Monday, October 15, 2007

Year's Best Musings

I just finished reading The Best American Comics 2007, and noticed something interesting.

In the SFF field, there's been a land rush into the "Year's Best" arena over recent years, with different projects jockeying for position (in mind-space and in time). The starting line for all of the books has been the same: December 31st, when the old year ends and an editor can draw a line under his submissions. Some publishers are exceptionally nimble, and can get a book out in February from that starting gate, but most will need until mid-Summer. (And any of those schedules can be pretty punishing.)

But the "Best American" books sidestep all of that by making up their own years; the 2007 Comics volume, for example, was based on works published between August 31, 2005 and September 1, 2006.

Using that method, then, an editor can decide when he wants to publish a "Year's Best," calculate back the appropriate amount of time, and set his year accordingly. It may seem a little odd to those of us still under the iron grip of the calendar, but why can't a year end wherever you want it to? (And the "Best American" series is certainly a formidable precedent.)

I give this to the world of genre, in hopes that it will lighten the load of some ink-stained anthologist out there.

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