BOOK RIOT

100 Must-Read SFF Short Story Collections

While classic authors like Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells wrote some of the earliest SFF fiction, the popularity of SFF as a genre started with short stories. Both the Pulp and Golden Age eras of science fiction and fantasy (from about 1920-1960) were steeped in short stories, with publications like Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction publishing the first works by SFF giants like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury, among many others. SFF short stories were hugely popular with the public, and its thanks in part to these short story writers and magazines that we have epic SFF franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek.

Nowadays, short stories take the back burner to novels and epic series for most SFF fans. However, many fantastic SFF writers write short stories, for many reasons. Some get their own start in shorter works and later turn to novels — like Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, and Theodora Goss. Others prefer writing short stories — like Kelly Link and Carmen Maria Machado. Still other SFF authors readily switch back and forth between long and short works — Catherynne M. Valente, China Miéville, and Neil Gaiman, among others.

I read SFF short stories for many reasons. I love their brevity. They encapsulate the emotional impact of a single moment much like a poem does, but unlike poetry, they still give richness and depth to character and setting. And hey, I like that feeling of being completely immersed in a new world for 20 minutes, and then being finished. I love my epic series like any other SFF fan, but sometimes I crave bite-size pieces. It’s like chocolate. And short stories are great places to discover new authors. It requires less commitment than reading a novel, and I love discovering authors through their short stories before they’ve written their first novel.

Also, shorts are often far weirder than novels. And I do so love weirdness.

I’ve compiled 100 must-read SFF short story collections so you can set out devouring these bite-sized chocolaty treats of weird worlds and astounding stories too. I tried to pick newish authors and collections, so you won’t find any of the Pulp and Golden Age writers on this list (well, I snuck in an Ursula Le Guin, but it’s a new release!). There are 60 collections of individual author’s short stories, and 40 anthologies of multiple authors. For the anthologies, I only used an editor once. Many editors compile a ton of anthologies, like John Joseph Adams, Terri Windling, and Ellen Datlow. But I wanted to give as diverse a list as possible, so I only listed one by these editors.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I!

Individual Author Collections

After the Apocalypse by Maureen McHugh

“The apocalypse was yesterday. These stories are today. Following up on her first collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh explores the catastrophes, small and large, of twenty-first century life—and what follows after. What happens after the bird flu pandemic? Are our computers smarter than we are? What does the global economy mean for two young girls in China? Are we really who we say we are? And how will we survive the coming zombie apocalypse?”

Ancient, Ancient: Short Fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam

“Acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, “Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam’s stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, “Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf’s Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini’s body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.””

At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson

“These stories feature cats, bees, wolves, dogs, and even that most capricious of animals, humans, and have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and The Secret History of Fantasy. At the Mouth of the River of Bees is one of the most anticipated debut science fiction short story collections in recent years.”

Before and Afterlives by Christopher Barzak

“These are tales of relationships with unearthly domesticity and eeriness: a woman falls in love with a haunted house; a beached mermaid is substituted for a disappeared daughter; the imaginary friend of a murdered young woman stalks the streets of her small town; a mother’s teenage son is afflicted with a disease that causes him to vanish; a father exploits his daughter’s talent for calling ghosts to her; and a wife leaves her husband and children to fulfill her obligations in the world from which she escaped. Winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Collection!”

Blackberry Blue: And Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin

“Here are six magical stories to thrill and enchant you. Watch Blackberry Blue rise from the bramble patch; follow Emeka the pathfinder on his mission to save a lost king; join Princess Desire as she gallops across the Milky Way on her jet-black horse. These beautifully written and original stories will delight readers of all ages, and the stunning illustrations by Richard Collingridge will take your breath away.”

A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchett

“The first career-spanning collection of short fiction by Sir Terry Pratchett—one of the most beloved and bestselling writers of our time—A Blink of the Screen charts the development of Pratchett’s creative vision throughout his prolific career, from his early writings in school to the dizzy mastery of the phenomenally successful Discworld series.”

Blood Child and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

“A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and “Speech Sounds,” winner of the Hugo Award . . . Like all of Octavia Butler’s best writing, these works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. She proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature’s strongest voices.”

