By Ted White: As you may or may not know, I’ve written some SF in recent years, having several stories in F&SF and Analog. But one story, which I wrote in 2013, remained unsold for several years, until Gordon Van Gelder asked to see it again. He’d rejected it from F&SF soon after I’d written it, but he remembered it (always a good sign), and wanted to see it for an anthology he was putting together. And he bought it for his book, Welcome To Dystopia, published last year.
The book got good reviews (Gordon passes them all on to us), and my story, “Burning Down the House,” was even singled out (favorably) in several. But it’s a fat book, and my story starts in the 200s, page-wise, so I was expecting nothing more.
I was wrong. Recently I received an email with the heading “CONGRATULATIONS” from Otto Penzler. Otto is a Major Force in the mystery field, and owns The Mysterious Press. He informed me that my story “has been selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2019.”
I have no idea why anyone searching for the best mystery stories of the year would have been reading a dystopian SF anthology, but I’m grateful it happened, and pleased that my story stood out and was selected. (I take it as a credit for writing a vivid story, which can be read, I guess, as a mystery story as well as SF.)
The book will be out this fall, and once again my story will be in the 200s — pages 282 through 303 (I’ve seen proofs), and I’m quietly proud.
I always wanted to be a mystery writer….
New York Times best-selling author of ten genre-bending novels Jonathan Lethem helms this collection of the year’s best mystery short fiction. Publisher: Mariner Books (October 1, 2019)