The Whole is Greater is a semi-regular feature on the blog where I ask the editors of anthologies to tell us about their experience working on an anthology. Today’s features Jennifer Brozek, whom I have worked as an author and as a publisher, and is probably responsible for a good half of the things I do correctly as either. (The problems are all my fault.) She’s edited a whole mess of anthologies, and so I was interested to see her mention Human For A Day. If you’re interested in anthologies, I highly recommend the second half of her book Industry Talk.
I think my
favorite anthology is still HUMAN FOR A DAY. John Helfers asked me to pitch a
series of anthology themes for Tekno Books to pitch to DAW. I pitched 8 of
them. HUMAN FOR A DAY was the last one. I wrote the idea in the spur of the
moment as I looked at one of my gargoyles. This is the pitch I wrote:
Title: Human for a Day
Genre: General Speculative
The day is finally here. By will,
wish, spell, or curse, those who are not human have become human—and mortal—for
a day. Experience the joy of the mannequin who softens from wood into flesh and
the fear of the god cast down from his divine heights. Feel the anticipation of
the immortal solider that finally has a chance to die and the desire of the
monster to regain her mortal heart. Not everyone who becomes human for a day
wants this transformation. For all, this will be a day they never forget.
I was very
surprised when it was the anthology DAW selected to produce. Then I got
excited. Then I was terrified. Who the heck was I to edit pro-authors I had
admired for years? I don’t know if John ever realized just how intimidated I
was. I tried to hide it. Just as I worked my butt off to make sure HUMAN FOR A
DAY was a damn good anthology.
It was the
seventh anthology I had edited and the quality of the stories was well above
what I was used to. Though, I still had to edit. Everyone needs an editor. The
thing that surprised me the most was the tone of the stories. I had wanted
stories about things coming to life for a day. What I received was a series of
stories exploring the birth-life-death cycle. More than one story in HUMAN FOR
A DAY made me cry.
I think, because
it was my first pro-anthology and because the stories were so poignant, HUMAN
FOR A DAY will always have a warm spot in my heart.