Bone Swans: Stories by C.S.E. Cooney

“A swan princess hunted for her bones, a broken musician and his silver pipe, and a rat named Maurice bring justice to a town under fell enchantment. A gang of courageous kids confronts both a plague-destroyed world and an afterlife infested with clowns but robbed of laughter. In an island city, the murder of a child unites two lovers, but vengeance will part them. Only human sacrifice will save a city trapped in ice and darkness. Gold spun out of straw has a price, but not the one you expect.”

Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee

“In this debut collection of short fiction from one of science fiction and fantasy’s most notable new writers, Yoon Ha Lee often integrates tropes of science fiction with elements of myth to create tales that are both wonderfully fresh and deeply ancient. No matter what the theme, her wide variety of stories are strikingly original and always indelible.”

The Dark Dark: Stories by Samantha Hunt

“From the acclaimed author of Mr. Splitfoot, Samantha Hunt’s first collection of stories, The Dark Dark, blends the literary and the fantastic and brings us characters on the verge―girls turning into women, women turning into deer, people doubling or becoming ghosts, and more.”

Dear Sweet Filthy World by Caitlin R. Kiernan

“In these pages you’ll meet a dragon’s lover, a drowned vampire cursed always to ride the tides, a wardrobe that grants wishes, and a lunatic artist’s marriage of the Black Dahlia and the Beast of Gévaudan. You’ll visit a ruined post-industrial Faerie, travel back to tropical Paleozoic seas and ahead to the far-flung future, and you’ll meet a desperate writer forced to sell her memories for new ideas. Here are twenty-eight tales of apocalypse and rebirth, of miraculous transformation and utter annihilation. Here is the place where professing your undying devotion might be precisely the same thing as signing your own death warrant—or worse.”

Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia McKillip

“Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. With the debut of her newest work, Dreams of Distant Shores is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers. The statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate. Fans of McKillip’s ethereal fiction will find much to delight them; those lucky enough to be discovering her work will find much to enchant them.”

Dreamweaver’s Dilemma by Lois McMaster Bujold

“It contains two novellas which have never been published before—the title story “Dreamweaver’s Dilemma” and “The Adventure of the Lady on the Embankment”—plus the first hardcover appearance of “Mountains of Mourning,” three of Lois’s previously uncollected short stories, and four essays. The book also includes an interview with Lois McMaster Bujold, a timeline of the Vorkosigan stories, genealogical notes, and a pronunciation guide by the book’s editor, Suford Lewis.”

Engraved on the Eye by Saladin Ahmed

“A medieval physician asked to do the impossible. A gun slinging Muslim wizard in the old West. A disgruntled super villain pining for prison reform. A cybernetic soldier who might or might not be receiving messages from God. Prepare yourself to be transported to new and fantastical worlds. The short stories in this collection have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards. They’ve been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and other anthologies, recorded for numerous podcasts, and translated into several foreign languages. Now they are collected in one place for the first time. Experience for yourself the original voice of one of fantasy’s rising stars!”

Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand

“No one is innocent, no one unexamined in Shirley Jackson award-winning author Elizabeth Hand’s new collection of stories. From the mysterious people next door to the odd guy in the next office over, Hand teases apart the dark strangenesses of everyday life to show us the impossibilities, broken dreams, and improbable dreams that surely can never come true.”

Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight by Cat Rambo

“EYES LIKE SKY AND COAL AND MOONLIGHT brings together twenty stories from the extraordinary talent of fantasy author Cat Rambo. Here are tales from seaport city of Tabat, both before and after the sorcerous wars that destroyed the Old Continent. Here are alchemical explanations for failed blind dates. Here you’ll find a dryad, the last great elephant, and an uneasy blur of humanity. Cat Rambo doesn’t simply amaze and delight, she restores wonder to her readers with every page. You won’t simply believe that pigs can fly, you’ll question why you ever doubted the premise at all.”

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Falling in Love with Hominids presents more than a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print, including one original story. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Caribbean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.”

Fountain of Age: Stories by Nancy Kress

“Nine new stories from a long-time star of the science fiction field including the Hugo Award winner “The Erdmann Nexus” and the caper-inspired Nebula Award winning title story “Fountain of Age.” Kress unpacks the future the way DNA investigators unravelled the double helix: one gene at a time. In many of these stories gene sculpting is illegal yet commonplace and the effects range between slow catastrophe (“End Game”), cosmic (“First Rites”), and tragic (“Safeguard”). Then there’s the morning when Rochester disappears and Jenny has to rely on “The Kindness of Strangers.” There’s Jill, who is kidnapped by aliens and trying to learn the “Laws of Survival.” And there’s Hope, whose Grandma is regretting the world built “By Fools Like Me.””

