Friday, March 2, 2018

FFB: THE 1965 ANNUALS of fiction and drama, further augmented...

The Best American Short Stories 1965 
edited by Martha Foley and David Burnett 
The 10th Annual of the Year’s Best S-F 
edited by Judith Merril 
Best Detective Stories of the Year, 20th Annual Collection edited by Anthony Boucher 
World's Best Science Fiction: 1965 edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr 
Prize Stories 1965: The O. Henry Awards edited by Richard Poirier and William Abrahams 
The Best Plays of 1964-1965 
edited by Otis L. Guernsey, Jr.
The Great SF Stories: 1964 edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg (2001)
The Best American Plays, Sixth Series: 1963-1967 edited by John Gassner and Clive Barnes (1971)

In 1965, the five best of the year fiction annuals (imagine a time where only five such series existed, one new that year) were facing some number magic: the 50th annual Best American Short Stories (there was also a 50th anniversary best of the series); the 20th annual of Year's Best Detective Stories; the 10th volume of Judith Merril's annual (the only series still being edited by its founder, aside from the new one), the first as noted from Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr; and the 45th volume of The O. Henry Awards (which lost a few volumes after the then-current editor in 1951 died unexpectedly, and Doubleday was clearly considering discontinuing the series, before eventually continuing several years later). There's number magic in regards to these volumes now, as well: they were fifty years old the year I first attempted this survey (and there was "Century of BASS" volume in 2015 along with the annual series entry); and for me there's a personal number magic, inasmuch as the stories collected in these volumes were mostly first published in the year I first emerged into the world, too: 1964. (The O. Henry book, as they did in those years, collects stories first published from June 1963 to June '64; the other volumes might have a few stragglers, too.) The Foley and the Merril saw both hardcover and paperback editions; the other three saw only one edition each (the first Ace annual didn't get a book club edition, as later volumes would; the Boucher and Poirier/Abrahams possibly did get book-club hardcovers, but no paperbacks). 

More important measures, than the blown opportunity to write these up in detail on their golden anniversary, come to mind...these were, as all art and commerce is, products of their time, and their time was one of a number of  emerging forces in the arts and culture...newly energized liberation movements hadn't quite come to full strength, so that the remarkable lack of women contributors in comparison to the men, even in the annuals edited by women, would be a lot less likely to happen today (and certainly more would be made of it); ethnic and other diversity also only starting to be felt...the contemporary-mimetic short fiction anthologies are less imbalanced than the others, where two feature no contributions by women at all, but none are indicative of an equal access to the fields being surveyed. And the barriers between "high" and "low" and Dwight Macdonald's "midcult" culture, never terribly robust, were crumbling in every way, as is positively indicated by the contents here, albeit it did mean that slight work is as likely to be showcased along with the more lasting--as in previous volumes in these series or the later volumes...just perhaps in later volumes with a slightly less gleeful sense of artificial restrictions being breached in both the magazines  and other sources (very much including theaters, obviously) consulted and the range of sources being consulted by each of the sets of editors.

Meanwhile, the fiction annuals, which had had as accompaniment a humor annual for three volumes at the turn of the 1950s, and would soon after 1965 see the advent of Best Magazine Article and Best Political Cartoon annuals in the US, did have a yearbook cousin in The Best Plays annual, which underwent its own major change in 1965, when founding editor Burns Mantle was succeeded by Owen Guernsey, who would edit or co-edit the series for some decades. My memory of looking at some of the 1970s volumes was hazier than I thought, as I'd remembered the volumes reprinting the entirety of the selected plays, when actually they instead featured synopses and excerpts of the scripts, with the first-time exception in the 1965 volume (the 48th), perhaps because of a book contract elsewhere for Neil Simon, of an extensive photo sequence instead,  representing The Odd Couple...with Art Carney playing Felix along with Walter Matthau as Oscar. 

Then I finally stumbled across the not-quite-annual volume, edited by John Gassner in its early issues, which with its delayed 1963-67 volume did collect the notable plays of 1964 and thereabouts in their entirety...a book delayed by Gassner's death, as he was preparing the final selections, and finally published in 1971, with new editor Clive Barnes's headnotes, introductions, and tweaking of the content for purposes of both representation and lack of reprint rights availability (and Barnes's not always flattering descriptions of the items included and those which got away are refreshingly earnest, if not always supportive of the notion of a Best-Of so much as Representation-Of anthology). Barnes would continue with even more widely-spaced volumes into the next decades.

Fuller reviews of these books will be forthcoming soon, as I get further along in each (I'm reading or rereading each more or less together, and these are not slender volumes!), and I had hoped, when first poting this in 2015, to present an interview with Kit Reed (who died in 2017), among much else the author of the lead-off story in the Merril volume, "Automatic Tiger"...perhaps the story which got her the most early attention in fantasy and sf circles (and her career was one rather gracefully devoted to fantastic fiction, crime fiction and contemporary-mimetic fiction in nearly equal measure).  Meanwhile, along with introducing/presenting the only image online I'm aware of the Best Plays volume's cover (with a gracious assist from Alice Chang)(my copy deaccessioned from the Belfast, Eire public library, of all places), I will at least provide some preliminary indices...and perhaps even a few more comments over the course of the day.  (I will note that Flannery O'Connor's lead-off story in the O. Henry volume, "Revelation," was offered the "first prize" in this volume, I suspect, more as memorial for her than as measured judgement of this story, not, I'd suggest, one of the best she'd published, though solid work.)

