McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales
Michael Chabon (Editor)
March 25, 2003
5.18 X 1.14 X 8.06 inches | 0.81 pounds
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About the Author
About the Editor Michael Chabon's works of fiction include The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, and Were-wolves in Their Youth. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, and Playboy and in a number of anthologies, among them Prize Stories 1999: The O. Henry Awards. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, also a novelist, and their children.
"For the last year or so I have been boring my friends, and not a few strangers, with a semi-coherent, ill-reasoned, and doubtless mistaken rant on the subject of the American short story as it is currently written. As late as about 1950, if I referred to 'short fiction, ' I might have been talking about any of the following kinds of stories: the ghost story; the horror story; the detective story; the story of suspense, terror, fantasy or the macabre; the sea, adventure, spy, war or historical story; the romance story. Stories, in other words, with plots. A glance at any dusty paperback anthology of classic tales proves the truth of this assertion, but more startling will be the names of the authors of these ripping yarns: Poe, Balzac, Wharton, James, Conrad, Graves, Maugham, Faulkner, Twain, Cheever, Coppard.... Very often these stories contained enough plot and color to support an entire feature-length Hollywood adaptation; adapted for film and radio some of them, like 'The Monkey's Paw, ' 'Rain, ' 'The Most Dangerous Game, ' 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' have been imitated and parodied and had their atoms scattered in the general stream of the national imagination and the public domain. About six months ago, I was going on in this vein to Mr. Eggers, saying things like, 'horror stories are all psychology, ' and 'All short stories, in other words, are ghost stories, accounts of visitations and reckonings with the traces of the past.... 'I went on to say that it was my greatest dream someday to publis a magazine of my own, one that would revive lost genres of short fiction, a tradition I saw as one of great writers writing great short stories. I would publish works by both'non-genre' writers, who, like me, found themselves chafing under the strictures of the Ban, and by recognized masters of the genre novel who, fifty years ago, would have regularly worked and published in the short story form but who now have no wide or ready market for shorter work. 'If I let you guest-edit an issue of McSweeney's, ' said Mr. Eggers, 'can we please stop talking about this?' The McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales is the result of this noble gesture. While they were working on their stories, a number of the writers found within these covers reported to me, via giddy e-mails, that they had forgotten how much fun writing a short story could be. I think that we have forgotten how much fun reading a short story can be, and I hope that, if nothing else, this treasury goes some small distance toward reminding us of that lost but fundamental truth."