BASFF 2015: Foreword

THE PRIMARY REASON this volume exists is a novel I read when I was eighteen years old: The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester.

He had reached a dead end. He had been content to drift from moment to moment of existence for thirty years like some heavily armored creature [. . .] but now he was adrift in space for one hundred and seventy days, and the key to his awakening was in the lock.

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I’m new here, so let me introduce myself: I’m John Joseph Adams. I first started working in the science fiction and fantasy field in 2001, when I got a job as an editorial assistant at one of the genre’s leading magazines, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (founded in 1949, publisher of my all-time favorite story, “Flowers for Algernon”). In 2008 I published my first anthology, Wastelands; since then I’ve published more than twenty anthologies, launched two magazines (Lightspeed and Nightmare), cofounded Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, and been nominated for—or edited stories that were nominated for—numerous awards and honors, including the World Fantasy, Hugo, and Nebula Awards. All of which led to my being selected to serve as the series editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy.

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The stories chosen for this anthology were originally published between January 2014 and December 2014. The technical criteria for consideration are (1) original publication in a nationally distributed American or Canadian publication (that is, periodicals, collections, or anthologies, in print, online, or as an ebook); (2) publication in English by writers who are American or Canadian or who have made the United States their home; (3) publication as text (audiobooks, podcasts, dramatizations, interactive works, and other forms of fiction are not considered); (4) original publication as short fiction (excerpts of novels are not knowingly considered); (5) length of 17,499 words or less; (6) at least loosely categorized as science fiction or fantasy; (7) publication by someone other than the author (self-published works are not eligible); and (8) publication as an original work of the author (not part of a media tie-in/licensed fiction program).

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I could not have done all the work of assembling this volume alone (or even with only the help of our esteemed guest editor). Accordingly, many thanks go out to my team of first readers, who helped me evaluate various publications that I might not have had time to consider otherwise, led by DeAnna Knippling, Robyn Lupo, and Rob McMonigal, with smaller but still significant contributions by Christie Yant, Karen Bovenmyer, Michael Curry, Sylvia Hiven, Amber Barkley, Aaron Bailey, Hannah Huber, Hannah Mades-Alabiso, and Sarah Slatton.

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I consider the mantle of series editor to be a tremendous responsibility, and the SF/F genre is vitally important to me, so this is a job I take very, very seriously.

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Editors, writers, and publishers who would like their work considered for next year’s edition, please visit johnjosephadams.com/best-americanfor instructions on how to submit material for consideration.

—JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS