Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: Carol Emshwiller and Bobbie Ann Mason select favorite stories of their own, "But Soft, What Light..." (1966) and "Memphis" (1988) respectively

New American Short Stories 2: The Writers Select Their Own Favorites edited by Gloria Norris, Penguin/New American Library/Plume 1989

Introduction / Gloria Norris
The Pacific / Mark Helprin -- (ss) The Atlantic Monthly March 1986
Squirrelly's Grouper / Bob Shacochis -- variant form: "Fancy’s Grouper", (ss) Playboy March 1989
The Unfaithful Father / Judith Rossner -- (ss) Mademoiselle August 1986 
Smorgasbord / Tobias Wolff -- (ss) Esquire September 1987 (Full Text)
The Wars of Heaven / Richard Currey --  High Plains Literary Review, 1986
Temporary Shelter / Mary Gordon -- from her 1987 collection Temporary Shelter
Research / Max Apple -- (ss) Harper’s Magazine #1640, January 1987
Lawns / Mona Simpson -- Iowa Review, 1984
Facing the Music / Larry Brown -- Mississippi Review, 1986
Cooker / Frederick Barthelme --  (ss) The New Yorker August 10 1987
A Lot in Common / Veronica Geng -- (hu) The New Yorker January 25 1988
Orpha Knitting / Isabel Huggan -- Western Living, 1987
The Phantom of the Movie Palace / Robert Coover -- from his 1986 collection A Night at the Movies
Travel / Sue Miller -- from her 1987 collection Inventing the Abbotts and Other Stories
The Curse / Andre Dubus -- (ss) Playboy January 1988
The Gift of the Prodigal / Peter Taylor -- (ss) The New Yorker June 1 1981
Be-bop, Re-bop & All Those Obligatos / Xam Wilson Cartier -- excerpted from her 1987 novel Be-bop, Re-bop
Wejumpka / Rick Bass -- Chariton Review, 1988
Memphis / Bobbie Ann Mason --  (ss) The New Yorker February 22 1988
Queen for a Day / Russell Banks -- from his 1986 collection Success Stories

Two anthologies, both the last in their sequences for editors Harrison and Norris, despite good reviews and an almost fool-proof concept for an anthology (or a short series of them)...get impressive authors to choose their own best, or at least for this purpose currently most favored, short fiction (a few novelettes or even a novella or two sneak into both volumes), and ask the writers to provide a headnote (Harrison's books) or an afterword (Norris's) to their story choices, which can lead to various sorts of amusement when not also enlightenment. Norris, perhaps shortsightedly, asked in both her volumes for stories published in the last three years or so that had remained favorites, making for anthologies that, for devoted fans of the writers in question (and regular readers of The New Yorker particularly), provided a litany of often familiar (and still fresh in memory) stories...Harrison, conversely, asked for overlooked stories from his contributors, which allowed them to range freely through their careers, and at times pick out something from their key developmental steps, as they were finding their way. 

Happily, Carol Emshwiller's 1966 story, as she describes in her headnote, takes on both her early attempts to move away from traditional plot and the increasing irritation she'd been feeling at the plethora of human-robot/AI romance stories she'd been reading, many of them ignoring the apparent warning of Lester Del Rey's early and much revered story on this subject that those who would seek out such a relation would tend to be emotionally wonders what Emshwiller made of the technological developments already in place at the time of her death a few years ago allowing for greater ease of simulated romance and/or sex with hardware and software, if not quite up to the limited sentience of the stories (and similar narratives) in question. "But Soft, What Light..." not only posits an experimental robot and AI programmed to be a writer, but a machismic writer in the mode of Norman Mailer and his less flamboyant brethren, and its human companion, a young woman hired by the engineers and the robot's support staff in the Department of Contemplative and Exploratory Poetry to be its "vestal virgin"...and she displays all the self-deluding behaviors of the women who put up with "genius behavior" from their writing (or otherwise artistic) men, up to treasuring the knowledge that she is somehow loved by her artificial narcissist companion more than she worries about the minor and not so minor abuses she suffers, consistently excusing and praising her artificial guy. A blackly comic story, seemingly coming in part out Emshwiller's observations of too many women in the artistic communities she was a part of (with her painter and filmmaker husband and their Levittown house being a sort of Long Island bohemian locus).  Emshwiller notes that she considered this story also part of her attempt to write more bluntly and honestly about sex and the relations around those interactions, and she was surprised this particular story had never been picked  up for reprinting (after its first book publication here, it wouldn't be reprinted again, as far as I can tell, till Emshwiller included it in her 1990 collection The Start of the End of It All, and eventually in the first volume of her Complete Stories). She also notes that she didn't think this made her part of "the New Wave", though she enjoyed the work so tagged for the most part, since they had Agendas...not fully admitting that her agenda wasn't too far from those usually ascribed to the (admittedly somewhat amorphous) New Wave in sf.