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

“Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.”

Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

“Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening. In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories—one of which has never been published before—GHOST SUMMER: STORIES, is sure to both haunt and delight.”

The Girl with No Hands (and Other Tales) by Angela Slatter

“A stunning, emotional and eclectic collection of fantasy and dark tales. These are the stories told to warn children, entertain adults and beguile all.”

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (October 8th, Graywolf Press)

“In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.”

The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar

“We should not be tricked by the frost, for it was during the dreaming month of February that Amal El-Mohtar composed The Honey Month, a book that tastes and smells of sun. Each day she uncapped a vial of honey, letting the brew inspire the words that became this book. Amal offers us much more than poetry and prose, however. Her words wrap around us like spiderwebs, gently pulling us into the web she weaves, where honey girls tempt and tease us, where things lost return and sorrow paints the leaves. This is a colourful book, but it is by no means a frivolous one. Remember, not all honey is sweet.”

How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future by Rachel Swirsky

“From the riveting emotion and politics of “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” (Nebula winner) to the melancholy family saga of “Eros, Philia, Agape” (Hugo and Theodore Sturgeon finalist), Rachel Swirsky’s critically acclaimed stories have quickly made her one of the field’s rising stars. Her work is, by turns, clever and engaging, unflinching and quietly devastating—often in the space of the same story.”

In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss

“Theodora Goss’ first major short story collection showcases such stories as “The Rose in Twelve Petals,” “The Rapid Advance of Sorrow,” “Lily, With Clouds,” “In the Forest of Forgetting,” “Sleeping With Bears” and many more.”

Jagannath: Stories by Karin Tidbeck

“Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical short stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you. How else to describe a collection that includes “Cloudberry Jam,” a story that opens with the line “I made you in a tin can”? Marvels, quirky character studies, and outright surreal monstrosities await you in the book widely praised by Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, and Karen Joy Fowler.”

Kabu, Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor

“Kabu Kabu—unregistered, illegal Nigerian taxis—generally get you where you need to go, but Nnedi Okorafor’s Kabu Kabu takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations. This debut short story collection by an award-winning author includes notable previously published short work, a new novella co-written with New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster, and a brief foreword by Whoopi Goldberg.”

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue

“Thirteen tales are unspun from the deeply familiar, and woven anew into a collection of fairy tales that wind back through time. Acclaimed Irish author Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances–sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed.”

A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories by Robin McKinley

“There’s mute Lily, in “The Healer,” who has the power to help others, and receives a startling opportunity to find her voice when a mysterious mage stumbles into town. And Queen Ruen, who is at the mercy of a power-hungry uncle until she encounters a shape-changer in “The Stagman.” In “Touk’s House,” a maiden who has grown up with a witch and a troll has a chance to become a princess, but she must decide whether she would really live happily ever after. When a curse follows Coral to her new husband’s farm in “Buttercups,” the pair has a choice: Succumb to defeat or find a way to turn a disastrous enchantment into a fruitful new venture. Finally, travel to upstate New York with Annabelle. In the title story, her family moves shortly after her sixteenth birthday, and just as she starts to adjust to her new life in a small town, a plan to build a superhighway threatens her new home. But a strange box hidden in a secret attic in the new house may be the answer.”

The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente

“Science fiction and fantasy stories about Japan by the multiple-award winning author and New York Times best seller Catherynne M. Valente. A collection of some of Catherynne Valente’s most admired stories, including the Hugo Award-nominated novella Silently and Very Fast and the Locus Award finalist “13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” with a brand-new long story to anchor the collection.”

North American Lake Monsters: Stories by Nathan Ballingrud

“Nathan Ballingrud’s debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud’s intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.”

One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses by Lucy Corin

“Lucy Corin’s dazzling new collection is powered by one hundred apocalypses: a series of short stories, many only a few lines, that illuminate moments of vexation and crisis, revelations and revolutions. An apocalypse might come in the form of the end of a relationship or the end of the world, but what it exposes is the tricky landscape of our longing for a clean slate.”

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

“This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards). A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor.”

Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi

“The stories in Pump Six chart the evolution of Paolo Bacigalupi’s work, including the Hugo nominated “Yellow Card Man,” and the Sturgeon Award-winning story “The Calorie Man,” both set in the world of his novel The Windup Girl. This collection also demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Bacigalupi’s work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.”

Red as Blood by Tanith Lee

“What if Snow White were the real villain and the “wicked queen” just a sadly maligned innocent? What if awakening Sleeping Beauty would be the mistake of a lifetime — of several lifetimes? What if the famous folk tales were retold with an eye to more horrific possibilities? Only Tanith Lee — “Goddess-Empress of the Hot Read” (Village Voice) — could retell the world-famous tales of the Brothers Grimm (and others) as they might have been told by the Sisters Grimmer!”

Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice by Eugie Foster

“Enchantment, peril and romance pervade the shadowy Far East, from the elegant throne room of the emperor’s palace to the humble teahouse of a peasant village. In these dozen stories of adventure and magic from the Orient, a maiden encounters an oni demon in the forest, a bride discovers her mother-in-law is a fox woman, a samurai must appease his sister’s angry ghost, strange luck is found in a jade locket, and dark and light are two sides of harmony.”

Salsa Nocturna: Stories by Daniel José Older

“A 300 year-old story collector enlists the help of the computer hacker next door to save her dying sister. A half-resurrected cleanup man for Death’s sprawling bureaucracy faces a phantom pachyderm, doll-collecting sorceresses and his own ghoulish bosses. Gordo, the old Cubano that watches over the graveyards and sleeping children of Brooklyn, stirs and lights another Malagueña. Down the midnight streets of New York, a whole invisible universe churns to life in Daniel José Older’s debut collection of ghost noir.”

Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear

“A compilation of short science fiction and fantasy from Elizabeth Bear—tales of myth and mythic resonance, fantasies both subtle and epic in tone; hard science fiction and speculations about an unknowable universe. This collection, showcasing Bear’s unique imagination and singular voice, includes her Hugo- and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winning story “Tideline” and Hugo-winning novelette “Shoggoths in Bloom,” as well as an original, never-published story. Recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award, a World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Philip K. Dick nominee, Bear is one of speculative fiction’s most acclaimed, respected, and prolific authors.”

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette

“The first non-themed collection of the critically acclaimed author’s best short fiction. To paraphrase Hugo-award winner Elizabeth Bear’s introduction: Monette’s prose is lapidary, her ideas are fantastical and chilling. She has studied the craft of fantastic fiction from the pens of masters and mistresses of the genre. She is a poet of the awkward and the uncertain, exalter of the outcast, the outré, and the downright weird. There is nothing else quite like Sarah Monette’s fiction.”

Sorry Please Thank You: Stories by Charles Yu

“Drawing from both pop culture and science, Charles Yu is a brilliant observer of contemporary society, and in Sorry Please Thank You he fills his stories with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and piercing insight into the human condition. He has already garnered comparisons to such masters as Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, and in this new collection we have resounding proof that he has arrived (via a wormhole in space-time) as a major new voice in American fiction.”

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho

“A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora. Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, SPIRITS ABROAD collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility.”

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

“Stories of Your Life and Others delivers dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar, often presenting characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—with some sense of normalcy. With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by beauty and wonder. An award-winning collection from one of today’s most lauded writers, Stories of Your Life and Others is a contemporary classic.”

Tales of Wonder by Jane Yolen

“Author Jane Yolen speaks to the ancient magic within us all in this anthology of 30 grown-up fairy stories—lovely, lyrical, poignant, sometimes frightening tales of transformations and transfigurations, magical destinies and dangerous quests, strange visions, reawakenings, and just desserts. A past winner of the Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, and numerous other honors, Yolen takes her rightful place alongside the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, combining innovative literary style with fables that reimagine the myths of old and some of her legendary predecessors’ most cherished characters: Cinderella, simple Jack, Guinevere, Icarus, and the Frog Prince.”

Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar

“The first collection of short fiction from a rising star whose stories have been anthologized many times including in the first two volumes of the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series and nominated for many awards. Some of Samatar’s weird and compassionate fabulations spring from her life and literary studies; some spring from the world, some from the void. Tender explores the fragility of bodies, emotions, and landscapes, in settings that range from medieval Egypt to colonial Kenya to the stars, and the voices of those who question: children, students, servants, researchers, writers.”