Indices below; for more of today's books, almost all more thoroughly considered, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Indices courtesy William Contento/Galactic Central
and WorldCat

And, in 2001, a latecomer chose to join this company, in the form of Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg's one-volume continuation of the Great SF Stories series Greenberg had been editing with Isaac Asimov...the last Asimov volume, finished up as Asimov lay dying, also treated with stories from the year 1963, meant to be the last in that series from DAW Books since DAW's own first annual, the World's Best SF cited above, began in '65 choosing among 1964 publication. But Silverberg, Greenberg and NESFA Press were all game, and gave a revival a shot...apparently to little response, critically or commercially, in the wake of the 11 September attacks and whatever else drew attention away.  Eppur si muove. 

    • 1 · Center of Gravity · L. J. Amster · nv The Saturday Evening Post Mar 14 1964
    • 45 · The Returning · Daniel De Paola · ss Prairie Schooner Spr 1964
    • 57 · The Transient · Stanley Elkin · nv The Saturday Evening Post Apr 25 1964
    • 93 · Opening Day · Jack Gilchrist · ss Georgia Review Spr 1964, as by John Shafter
    • 99 · The Gesture · James W. Groshong · ss The Antioch Review Sum 1964
    • 113 · Sarah · Martin J. Hamer · ss Atlantic Monthly Jan 1964
    • 125 · Sherry · Maureen Howard · nv The Hudson Review Aut 1964
    • 167 · A Family Man · Donald Hutter · ss The Saturday Evening Post Feb 22 1964
    • 187 · The Month of His Birthday · Henia Karmel-Wolfe · ss Mademoiselle Dec 1964
    • 199 · Heart of Gold · Mary Lavin · nv The New Yorker Jun 27 1964
    • 223 · A Blue Blonde in the Sky Over Pennsylvania · Dennis Lynds · ss The Hudson Review Spr 1964
    • 241 · The Guest · Frederic Morton · ss The Hudson Review Win 1964
    • 251 · The Application · Jay Neugeboren · ss Transatlantic Review Oct 1964
    • 259 · First Views of the Enemy · Joyce Carol Oates · ss Prairie Schooner Spr 1964
    • 271 · The Practice of an Art · Leonard Wallace Robinson · ss The Saturday Evening Post Sep 5 1964
    • 283 · A Sacrifice · Isaac Bashevis Singer · ss Harper’s Feb 1964
    • 291 · Eskimo Pies · Robert Somerlott · ss Atlantic Monthly Jan 1964
    • 299 · The Visit · Elizabeth Spencer · ss Prairie Schooner Sum 1964
    • 313 · The Tea Time of Stouthearted Ladies · Jean Stafford · ss The Kenyon Review Win 1964
    • 325 · For I Have Wept · Gerald Stein · ss The Saturday Evening Post Jan 4-11 1964
    • 345 · There · Peter Taylor · nv The Kenyon Review Win 1964
    • 371 · The Last Right · Lee Yu-Hwa · ss The Literary Review Sum 1964
    • 385 · Biographical Notes · [Misc.] · bg
    • 393 · The Yearbook of the American Short Story, January 1 to December 31, 1964 · [Misc.] · bi

Best Detective Stories of the Year : 20th annual collection

Editor:Anthony Boucher
Publisher:New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., 1965.
Description:271 pages ; 21 cm
Contents:H as in Homicide / Lawrence Treat (ss) Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Mar 1964
Routine Investigation / Robert Twohy (ss) Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Apr 1964
No Way Out / Dennis Lynds (ss) Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Feb 1964 
Payoff / Ellery Queen (ss) Cavalier Aug 1964, as “Crime Syndicate Payoff”
Temple by the River / Leon Comber (ss) The Strange Cases of Magistrate Pao, Charles E. Tuttle 1964; Short Story International Aug 1978
Return of Schlock Homes / Robert L Fish (ss) Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Jun 1964
Short and Simple Annals / Dan J. Marlowe (ss) Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Aug 1964
The Ingenious Mind of Mr. Rigby Lacksome / Ernest Bramah (ss) Max Carrados Mysteries (Hodder and Stoughton, London 1927)
Credit to Shakespeare / Julian Symons (ss) Murder! Murder!, Fontana 1961, as “Credit to William Shakespeare”; Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Nov 1964
A Soliloquy in Tongues / William Wiser (ss) Cosmopolitan May 1964
Papa Tral's Harvest / Barry Perowne (nv) Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Mar 1964
Blurred View / John D. MacDonald (ss) This Week Feb 23 1964
Reunion / Edward D. Hoch (ss) The Saint Mystery Magazine December 1964
Violet / Hal Ellson (ss) Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine May 1964
A Case for the UN / Miriam Allen deFord (ss) Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Jul 1964
Legacy of Office / Rog Phillips (ss) Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Jun 1964

