cover image The Best of Subterranean

The Best of Subterranean

Edited by William Schafer. Subterranean, $45 (752p) ISBN 978-1-59606-837-7

This deep and vibrant genre-spanning collection of 30 stories pulled from the brief but much-lauded run of Subterranean magazine (2005–2014) contains something for almost every reader, with a particular focus on the creepy and the bittersweet. Catherynne M. Valente’s outstanding “White Lines on a Green Field” brings trickster god Coyote to a high school football team, capturing the collective frenzy of the road to the high school football championship and the melancholy when reality returns in the wake of his departure. Hal Duncan’s “Sic Him, Hellhound! Kill! Kill!” is the intense, brazen account of an endearing werewolf who, in order to please and protect his beloved boy handler, tracks down a genuinely unsettling kind of vampire. Tim Pratt’s thoroughly charming “Troublesolving” introduces a man being persecuted by agents from the future and the time-machine-wielding woman who wants to help him. K.J. Parker’s “A Small Price to Play for Birdsong” is the first-person account of a Salieri-like musician and his brilliant, condemned pupil; it’s a compelling exploration of the nature and obligations of genius. Genre fans, and fans of short fiction, won’t want to miss this anthology. (Aug.)