This Strange Way of Dying: Stories of Magic, Desire and the Fantastic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Spanning a variety of genres–fantasy, science fiction, horror–and time periods, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s exceptional debut collection features short stories infused with Mexican folklore yet firmly rooted in a reality that transforms as the fantastic erodes the rational. This speculative fiction compilation, lyrical and tender, quirky and cutting, weaves the fantastic and the horrific alongside the touchingly human. Perplexing and absorbing, the stories lift the veil of reality to expose the realms of what lies beyond with creatures that shed their skin and roam the night, vampires in Mexico City that struggle with disenchantment, an apocalypse with giant penguins, legends of magic scorpions, and tales of a ceiba tree surrounded by human skulls.”

Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville

“The fiction of multiple award–winning author China Miéville is powered by intelligence and imagination. Like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and David Mitchell, he pulls from a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways.”

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

“A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements, Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.”

Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories by Diana Wynne Jones

“Master storyteller Diana Wynne Jones presents a riveting collection of unpredictable tales, including:
— A cat tells how the kindhearted wizard she owns is suddenly called upon to defeat a horrific Beast.
— When Anne has mumps, her drawings come to life, and she must protect her home from them.
— Four children become involved in the intrigue surrounding an innocent prince, an evil count, and a brave outlaw.
These fifteen stories and one novella will enchant, startle, and surprise!”

The Unreal and the Real by Ursula K. Le Guin

“A collection of short stories by the legendary and iconic Ursula K. Le Guin—selected by the author, and combined in one volume for the first time. The Unreal and the Real is a collection of some of Ursula K. Le Guin’s best short stories. She has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honor, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but this is the first short story volume combining a full range of her work.”

Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel

“Twenty-one genre-bending stories of bestial transformation, accidental murder, erotically-challenged dictatorship, and other tales of darkness, absurdity, and confusion.”

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

“From the author of the novel Swamplandia!—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—comes a magical and uniquely daring collection of stories that showcases the author’s gifts at their inimitable best. Within these pages, a community of girls held captive in a Japanese silk factory slowly transmute into human silkworms and plot revolution; a group of boys stumble upon a mutilated scarecrow that bears an uncanny resemblance to a missing classmate that they used to torment; a family’s disastrous quest for land in the American West has grave consequences; and in the marvelous title story, two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove try to slake their thirst for blood and come to terms with their immortal relationship.”

The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint

“Between these pages are all manner of enchanted characters in unusual places: playful Crow Girls who sneak into the homes of their sleeping neighbors, a graffiti artist who risks his life to expose a deadly conspiracy, and an unrepentant trickster who throws one last party to reveal a lost folkloric tradition. At turns unexpected, whimsical, dark, and mystical, this is an essential compendium of timeless tales to be revisited as often as the heart desires.”

Waters Luminous and Deep by Meredith Ann Pierce

“Meredith Ann Pierce’s acclaimed novels are the proof of a remarkable imagination. Here is more proof—eight shorter works of fiction, each with a strong heroine, a tangibly imagined world, and unforgettable imagery. Included here are the text to her only picture book, “Where the Wild Geese Go”; the tale that showed a teenaged Meredith that she was, indeed, a writer (“In Quest of the Icerose”); and a powerful novella originally commissioned by SFWA Grandmaster Andre Norton (“Rampion”). Waters Luminous and Deep encapsulates the evolution of one writer’s unmistakable style, and has all of the power of her longer work.”

What I Didn’t See and Other Stories by Karen Joy Fowler

“With clear and insightful prose, Fowler’s stories measure the human capacities for hope and despair, brutality and kindness. This collection, which includes two Nebula Award winners and some stories which have been significantly rewritten since first publication, is sure to delight readers, even as it pulls the rug out from underneath them.”

Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

“A rebellious child identifies with Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share one last morning on Earth. A solitary woman inherits a penny arcade haunted by a beautiful stranger . . . Whether on a habitat on Mars or in a boardinghouse in London, discover Ellen Klages’ wicked, wondrous adventures full of cheeky wit, empathy, and courage.”

The Wilds by Julia Elliott

“In her genre-bending stories, Elliott blends Southern gothic strangeness with dystopian absurdities, sci-fi speculations with fairy-tale transformations. Teetering between the ridiculous and the sublime, Elliott’s language-driven fiction uses outlandish tropes to capture poignant moments in her humble characters’ lives. Without abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play.”

