Through email, John Floyd and I recently shared some thoughts about those early editions of BAMS. We discussed how we read in them the work of our literary heroes, imagining what it must be like to have one’s work selected as among the year’s best, and only dreaming of our own work someday being included.
To say that BAMS has since made our dreams come true is an understatement. Including the current edition, John has had three stories included in The Best American Mystery Stories (2015, 2018, and 2020) and another five listed among the “Other Distinguished Stories” of the year (2000, 2010, 2012, 2016, and 2017).
The Best American Mystery Stories has also been good to me, with one story included in 2018 and three listed among the “Other Distinguished Stories” of the year in 2005, 2019, and 2020. It has also been good to me as an editor: The 2020 edition includes a story first published in an anthology I edited, and four stories from anthologies I edited have been listed among the “Other Distinguished Stories” of the year (two stories in 2002, and one each in 2005 and 2020).
TOO MANY BEST-OFS?
The science fiction/fantasy/horror genres are awash with annual best-of-year compilations, but for the past several years BAMS has been the mystery genre’s only best-of-year anthology, and some writers have questioned whether we can support more than one.
I think we can because we have in the past.
Other best-of-year compilations pre-date these, including The Year’s Best Mystery and Suspense Stories series edited by Edward D. Hoch 1982-1995, and Best Detective Stories aka Best Detective Stories of the Year, edited, at various times, by David C. Cooke, Ronald Knox, Brett Halliday, Anthony Boucher, Allen J. Hubin, and Edward D. Hoch.
Publishing has been good to me the past month:
“Woodstock” was published in the November/December issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
“Bicycles” was published in the October 21 issue of Pulp Modern Flash.
“Bet Me” was published in the second issue of Hoosier Noir.
Today is the official release date for Peace, Love, and Crime (Untreed Reads), edited by Sandra Murphy, which contains my story “Jimmy’s Jukebox.”
And “The Town Where Money Grew on Trees” (Tough, November 5, 2019) was named one of the “Other Distinguished Stories” in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020.