Occasionally, I read something and don’t particularly want to review it so much as say, just read this. Or produce a review consisting of nothing but quotations from the text: let the evidence speak. Phantasm Japan, a 2014 anthology edited by Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington, is such a book. Pardon me while I spend the next several hundred words embarrassingly fangirl-gushing about it.
There are a few different ways to measure an anthology’s success. The one that is used most often is determining how many of the stories the reader liked versus how many they didn’t. While there’s nothing wrong with this as a metric, it’s not the primary one I use. My favorite anthologies shift my perception in some fundamental way, whether by some of the stories taken individually or by the aggregate body. Phantasm Japan does both. Considerably. Of course, producing a collection that’s bold and smart is not without risk; two or three of the more cerebral stories in this anthology sailed right over my head. There were several more that blew my mind in the best possible way. [Read more…]