Wolves and Witches by Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt

“Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker–fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.”

Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories by Vandana Singh

“The first Indian female speculative fiction writer, Singh has said that her genre is a “chance to find ourselves part of a larger whole; to step out of the claustrophobia of the exclusively human and discover joy, terror, wonder, and meaning in the greater universe.” A revolutionary voice in fantasy writing, Singh brings her passion for discovery to these stories, and the result is like nothing of this world.”

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from the extraordinarily talented Margo Lanagan–each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking. The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity. The people of Lanagan’s worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging. These are stories to be savored slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are.”

Young Woman in a Garden: Stories by Delia Sherman

“In her vivid and sly, gentle and wise long anticipated first collection, Delia Sherman takes seemingly insignificant moments in the lives of artists or sailors—the light out a window, the two strokes it takes to turn a small boat—and finds the ghosts haunting them, the magic surrounding them. Here are the lives that make up larger histories, here are tricksters and gardeners, faeries and musicians, all glittering and sparkling, finding beauty and hope and always unexpected, a touch of wild magic.”

Multi-Author Collections

Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad

“The fifteen authors and nine artists in this volume bring us beautiful, speculative stories of disability and mental illness in the future. Teeming with space pirates, battle robots, interstellar travel and genetically engineered creatures, every story and image is a quality, crafted work of science fiction in its own right, as thrilling and fascinating as it is worthy and important. These are stories about people with disabilities in all of their complexity and diversity, that scream with passion and intensity. These are stories that refuse to go gently.”

AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers edited by Ivor W. Hartmann

“AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from across Africa and abroad. It is comprised of original (previously unpublished) works only, from stellar established and upcoming African writers: Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Lotz, Tendai Huchu, Cristy Zinn, Ashley Jacobs, Nick Wood, Tade Thompson, S.A. Partridge, Chinelo Onwualu, Uko Bendi Udo, Dave de Burgh, Biram Mboob, Sally-Ann Murray, Mandisi Nkomo, Liam Kruger, Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu, Joan De La Haye, Mia Arderne, Rafeeat Aliyu, Martin Stokes, Clifton Gachagua, and Efe Okogu.”

Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold edited by Paula Guran

“Once upon a time, the stories that came to be known as “fairy tales” were cultivated to entertain adults more than children; it was only later that they were tamed and pruned into less thorny versions intended for youngsters. But in truth, they have continued to prick the imaginations of readers at all ages. Over the years, authors have often borrowed bits and pieces from these stories, grafting them into their own writing, creating literature with both new meaning and age-old significance. In the last few decades or so, they’ve also intentionally retold and reinvented the tales in a variety of ways—delightful or dark, wistful or wicked, sweet or satirical—that forge new trails through the forests of fantastic fiction. This new anthology compiles some of the best modern fairy-tale retellings and reinventions from award-winning and bestselling authors, acclaimed storytellers, and exciting new talents, into an enchanting collection. Explore magical new realms by traveling with us, Beyond the Woods . . .”

Bless Your Mechanical Heart edited by Jennifer Brozek

“In Bless Your Mechanical Heart, Award-winning editor Jennifer Brozek brings together a team of writers, both new and established, to explore one of the most enduring archetypes in the science fiction genre with a tip of the hat to one of the most endearing and versatile phrases in Southern culture. Featuring stories by Peter Clines, Jody Lynn Nye, Seanan McGuire, Fiona Patton, Jean Rabe, Ken Scholes, and Lucy A. Snyder.”

Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables edited by Stephen L. Antczak

“Combining the timeless fairy tales that we all read as children with the out-of-time technological wizardry that is steampunk, this collection of stories blends the old and the new in ways sure to engage every fantasy reader.…”

Conjunctions 39: The New Wave Fabulists edited by Bradford Morrow

“A volume of innovative cross-genre science fiction, fantasy, and horror, featuring a cover and frontispieces exclusively commissioned from master cartoonist Gahan Wilson.”

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree Thomas

“This volume introduces black science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction writers to the generations of readers who have not had the chance to explore the scope and diversity among African-American writers.”

Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti

“In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction.”

The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin

“A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers. Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them. They are the Djinn. They are among us.”

