How does one go about making an anthology? Well…
With Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963), which we informally call Rediscovery 1, it was easy. I’d already been running Galactic Journey for the six years that volume would cover. All I had to do was pick out my favorite stories by women (which were often my favorite stories, period), and then whittle down the list to a manageable number.
After that, it was a matter of figuring out how to make the anthology meaningful. As Judith Merril would tell you (with not a little acid), anyone can put together an anthology. Just slap some reasonably well-regarded stories together, maybe add a couple of pages of introduction, bingo-bango, there’s your anthology on the cheap.
That’s not what we wanted to do.
We wanted Rediscovery to not just be entertaining; we wanted it to be a time capsule. To introduce its readers to this amazing time that was the Silver Age of Science Fiction. That meant we needed context. So introductions for each story were a must.
And since the mission of Journey Press is to spotlight unusual and diverse voices, it was just as important to assemble a corps of introducers as interesting and eclectic as the authors they were introducing. “Yesterday’s luminaries introduced by today’s rising stars” is the tagline for the series–not just catchy, but accurate!
We also wanted to make sure that you readers weren’t just getting the same old stories that have been republished again and again. That’s not “rediscovery”. To that end, many of the tales in Rediscovery 1 had never been reprinted before our volume was released. Others, highly regarded in their day, disappeared from the public eye after anthologization shortly after first print. Or as Hugo Finalist SF historian James Davis Nicoll put it:
“Kudos to the editing team for going beyond the usual selections for the classic authors featured herein. Most of these stories were entirely new to me.”
And that’s saying something!
Okay, so that was Rediscovery 1. That book was a walk in the park compared to Rediscovery 2!
We’d always meant to go backwards with the time scope for the second Rediscovery volume. I figured we’d do Rediscovery 3, covering the period after the first volume, after Galactic Journey had reviewed enough stories to fill another volume. That’ll probably happen by 2024. But I didn’t want to wait until 2024 to release another Rediscovery.
The problem, such as it was, was that I hadn’t had a chance to read all the stories by women from the mid-1950s, and those I had, I had not taken sufficient notes to be able to curate a collection. We had to start from scratch.
That meant reading three hundred and fifty stories, not to mention nonfiction articles and poetry pieces.
Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t going to be a chore. After all, this wasn’t reading through the slush pile. All of these stories had been published, which was its own kind of quality sieve. Still, logistically, it is very difficult to read 350 stories in a few months and do…anything else.
I needed help this time.
Me, Erica Frank, Jason Sacks, Kris Vyas-Myall and Katie Heffner spent the summer of 2021 enjoying the trove. We didn’t split it up. Indeed, many of the stories got two sets of eyes (at least) so we could objectively pick the best stories. Then, Janice L. Newman read the finalists and helped trim the list.
Even so, Rediscovery 2 was going to be a bigger book, no two ways around it. There were simply more women writing in the mid-50s than the late 50s/early 60s, and more outlets for them to write in, too. To cut the list down to 14 selections, as we had with Rediscovery 1, would have been an injustice.
More stories meant more introducers (whose introductions we turned into afterwords so as not to spoil the stories thanks to feedback from our readers!) We brought back most of the Rediscovery 1 team who had, in fact, risen as stars since the publication of the first book. 🙂 We also got to add some wonderful new introducers to our team.
Additionally, we had to secure the rights to the stories that had not entered the Public Domain. We’re happy to say that we got all of the ones we wanted. No story was left unprinted due to legal concerns.
Finally, we had to have a cover that suitably reflected the subject. Kelly Freas, one of the brightest lights of the ’50s and ’60s, came through for us again. His widow, Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha, graciously licensed the art originally commissioned for the September ’56 cover of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which we think is just beautiful. Christine Sandquist turned it into a lovely cover for Rediscovery 2.
The result is available as of today, the first day of Women’s History Month. It’s been a long time coming, and we think the hard work has produced one of the very best science fiction anthologies ever put together.
We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it!