Anthologies

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by marlboro, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. marlboro

    marlboro Guest

    Do they sell well traditionally?

    Since there are so many series, past and present, I would think that an anthology that included stories from all of them would do well.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The annual "Strange New Worlds" volumes lasted ten years. But add in the prize money and Pocket eventually ended the line as not-profitable-enough, with only one attempt to restart it as an eBook.
     
  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I can't speak for STAR TREK anthologies particularly, but in general anthologies are notoriously hard to sell, at least compared to novels. The average reader prefers novels to short stories.

    Which doesn't mean they don't get published anyway, because editors and authors still want to do them, but nobody expects them to sell like novels.
     
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  4. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Giving USA All My Many Oil Moderator

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    That actually surprises me.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    From talking to people, I gather lots of readers want to dive deeply into a story or world and not come out for awhile. Just today, I ran into a guy on another site who argued that short stories were pointless because you barely got to know the characters before the story was over. I disagreed, of course, but I suspect he's not alone in that attitude.

    And, trust me, hell hath no fury like a reader who picks up an anthology or short-story collection by mistake, thinking it's a novel, only to find themselves confronted with a bunch of goddamn short stories. I used to get angry letters at Tor from people demanding their money back, even though the cover blurb clearly said something like "Fifteen startling tales of the fantastic!"

    I confess I had no sympathy with folks who couldn't be bothered to read the cover copy before snatching up a new book by their favorite author or whatever. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  6. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Giving USA All My Many Oil Moderator

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    Well, sure, I enjoy that too, but... why not both?

    I just don't really understand it. I've always loved anthologies: single author, multi-author, themed, best of year, what have you. If you don't count Star Trek books, I probably own about as many anthologies as I do single novels, if not more.

    But I guess this is just one more piece of evidence of how I don't fit in with mainstream society! :lol:

    You'd think that with our ever-busier lives, smaller chunks of story would be maybe gaining in popularity?

    Apparently they were taking that "you can't judge a book by its cover" thing waaayyy too seriously! ;)
     
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  7. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    I used to not be into anthologies and short stories. Sometimes it has depended on if there are stories that are too short or feel incomplete. I remember once feeling disappointed by an anthology called The Further Adventures of Batman. There were some weird stories in that one, but what I wanted at the time were a collection of stories, each that worked like an episode of the Batman Animated show. I didn't understand stories like the one that emulated the 1960's show, because I hadn't seen that version at the time; and there was another story didn't have Batman in it.

    It wasn't until I discovered the Conan Del Rey stories that I could finally get the hang of anthologies. Each of those stories felt more complete. Reading those helped me reconceptualize anthologies as a collected mini-library of stories contained in one book, which I didn't have to read all at once, but gradually read through story by story, in between other reading. Short stories are great as a smaller reading commitment. The Conan stories were great as a chance to read epic fantasy stories that felt complete and are only 30-50 pages long; much less daunting than having to read a 1,000 page book that is volume 1 of 12 (all volumes just as big) just to get a fantasy reading fix.

    Anthologies kind of need the right mentality, to really appreciate them. Which is really too bad. I've liked them much more ever since I stopped approaching as if I had to read them like a novel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  8. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if they published a new anthology under the Short Treks banner it'd do a little better? It's literally the same thing in prose format.
     
  9. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I get a little less excited about anthologies than a full length novel because they are less consistent. The very attribute that ensures that almost everyone will like something in the book means that some parts of the anthology will not work for me.

    I do appreciate that they can expose me to new writers and broaden my horizons.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I have that one. It's a mixed bag like most anthologies, but there are some good ones in it. Its companion volume The Further Adventures of the Joker is notable to Trek Lit fans for containing the only published non-Trek story written by former Trek editor Marco Palmieri, as well as one by Trek author John Gregory Betancourt. Volumes 2 & 3 in TFAoB contain stories by Greg Cox, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Dean Wesley Smith as well.
     
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  11. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep.

    Quote from Dean Wesley Smith from a piece about the SNW contest I did for Unreality SF ages ago:

    And I seem to remember that Marco Palmieri or @KRAD at one point said that the same (that they weren't selling enough to be viable) was true for the regular Star Trek anthologies as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  12. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    It depends on the anthology. Tales of the Dominion War is still selling well a decade and a half later. Every six months, I get a royalty from it (not a big one, but given that the royalties are split among the dozen or so contributors....). And I've been able to move copies of it at conventions, back when we still had those.......