Feeling Very Strange edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel

“These ambitious stories of visionary strangeness between literature and popular culture defy the conventions of science fiction. Tales by Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, Carol Emshwiller, George Saunders, and others pull the reader into a vivid dreamspace and embrace the knowledge that life today is increasingly surreal.”

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Sharyn November

“Firebirds is more than simply an anthology — it is a celebration of wonderful writing. It gathers together sixteen original stories by some of today’s finest writers of fantasy and science fiction. Together, they have won virtually every major prize — from the National Book Award to the World Fantasy Award to the Newbery Medal — and have made best-seller lists worldwide.”

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft

“To elevate and celebrate the amazing work being done by Microsoft’s scientists in their world-class research facilities, Melcher Media produced a collection of original science fiction stories. We signed up eight of the most acclaimed authors in the field and arranged for them to travel to Microsoft Research labs around the globe. The writers then created near-future fictional stories exploring the far-reaching effects of Microsoft Research’s innovations. The eight stories were joined by a short graphic novel from two up-and-coming comics creators in a beautiful eBook edition with striking computer-generated illustrations.”

Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers

“An absolutely mind-boggling gathering of some of today’s very best dark storytellers—including Peter Beagle, James Morrow, Sean Williams, Gene Wolfe, Garth Nix, Marly Youmans, Jeffery Ford, and Robert Silverberg—Ghosts by Gaslight offers chilling gothic and spectral tales in a delightfully twisted Victorian and Edwardian vein. Think Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a decidedly steampunk edge, and you’re ready to confront Ghosts by Gaslight.”

Happily Ever After edited by John Klima

Happily Ever After is a star-studded book of fairy tales, featuring an introduction by Bill Willingham (Fables) and stories by Gregory Maguire, Susanna Clarke, Karen Joy Fowler, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Kelly Link, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs, and many other fantasy luminaries.”

The Hard SF Renaissance edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer

“Something exciting has been happening in modern SF. After decades of confusion, many of the field’s best writers have been returning to the subgenre called, roughly, “hard SF”-science fiction focused on science and technology, often with strong adventure plots. Now, World Fantasy Award-winning editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer present an immense, authoritative anthology that maps the development and modern-day resurgence of this form, argues for its special virtues and present preeminence-and entertains us with some spectacular storytelling along the way.”

Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer

“Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.”

The Humanity of Monsters edited by Michael Matheson

“In stories by turns surreal, sublime, brutal, and haunting, there are no easy answers to be found, no simple nor uncomplicated labels to be had. Only the surety that though there be monsters, you will name them false. And when you meet those who truly are, you will not know them.”

Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing edited by Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss

“Nineteen writers dig into the imaginative spaces between conventional genres—realistic and fantastical, scholarly and poetic, personal and political—and bring up gems of new fiction: interstitial fiction.”

Iraq +100: Stories from Another Iraq edited by Hassan Blasim

“Iraq + 100 poses a question to ten Iraqi writers: what might your country look like in the year 2103 – a century after the disastrous American- and British-led invasion, and 87 years down the line from its current, nightmarish battle for survival? How might the effects of that one intervention reach across a century of repercussions, and shape the lives of ordinary Iraqi citizens, or influence its economy, culture, or politics? Might Iraq have finally escaped the cycle of invasion and violence triggered by 2003 and, if so, what would a new, free Iraq look like?”

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

“Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.”

Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier edited by Jonathan Strahan

“Mars! The Red Planet! For generations, people have wondered what it would be like to travel to and live there. That curiosity has inspired some of the most durable science fiction, including Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and the work of Isaac Asimov. Now the award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan has brought together thirteen original stories to explore the possibilities. After reading Life on Mars, readers will never look at the fourth planet from the sun the same way again.”

Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older

“These gripping stories have been passed down through the generations, hidden between the lines of journal entries and love letters. Now 27 of today’s finest authors – including TananThe Wildsrive Due, Sofia Samatar, Ken Liu, Victor LaValle, Nnedi Okorafor, and Sabrina Vourvoulias – reveal the people whose lives have been pushed to the margins of history.”

Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams

“Collected by the editor of the award-winning Lightspeed magazine, the first, definitive anthology of climate fiction—a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate Fiction, or Cli-Fi, is exploring the world we live in now—and in the very near future—as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-winning writers like Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Seanan McGuire, and many others at the brink of tomorrow. Loosed Upon the World is so believable, it’s frightening.”

