by Jeff Baker
For Day #2 of short-story month, here are some single-author collections I’ve enjoyed.
First off, I read most of these stories originally in anthologies with other author’s stories. Starting with Manly Wade Wellman, one of the best writers ever of short fantasy and horror. My favorite of his collections is the posthumous “The Valley So Low.” It includes stories about John the Balladeer, also called “Silver John,” because of the silver strings on his guitar, a protection against supernatural evil. Replete with folklore; the stories are fine and spooky and an unconscious influence on my recent stories about the wandering Bryce Going. Wellman’s stories about John were collected as “John the Balladeer” about 40 years ago, there has been a complete edition since then. Well worth reading.
The latest collection I’ve read is William F. Wu’s “A Temple of Forgotten Spirits.” Wu says it’s actually a novel, but much of it was first published as short-stories. It follows Jack Hong as he pursues a fabled Chinese unicorn with plenty of information about Chinese history and what it has been like being Chinese-American through the last two centuries.
When I started writing LGBT-themed fiction, I read as much of it as I could (short-stories, I mean.) Among the best is the fine writer/editor Steve Berman. His collections “Trysts” and “Second Thoughts” are from Lethe Press and include several stories set in Berman’s “Fallen Area.” A collection of those stories would be a fine read. Berman’s non fallen-area stories include “Caught By Skin,” which has always reminded me of Charles Beaumont.