    Having said that, I get bupkus from No Limits and Tales from the Captain's Table and Seven Deadly Sins and Shards and Shadows........
     
  13. DeepSpaceYorks

    DeepSpaceYorks Commander Red Shirt

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    Brilliant suggestion! I love short story anthologies. The short story, when done right, can actually be much more revealing, insightful and affecting than a full length novel.
    The success of the Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (ESB edition coming soon!) and the POTA Tales from the Forbidden Zone show they can be highly successful.
     
  14. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Funny story: Several years ago, various Tor editors each independently decided that "Okay, I can probably get away with acquiring one anthology even though they don't really sell." Problem was, every editor felt that way, so we suddenly found ourselves with something like eight new anthologies scheduled in one season.

    The sales force pretty much rose up in revolt. :)
     
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  15. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of the Trek anthologies, I would expect the ones based off of the TV shows (Constellations, No Limits, etc.) and any that are essential parts of their narrative (Declassified for Vanguard) to still be selling decent numbers. If they are not, may I recommend that anyone on the fence about those give them another look? They are some of the best story collections I have read.
     
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    I would agree with Greg Cox on this one. I’ve got a number of the SNW anthologies and I mostly cherry picked the stories I would read. And even now with Short Treks, they are fluff pieces.
     
  17. marlboro

    marlboro Guest

    I'm surprised that they aren't more popular. I've slogged through more than my fair share of bad anthologies, and it can be frustrating, but even the weaker collections will occasionally have a gem or two.

    I've found quite a few good stories in the Trek anthologies. Prophecy and Change and Tales of the Dominion War are probably my two favorites.

    P.S. Why doesn't S&S advertise on Trekbbs? I've gotten "targeted" ads from everything from gay cruises to coonskin caps (seriously) but I don't recall ever getting an ad for a Trek book.
     
  18. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    To be clear, I'm quite fond of short stories and anthologies. I was rereading one of my favorite old Tanith Lee stories just the other night. Personally, I've got nothing against short fiction. Grew up reading classic stories by Sturgeon, Leiber, Bloch, Bradbury, Matheson, Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, Zenna Henderson, etc.

    Just repeating the conventional wisdom that, commercially, anthologies are a tough sell.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  19. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    A friend of mine and I both really liked an early story in the Batman one about Jack the Ripper, and I think we both had hoped for stories along those lines. The same friend recommended the Joker anthology on the grounds that it had more stories that were of better quality and was overall more consistent. Years later, I did get the Joker one, and read a few of stories that were definitely gripping and harrowing. Not always to my taste, but I suppose if I wanted a horror short story, I can always go back to it. Anecdotally, one of the stories I eventually read I discovered that same friend had adapted as an adventure scenario for DC Heroes roleplaying game...one of the more memorable, harrowing, and horrifying sessions we played!

    Talking of anthologies in general, is it okay to keep the topic broad to include anthologies outside the scope of Star Trek anthologies? Like the media Tie-In novels thread?

    Now that's interesting...I looked at the Dominion Tales anthology now that you brought it up. It's not for beginners, is it? It's an anthology for fans who kept up with DS9 through to the Dominion War, and based on the back cover description it has some New Frontier material and...I guess stuff connected to Michael Jan Friedman Stargazer series...? I confess that back in the day I fell off the wagon with DS9, but now I'm trying to make my way through again. There are some reviews that say that anthology complements the Dominion War, so, on the hope that my journey through DS9 works out better this time around, I'll keep this one on my radar.

    As far as Star Trek anthologies in general, I admit that I've neglected them in the past, too. The only reason I got the Gateway anthology was to complete the New Frontier set (grrrr!). I snagged the first two volumes of the SNW anthologies. I deeply regret not getting the Constellations anthology when it was brand new. Ah, well; live and learn.
     
  20. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There are also SCE and IKS Gorkon stories in the Tales of the Dominion War.
    No Limits is New Frontier, not a TV series.
    I really like short stories, sometimes it's nice to just get a quick story that can be read in just a couple sittings.
    I'm surprised to hear that short stories are that unpopular.