Collections You’ve Loved
Okay, confession time: it took me a really, really long time to remember the difference between a collection and an anthology. Collections are single-author volumes of short fiction, and anthologies are multi-author volumes of short fiction. This means my “Single author short story collections” above there is redundant, but whatever, I have a hard enough time remembering my keys in the morning, let alone what to call which kind of short story book.
Let’s talk Lava Falls. The most recent collection I’ve read that stayed with me for days after I finished it, Lava Falls is a journey. My favourite collections do this: begin with the first tale that sets the stage for the collection on a thematic or narrative sense (in this case, that’s Girl with Boat, which I talked about way back in January as one of the best opening tales in a collection I’ve ever read) and then take you on a journey throughout all the other stories in the collection, ending with another tale that caps everything off in a whole greater than the sum of its already wonderful parts.
I always have favourites, but beyond the first and final stories, there was also “Wildcat,” “The Found Child,” “The Antarctic,” “My Beautiful Awakening,” and “The End of Jesus,” and that’s a lot of stories to really have enjoyed in a single collection. Lava Falls (the collection) and “Lava Falls” (the novella) accomplish that “whole greater than the sum of its parts” thing. I sat back and inhaled after reading Lava Falls, and my spec-fic heart was really, really happy. Such a fantastic book.
If you’re at all a lover of short fiction, do yourself a favour and pick this up.
Other collections I’ve really enjoyed (with links to reviews)? Desire & Devour by Jeff Mann (gay viking vampire through the ages); Bobcat and other Short Stories by Rebecca Lee (a literary mix with a brilliant voice); Eros & Dust by Trebor Healey, (queer, a dash of magic, desire, and aging); and That Door is a Mischief by Alex Jeffers (gah! linked short stories about a fairy named Liam and just trust me go get it).