Every so often, I like to browse through the list of Amazon's recommendations to me. This can sometimes be a very strange experience: my purchase of a season of "The West Wing" on DVD resulted in the suggestion that I might want to buy a My Little Pony. (I did not.) And buying Ellen Kushner's fabulous The Privilege of the Sword generated the recommendation of, well, this. (NO. Also, why? Also, only a brainless ninny fences in a cape and with that much exposed skin.)
This weekend, I had the rather surreal experience of Amazon recommending that I buy Stories, the anthology edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio that I am fortunate enough to have a story in. My first thought was something along the lines of "Wow, Amazon thinks I am a raging egomaniac." That probably would have been my last thought, too, had I not just finished reading my advance copy. Since I had, I thought, well, in this case, Amazon got it right.
Stories is amazing.* Every story in here does what I love best about fiction - it makes me think about things in a different manner than I did before I read it. They engage with what it means to tell a story, what kind of power the creation of a narrative wields. Some of them - Elizabeth Hand's "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon," Jodi Picoult's** "Weights and Measures" and Joe Hill's "The Devil on the Staircase" - I've already read twice. I feel like I got invited to sit at the cool kids' table, and they turned out to actually be cool. Neil, Al, thank you for inviting me to be a part of this.
* When I refer to the book, I'm not referring to my story. I try not to be a raging egomaniac. Also, other than noting that I am really proud of "A Life in Fictions," I can't speak in a useful way about it.
** I've given my sister Jodi Picoult books for pretty much every gift-giving occasion in recent memory. Getting to be in the same anthology with her means that I am totally the Most Awesome Big Sister Ever.