Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Philcon 2008, Part II - Disappointments

There were some disappointments in last weekend’s Philcon. Author and writing coach Jonathan Maberry had to cancel. My friend, Origami expert Mark Kennedy, was absent. Also missing was author and scientist Charles Pellegrino, who always has something fascinating to contribute. (Charlie, of course, is the man who originated the idea of cloning dinosaurs from their blood, collected by mosquitoes preserved in amber. Without this idea, there would’ve been no “Jurassic Park” book or movies.)

But my biggest disappointment came in the panel on “Editing Anthologies.” I had long wanted to edit an anthology, but the experts on the panel revealed that publishers no longer buy anthologies of old stories. They want only all-new material in their anthologies!

What nonsense! Surely, the best anthologies collect the best material. And when you have the entire spectrum of literature to choose from, you can get the best! (Well, you can try…you can only anthologize what you can afford and what you can get permission to use.) EVERY anthology I’ve read in the past few years has been compiled from previously published stories! Most of them have been “Best of the Year” Anthologies.

But the publishers want all-new anthologies, preferably with a few New York Times Bestselling Authors. It doesn’t matter if it’s BAD writing by a name author, just that you can put a Big Name on your cover! The example given was Neil Gaiman. I’ve read and enjoyed his Sandman work; he’s very successful. But often he places his poetry in new anthologies, not his prose. And most people consider Gaiman’s poetry inferior to his prose. What a disappointment to a reader: expecting a Neil Gaiman short story, and getting a poem!

Ah, well. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

What I’m working on at present:
  • A report on the United Arab Emirates for the consulting firm Getting Through Customs
  • A Promotional Idea for the Writers Coffeehouse on Sunday 29 November
  • New Humor Essay for Wilmington Writers on Tuesday 2 December


  1. I think you might be the only person I know, Tony, who can use the phrase, "My friend, the Origami Expert" and really mean it :)

    I've linked to your blog! Now it's only a matter of time before you're overwhelmed by my literally ones of readers.

  2. It took me now to notice your message, Jay! Thanks for the link. I'll do the same once I've figured out how.