Wallace, along with Matthew Cheney. The amicable move from Prime to Underland following the publication of BAF2 was meant to rejuvenate the series and to finally achieve stability for it. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur, for a variety of reasons. BAF did not having a wide margin for error. A cross-genre fantasy year’s best that focused not just on genre magazines but also on literary magazines, that required sympathy and generosity from both the mainstream and genre, as well as the right placement in the chains, was always going to be a difficult sell.But before we shut the door on this wonderful project, here is the list of stories I had marked for consideration (comprising a little over 2/3 of the total stories sent to BAF 4 guest editor Minister Faust to choose from for the final list):
Although we are disappointed in this outcome, we’re mostly sad for Larry Nolen, the new series editor, and for Minister Faust, the guest editor, both of whom had put work into what would have been volume 4. (Not to mention the extensive online reading completed by Alan Swirsky and Fabio Fernandes’s efforts re Latin America.) It also would have been wonderful to see what the guest editors for volumes 5 and 6, Junot Diaz and Catherynne M. Valente, would have chosen, just as we enjoyed reading Kevin Brockmeier’s selections for volume 3.
On the plus side, the various BAF volumes picked up a wonderful blurb from Michael Chabon, made NPR’s recommended summer reading list, were placed on year’s best lists, and garnered a few nice reviews in large newspapers. In addition, a lot of bloggers supported us, and we received good feedback from the readers who picked up the books. Many libraries have stocked them, and all three are still available for sale on Amazon, providing a nice alternative view of the year’s best for those three years. We also made inroads into the literary mainstream through events like the AWP conference, and we were very successful in convincing literary magazines and genre magazines to send us material. In addition, we brought writers into contact with each other who might otherwise not been aware of each other’s work, and our correspondence with magazine editors and writers while running BAF led to many, many other creative liaisons and projects.
As I've said elsewhere, it was a privilege to work alongside Ann and Jeff, Matt, Minister, Fábio Fernandes, Alan Swirsky, and all the other people that helped make BAF something worth reading and working on for nearly four years. Thank you for your support.