Friday, 15 February 2013

Short Stories Or Novels?

Like some other people that I have met, I prefer novels and series to single short stories or collections, especially, in the case of Poul Anderson, since my main impression of his collections is that their contents overlap far too much.

Stories can be collected on almost any basis:

(i) a still living author's newest or most recently published stories;
(ii) a representative sample of his stories;
(iii) some editor's idea of his "Best";
(iv) award winners;
(v) stories that have been voted on in some way;
(vi) some publisher's idea for a new collection of old stories;
(vii) stories that form a series;
(viii) thematically related stories on time travel, interstellar travel, alien contact, future warfare etc.


items published under (i) can reappear anywhere under (ii) to (viii);
for at least one sf author, James Blish, there are two versions of his "Best" (iii);
I prefer series (vii);
a single story might appear in more than one theme collection (viii);
theme collections can be "samey";
a critic could read a theme collection in order to assess how each of the stories addresses their common theme;
however, following my own line of least resistance, I am likely to continue rereading Anderson's novels for a while longer.

I have almost come to the end of his series. (I am not much interested in "Hoka.") A while back, I did comment on four "past" short stories, two prehistorical and two historical, because I imagined these as being collected together in some future Complete Works edition.

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