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TOC: Eclipse 2

Editor Jonathan Strahan has posted the (near-final) table of contents to the 2nd volume of his Eclipse anthology:

[9/08 UPDATE: Strahan has posted a revised table of contents, shown below, which removes the Harry Turtledove story “We Haven’t Got There Yet” and adds stories by Margo Lanagan and Ted Chiang.]

  1. “The Hero” by Karl Schroeder
  2. “Turing’s Apples” by Stephen Baxter
  3. “Invisible Empire of Ascending Light” by Ken Scholes
  4. “Michael Laurits is: Drowning” by Paul Cornell
  5. “Night of the Firstlings” by Margo Lanagan
  6. “Elevator” by Nancy Kress
  7. “The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm” by Daryl Gregory
  8. “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang
  9. “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” by David Moles
  10. “The Rabbi’s Hobby” by Peter S. Beagle
  11. “The Seventh Expression of the Robot General” by Jeffrey Ford
  12. “Skin Deep” by Richard Parks
  13. “Ex Cathedra” by Tony Daniel
  14. “Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose” by Terry Dowling
  15. “We Haven’t Got There Yet” by Harry Turtledove
  16. “Fury” by Alastair Reynolds

Looks like a real solid lineup. Bonus: Schroeder’s entry is set in his Virga universe. And what’s that I spy on the Moles story? Is naming his story after one of Cory Doctorow’s books a meta-riff on Doctorow naming his story after sf classics? Heh-heh…

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

16 Comments on TOC: Eclipse 2

  1. Ouch. If there was bitching last year over having only male authors on the cover despite having a nearly 50/50 split in male / female written stories, this one is going to hurt.

    One woman. One.

    That’s actually embarrassing.

  2. Jonathan Strahan // June 16, 2008 at 7:15 pm //

    Hi Joe – Thanks for your interest in Eclipse. I’m happy with the final book, and will be interested to see how readers react. On gender issues: I try to be gender blind. Eclipse One was 50/50. Eclipse Two has one woman in it. Eclipse Three may only have one man in it. That’s how the submission process ends up sometimes. Why would that be embarrassing? – Jonathan

  3. Thank you for the response, Jonathan.

    The first point of why I felt it was embarrassing was due, mostly, to the brouhaha over the cover of Eclipse One (excellent anthology, by the way). A nearly 50/50 split, like you say, but no women named on the front cover. Now, I agree with Jeremy Lassen’s reasoning for that. The names on the cover of Eclipse One were the names that are more likely to drive the greatest number of sales.

    Given the history, we get the TOC for E2. Now, we don’t know if Nancy Kress is going to make the cover or not (my guess is not), but now rather than a solid 50/50 split the very next volume of Eclipse only features one woman.

    Back on February 9th you wrote in the comments to your call for submissions that you were only reading for two slots, that you directly solicited stories for E2.

    Does this mean that given the lineup that you didn’t solicit from many women for E2, that not many women did submit, or that the stories from men were across the board better?

    Just a question.

    I’ve enjoyed the two anthologies I’ve read from you, so I know you have an eye for good work and thus assume that you’re only picking the best of the submission, but given that we have some extremely talented female writers out there, I just wonder why only Nancy Kress (part of the extremely talented pool, of course) made this anthology.

    I don’t know, I guess I’m surprised and while it is easy to say what I *might* have done in your place (i.e. solicit more from women, actively seek them out), for all I know – you may have.

    The TOC might have gone unnoticed by me except that I remembered the conversation last year and found it interesting, and yes, embarrassing that with all the talented female writers out there that here is another male dominated anthology. And after you did such a great job with the gender diversity last year.

    For what it is worth, when I’m actually reading the anthology (and I will), the main thing I’ll care about is whether or not the stories are any good.

  4. Jonathan Strahan // June 18, 2008 at 7:47 am //

    Simplest answer, Joe is this, I asked. For both volumes of Eclipse, about half of the invited writers didn’t deliver. I understand why, and there are many good reasons so I’m definitely cool with it (if disappointed), but it happens. By weird chance, most of the women writers dropped out before the deadline and most of the men delivered. Of the stories actually delivered, some didn’t quite work for me (that happens all the time too). Again, as it happened, more submissions for women were knocked out, but only by chance. It was just how it worked out.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, the opposite happened with Eclipse One, though to a lesser degree. More guys dropped out, so the book ended up as it was.

    The key thing I’d ask you to take away from this, and I’m quite serious, is that I honestly don’t think about this when buying stories. I’m not looking to achieve a gender balance. It’s great when it happens, and I’d be honestly happy if a volume in the series ended up with all female contributors, but I’m reading for great stories first, second, third, last and always.

  5. “but I’m reading for great stories first, second, third, last and always.”

    I guess women just don’t write great stories.


  6. So an equal number of male and female authors were invited, most of the women dropped out, new female authors were found to replace them, and then it “just happened” that all but one story by female contributors were less than “great stories?” I don’t buy it.

  7. As a book buyer, I’m not gender blind. Yet another hard SF antho with few or no women in it? Got a shelf full of ’em. Not something I want or need more of.

    Ignoring the gender disparity in SF is not going to make it go away.

  8. Jonathan Strahan // June 18, 2008 at 7:37 pm //

    S.E.: Women do write great stories. They wrote great stories for Eclipse One, and I hope they’ll write great stories for other projects of mine. As it turned out, I didn’t get the stories this time.

    Jules: I’m sorry if you perceive bias or some kind of conspiracy or something. It really was how it happened. The thing is, would you want me to include stories just because they were by women?

