I've just come back from another con with another small press collection - this time, Ticonderoga Press's More Scary Kisses. I bought several small-press books at Swancon, others at Aussiecon 4 - locally published volumes of short stories by some terrific writers. I've been getting hooked on these anthologies. There's something wonderful about opening a crisp new collection of stories which are a mix of big-name writers and others I have either just discovered or have read only in other small-press books and magazines. I'm becoming a big fan of, among others, Thoraiya Dyer, whose beautiful stories have appeared in our own Andromeda Spaceways (one in the new issue, which I've just received) and Stephen Dedman, whose collection Never Seen By Waking Eyes has a lot of my favourite stories and some I missed when they first came out. I've delighted over the collection of New Ceres stories, New Ceres Nights, and Dirk Flinthart's New Ceres novella Angel Rising (Ninja! Nuns!) and those delightful Agog collections. I have a stack of them by my bed, waiting their turn to be opened and loved.
One of the stories in More Scary Kisses, "The Sword Of Darcy", was submitted to ASIM. I got it in slush and thought it was a hoot. It got as far as the slushpool, but alas, nobody took it before it dropped off the list. It's just not possible to take every delightful story in the pool - there are only so many we can publish and each issue has to have balance. So i was glad to see it had found a home and enjoyed the re-read as much as I did the first time around.
The big publishers don't do a lot of anthologies and, with some exceptions, the few they do tend to be either re-prints or stuff by big-name writers. It's possible to experiment more in small press and those people published in it can eventually put together a collection of their own and - who knows? - sell something book-length to a big publisher.
Meanwhile, we can all enjoy. I'm off to curl up with More Scary Kisses.