Magic in the Mirrorstone: Tales of Fantasy edited by Steve Berman

“In this anthology for teen readers, fifteen best-selling and acclaimed authors–including Holly Black, Cecil Castellucci, Cassandra Clare, Eugie Foster, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Gregory Frost–weave all-new stories filled with magic. Comic and dark, epic and entertaining, these stories will introduce readers to the new voices of Mirrorstone beside the treasured favorites of Young Adult fantasy.”

McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories edited by Michael Chabon

“Michael Chabon is back with a brand-new collection that reinvigorates the stay-up-all-night, edge-of-the seat, fingernail-biting, page-turning tradition of literary short stories, featuring Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Peter Straub, David Mitchell, Jonathan Lethem, Heidi Julavits, Roddy Doyle, and more!”

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer

“Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.”

New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman (August 8, Tachyon Publications)

“What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist? In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fastest-rising talents of the last five years. Their tales were hand-picked by the legendary Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (The Treasury of the Fantastic). So go ahead, join the Communist revolution of the honeybees. The new kids got your back.”

New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean edited by Karen Lord

“Discover some of the best in speculative short fiction from the Caribbean’s up and coming voices. Edited by writer Karen Lord, New Worlds, Old Ways encompasses science fiction, fantasy and more. It is the third publication of Peekash Press, an imprint of Akashic Books and Peepal Tree Press committed to supporting the emergence of new Caribbean writing, and as part of CaribLit project.”

Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy edited by Ekaterina Sedia

“The city has always been a place of mystery, of magic, and wonder. In cities past, present, and future, in metropoli real and imagined, meet mutilated warrior-women, dead boys, mechanical dogs, escape artists and more. From the dizzying heights of rooftops and spires to the sinister secrets of underpasses and gutters, some of the most talented authors writing today will take you on a trip through the urban fantastic.”

ParaSpheres: Extending Beyond the Spheres of Literary and Genre Fiction edited by Rusty Morrison

“With Fabulist and New Wave Fabulist stories by 44 Literary and Genre authors, this anthology follows in the footsteps of Conjunctions 39 (from Bard College, New York), the Fall 2002 issue, which focused on New Wave Fabulist writers.”

Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois

“If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.”

Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

“You hold in your hands a volume of wonders — magical tales of trolls and ogres, of bewitched princesses and kingdoms accursed, penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day. But these are not bedtime stories designed to usher an innocent child gently into a realm of dreams. These are stories that bite — lush and erotic, often dark and disturbing mystical journeys through a phantasmagoric landscape of distinctly adult sensibilities . . . where there is no such thing as “happily ever after.””

The Starlit Wood edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe

“An all-new anthology of cross-genre fairy tale retellings, featuring an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers. Once upon a time. It’s how so many of our most beloved stories start. Fairy tales have dominated our cultural imagination for centuries. From the Brothers Grimm to the Countess d’Aulnoy, from Charles Perrault to Hans Christian Anderson, storytellers have crafted all sorts of tales that have always found a place in our hearts. Now a new generation of storytellers have taken up the mantle that the masters created and shaped their stories into something startling and electrifying…”

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant

“In the first major YA steampunk anthology, fourteen top storytellers push the genre’s mix of sci-fi, fantasy, history, and adventure in fascinating new directions.”

Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman

“The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology.”

The Urban Green Man edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine

“The stories in this anthology are ripe with magic of new beginnings and will change the way you look at life, forever. . . . The vibrant stories presented in this anthology are all new and original. With an introduction by Charles de Lint Urban Green Man is a large anthology of urban and contemporary short literature; from an international cast of authors. Every story follows the theme of renewal surrounding the mythology of the Green Man.”

Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction edited by Grace L. Dillon

“In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as “magical realism” by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones. Dillon’s engaging introduction situates the pieces in the larger context of science fiction and its conventions.”

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Ann VanderMeer

“From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird, and its practitioners include some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature. . . . The Weird is the winner of the 2012 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.”

Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner

“Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists’ studios of Soho. Terri Windling’s original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today’s urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.”

The Wilful Eye edited by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab

“Six writers – Margo Lanagan, Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland, Margaret Mahy and Martine Murray – have taken inspiration from stories that have shaped us all, tales like ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ and ‘The Snow Queen’. This collection carries universal themes of envy and desire, deception and abandonment, courage and sacrifice.”