Because I’d never ask my students to do something I wouldn’t do, and also because NK Jemisin highly suggests reading short stories to get better at writing long stories, I try to read a short story collection every year. For whatever reason, no matter how good the writing is, short story collections take me EONS to finish, and New York Fantastic was no exception. With twenty stories by different speculative authors, New York Fantastic offers a wide variety of story types and a nice selection of award winning authors to cut your teeth on. The thing I really enjoyed about this collection, and most collections of its type, is the ability to try out a bunch of different authors in a genre I like and decide if their style is something I’d like to read more of. The collection was like a nice tasting table before committing to any long series or large body of work. If you’re new to the speculative world, or are looking for some new authors to follow, checking out New York Fantastic will give you a lot of options.
As in all story collections, there were some I really loved and some that were just meh. Personally, I find that no matter how good authors are in novel form, sometimes speculative fiction is just really difficult to navigate in the short form, and a few of the short pieces in this collection just didn’t land very well at the end. There were only 2 stories in the whole collection I DNFed, though, and I will definitely be going back to read some of these authors’ longer works, even if their short story wasn’t perfect.
My favorites were: “Shell Games” by GRR Martin (who knew he could write short fiction!), “Priced to Sell” by Naomi Novik, “Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow” by Richard Bowes, “Pork Pie Hat” by Peter Straub, “Grand Central Park” by Delia Sherman, “Cryptic Coloration” by Elizabeth Bear, and “The Rock in the Park” by Peter Beagle.
Ranging from the very fantastic to the slightly creepy, all the stories in this collection zone their focus in on some aspect of New York City life. From vampires and ghouls trying to find affordable housing to Centaurs in Van Courtland Park and Faerie queens by the Central Park pond, these stories were often delightful and odd, and a different way to look at one of the world’s most famous cities.
4 stars for 95% good stories.
Bingo Square: Cityscape