Prize stories 1965 : the O. Henry Awards

Author:Richard PoirierWilliam Miller Abrahams
Publisher:Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday & Co., 1965.
Description:xii, 295 pages ; 22 cm.
ContentsIntroduction / by William Abrahams --
Revelation / Flannery O'Connor (ss), The Sewanee Review, Spring 1964
Ocean / Sanford Friedman (nv) Partisan Review, Winter 1964
The Ballad of Jesse Neighbours / William Humphrey (ss) Esquire Sep 1963
Homecoming / Tom Mayer (ss) Harper’s Magazine Aug 1963
Mama and the Spy / Eva Manoff (ss) Mademoiselle Aug 1963
Sunday's Children / Nancy A.J. Potter --
Margins / Donald Barthelme (ss) The New Yorker, Feb 22 1963
If Lost Return to the Swiss Arms / Leon Rooke --
There / Peter Taylor nv The Kenyon Review Win 1964
Come Lady Death / Peter S. Beagle (ss) The Atlantic Monthly Sep 1963
First Views of the Enemy / Joyce Carol Oates (ss) Prairie Schooner Spring 1964
Fifty-Fifty / Leonard Wolf ss)  The Kenyon Review Autumn 1963
Sucker / Carson McCullers --
Love in the Winter / Daniel Curley --
A Woman of her Age / Jack Ludwig --
What I Wish (Oh, I Wish) I Had Said / Arthur Cavanaugh --
The Hounds of Summer / Mary McCarthy --
Chaos, Disorder and the Late Show / Warren Miller

The World’s Best Science Fiction: 1965 ed. 
Donald A. Wollheim & Terry Carr (Ace G-551, 1965, 50¢, 288pp, pb)

7 · Introduction · Donald A. Wollheim & Terry Carr · in

The Best plays of 1964-65

Editor:Otis L Guernsey
Publisher:New York : Dodd Mead, ©1965.

434 pages : illustrations by Al Hirschfeld ; 24 cm.


photo essay: The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
Frank D. Gilroy, The Subject was Roses--
Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof--
Friedrich Duerrenmatt, The Physicists--
Murray Schisgal, Luv--
Jean Anouilh, Poor Bitos--
William Hanley, Slow Dance on the Killing Ground--
Arthur Miller, Incident at Vichy--
LeRoi Jones, The Toilet--
Edward Albee, Tiny Alice.

    The Great SF Stories: 1964 ed. Robert Silverberg & Martin H. Greenberg (NESFA Press 1-886778-21-3, Jan 2002, $25.00, 395pp, hc, cover by Eddie Jones) Anthology of 15 stories first published in 1964, a continuation of the series originally edited by Isaac Asimov and Greenberg. Authors include Norman Spinrad, Poul Anderson, and John Brunner. Foreword and introduction by Silverberg, who discusses why he decided to do the anthology, and the state of the US and science fiction in 1964. Order from NESFA Press, PO Box 809, Framingham MA 01701; [].

    Best American Plays: sixth series, 1963-1967

    Editors:John GassnerClive Barnes
    Publisher:New York : Crown Publishers, 1971


    Description:xii, 594 pages ; 24 cm
    Contents:Tiny Alice / Edward Albee --
    Blues for Mister Charlie / James Baldwin --
    The Last Analysis / Saul Bellow --
    Hogan's Goat / William Alfred --
    The Fantasticks / Tom Jones --
    The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window / Lorraine Hansberry --
    The Lion in Winter / James Goldman --
    Hughie / Eugene O'Neill --
    The Toilet / LeRoi Jones --
    You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running / Robert Anderson --
    Benito Cereno / Robert Lowell --
    Fiddler on the Roof / Joseph Stein --
    Slow Dance on the Killing Ground / William Hanley --
    In White America / Martin B. Duberman --
    The Owl and the Pussycat / Bill Manhoff --
    The Odd Couple / Neil Simon --
    The Subject was Roses / Frank D. Gilroy.
    Responsibility:edited by John Gassner and Clive Barnes;
    with an introduction and prefaces to the plays by Clive Barnes.


    George said...

    I've read (and own) the ACE YEAR'S BEST SF 1965 anthology and the NESFA anthology edited by Silverberg and Greenberg. I used to read the BEST SHORT STORIES collections in the Library. My wife used to read those YEAR'S BEST PLAYS volumes.

    Todd Mason said...

    Already not much of a fan of the Merril annual by 1965? Or the Boucher annual?

    George Kelley said...

    I read all the Merril SF annuals. She made some "interesting" choices. Over the years, I've collected the Boucher BEST OF books (but I haven't read more than a couple of them). The ACE YEAR'S BEST SF series represented the authors I was reading back then so of course I loved them.

    Later, I preferred Terry Carr's YEAR'S BEST SF series over all the others.