John Klima sticks his neck out and nominates his top 10 most influential SF / F anthologies over at Tor.com. It’s a list that makes me want to read more, as do the the comments. But I was surprised to see my most influential anthology went entirely unmentioned…
Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology was the book that woke me up to what science fiction could be. I would guess that like many readers I found it in the wake of reading Neuromancer. As unique and startling as that novel was, without seeing the diversity of writing in the Bruce sterling edited anthology I might not have grasped what SF short fiction was really capable of.
Red Star, Winter Orbit still rates for me as one of Gibson’s strongest stories (alongside Hinterlands). But Tom Maddox Snake-Eyes sticks in my memory as the epitomy of cyberpunk, and a major influence over my story They Leave Him No Voice (workshopped at Clarion and awaiting re-write). Contributions from Greg Bear and Pat Cadigan also rocked my adolescent world, but it was James Patrick Kelly’s Solstice that really blew my mind. I remember that story pretty much scene for scene, despite not having read it for at least a decade. Meeting Jim at Clarion was totally awe inspiring as a consequence.
I can see my old battered copy of Mirrorshades on the shelf from where I am writing this. Its been a while, I think its time to go and read it again.