    Stephanie: I respect your position. I can understand that Eclipse Two may not appeal to you, though I hope you’ll keep an open mind about the series. I also am not ignoring the gender disparity anywhere, but nor am I simply going to edit for it. I went through the process I did. I reported it honestly. If that’s not satisfactory, then I can only hope that some other project I work on in the future might appeal to you more.

  9. For years, employers have claimed they only hired, paid and promoted based on merit — nothing more, nothing less. Look at the kind of workforce that got us.

    Gender blindness is blindness. Blindness to discrimination and prejudice and barriers to equality.

  10. Oh, c’mon.

    Be less blind. (That the link refers to color-blindness doesn’t negate the value of the argument: it’s the same argument.)

    I’d have cut you a lot more slack for an open submission process; but not for solicited stories.

    Congratulations on entirely failing to get the point.

  11. Bias, yes. Conspiracy would require that I held anyone other than you accountable for answering the question of what kind of parity was sought in soliciting submissions. I want to know how many women and POC were invited to contribute to this volume, and what standards you applied for “great stories,” and why those standards “just happen” to favor the white guy.

    *sets fire to the strawman in your final non-question*

  12. Jonathan,

    So, you have created an anthology of white men and one white woman. The publisher’s copy for Eclipse One reads:

    “Set to become a major event on the science fiction and fantasy calendar,Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy gathers together new science fiction and fantasy stories by the best writers working today.”

    This is a general interest anthology. It’s being promoted as some sort of compilation of exciting new talent. And yet, that talent is as race and gender limited as anything that would have been published 30 or 40 years ago. I bet those editors thought they were gender/color blind, too. 13 white men and 1 white woman represent the best writers working today?

    Honestly, when the women dropped out, did it occur to you to cast a wider net and ask more women for stories? To open a few more slots from the open call or extend it? To recruit a few of the dramatically underrepresented pool of writers of color (especially female writers of color), very few of whom ever seem to break through to the relative mainstream of our genre?

    No one is saying you should accept a story by a woman or a writer of color just because you need to fill a quota. But a solicited anthology is only as good as the writers whose stories you solicit, and judging by this TOC (no matter what unfortunate first-round dropouts you had), you need to broaden your list. Any editor of a magazine or anthology not only considers the internal quality of each story but ALSO their relationship with each other. I hear all the time that a story might get rejected not because it was bad, but because, say, Peter S. Beagle beat you to the unicorn story slot. If you have a preponderance of AI stories, you might reject one you would otherwise have accepted. This type of “not just the quality of the story, but the quality of the market” balancing is an accepted and, indeed, *expected* part of the job of the editor. When Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling put out their fairy tale anthologies, no one wanted to read six sleeping beauty re-tellings, no matter how good they might individually be.

    So HOW is it any different to consider another “not just the story quality” valence when weighing the effect of the balance of an anthology? How is it “affirmative action” or “quotas” or any of those other bogeymen to look at your TOC and think, “gee, I seem to have stuffed this with a lot of white guys. My readership might not like that anymore than an anthology with 7 romantic zombie stories, so let me try to balance things a little.”

    There are so many excellent women and writers of color working in the field today that I find it astonishing that (when the first round of women dropped out) you could not have solicited several other excellent stories from them to help round out your anthology in all the ways people clearly care about.

    Because I’m with Stephanie: I’ve seen enough of these all-male anthologies to last my lifetime.

  13. Sorry! I hit “Enter” on accident! Back to my comment.

    Help me here, Jonathan. At Wiscon, less than one month ago, an editor from Nightshade was on the panel. Maybe my memory is extremely horrible (I doubt it), but Jeremy made it pretty clear that for Volume Two of the Eclipse anthology, “things would work out [our] way.” (“We” being feminists, I think). I assume that by his comment, he referred to a more even balance between male and female authors, given the nature of the debate (the cover of volume one).

    Given that the number of authors contained within Volume One was actually a 50/50 split, could you please tell me what, exactly, people as feminists were supposed to be excited about in Volume Two? Because I am really not seeing it.

  14. Is your story review a blind review?

    If not, can you be completely confident that your implicit, unconscious preferences for gender or the author himself be playing a role in what you like and what isn’t quite good enough?

    If so, do you always choose the best stories, even if you find out once you unblind the stories that some of the bigger more marketable names didn’t review as well?

    I’m just curious about the review process and what you mean by “blind”.

  15. Eleanor Arnason // July 4, 2008 at 10:50 am //

    I rarely get asked to submit stories for anthologies. For me, the closed anthology market pretty much does not exist. I have not written much in recent years, and this may explain why editors don’t think of me. But I currently have eight stories that are finished or almost finished, which will be submitted to the magazines, because those are the markets I know about. Used to be, when I was publishing more regularly, I got into “best of” anthologies, after a magazine published a story, but very rarely into original anthologies.

    Well, Orbit and New Worlds, way back when.

    P.S. Jonathan Strahan did ask me for a story for one of his anthologies, and I sent him one, and he published it. So I am not complaining about him.

    P.P.S. I find it very difficult to write stories to order, so theme anthologies are a problem for me. I’m talking about non-theme original anthologies, which seem to be reappearing, thanks in good part to Jonathan and Night Shade.

  16. How about murdering every male gender individual in the world with a rusty chainsaw?  Will that achieve enough parity for You folks (yes, I said “You folks”, and I’m glad.  Onward to Little Big Horn, And Glory!!)?

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