Bobbie Ann Mason's protagonist Beverly is only slightly better off with her choice of life-partner, father of their two children and now ex-husband, a man who, like Beverly, isn't too sure of what he wants but has certainly lurking dread of what he doesn't want, and has some difficulty figuring out how to actively work for the former rather than letting resentment allow him to act out abruptly and sullenly (though, at least, not violently so much as to a certain degree selfishly, something Beverly realizes she isn't immune to, either, though she tries to be less disruptive and sulking than her ex). To further complicate matters, they aren't done with each other sexually, at least not in terms of both lust and empathy, and share custody of the children...which will be made more difficult as he intends to take a job in South Carolina, quite some distance away from their current abodes in western Kentucky, not too far a drive from Memphis, TN. The story is rich in details of their lives and those of their friends and extended families, and elegantly casual references to pop music and science-fictional films and related matters. Beverly is as effortfully trying to find a reasonable life for herself and help those around her find one as well, as much as the relentlessly nameless protagonist of Emshwiller's story is trying to invest herself in the notion of her self-abnegating sacrifice being for the Greater Good for her artificial partner and the great works it's going to be capable of, Real Soon Now. Mason notes in her afterword to the story that she envisioned a catastrophic ending for Beverly in the first draft, which among other unsatisfying respects left the impression of Beverly punished for leaving her husband; the next draft ended with what she suggests is The English Department ending: "Beverly was gazing at tantalizing visions of ambiguity in the reflections of the sky in the picture window"...and in final form Mason simply had Beverly going about the business of life, including that pertaining to her ex. 

Emshwiller, more in farce than minimalism in her story, has the budding AI/robot poet compose:
I love you.
"Let me count the ways."
One, two
Three, four
Ear neck leg Adam's apple

Wrinkle under arm
Big toe. That's seven
But that's not all. 

Let one who can count, count,
And in a microsecond, 
To thousands.
Charms have never been better catalogued
Than this
From whorl of fingertip through pubic hair line
I love you.

Its later work is slightly more adept, if no less comically so.

For more of this week's Short Story Wednesday entries, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Guest FFB: Barry N. Malzberg on ANATOMY OF A KILLER by Peter Rabe

Just finished this, one of 16 Rabe novels I ordered from Stark House in fulfillment of an ancient sense of obligation (I had never read a word of his divorced wife Claire [Rabe, initially as by "Anna Winter"]'s Olympia Press novel FLESH AND BLOOD when it was published with mine and five others in 1969 in a series of "the inaugural American Olympia hardcover novels" all of which bombed was quite good). This is one of the craziest, most disjointed, most fascinatingly implosive and explosive novels I have ever read; as I just observed to my patient spouse "When you are turning out books for $2500 advances in two or three weeks because you are trying to make a living you can't go back and get it right, but if he had had that unlikely opportunity this could have been a breakthrough work." Even so, I have never read existential fragmentation and individual psychic breakdown merged the way that Rabe manages in the final 15,000 words. That was my off again, on again shtick and in the fourteenth and final novel of THE LONE WOLF [series published as by "Mike Barry"] I might have gotten close but Rabe was on another planet. It's on a level with the last chapters of LOLITA and Rabe does not for better or worse allow linguistic virtuosity to get in his way.

This guy was (as Carter Scholz wrote of me 35 years ago) synchronously the best and worst writer going, sometimes in the same damned paragraph. A stunning broken talent. And a beacon toward the horrible time in which two thirds of a century later we now exist. 

I feel driven to make this observation public, just for the record.  As you were, ladies and gents.

--BNM, reprinted with permission from Rara-Avis.

A Malzberg birthday redux post, from 22 December 2017

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: Walter Tevis: three uncollected stories (from BLUEBOOK and REDBOOK, 1955-58) and a new documentary with other older documents

Walter Tevis: A Writer's Gambit was debuted on Kentucky Educational Television the other day, and Barry Malzberg let a bunch of us know that it was up online for perusal already, from KET themselves. Whether it will be picked up by the PBS network or nationally syndicated by American Public Television (APT) or NETA (the National Educational Telecommunications Association) or even by KET itself, I don't know yet, but watch this can do worse than watch the hourlong documentary, which is very well done and told me some things about Tevis I didn't know, and which do help to explain the throughline of his work.

Among the interviews dipped into repeatedly in the video is one from 1984 with CBS Radio books guy Don Swaim, and here's the link to the Ohio University Libraries archive of the Swaim unedited audio files, and transcripts, of both the 1984 and a 1983 interview with Swaim.

Further interviews: 
David Pettus in Thrust: Science Fiction and Fantasy in Review, Fall 1987

Patti Abbott, who started this SSW roundelay last year, was recently wondering about who isn't read any longer, among the various sorts of literary lions of decades past...I wasn't so sure we could be too sure, and if anyone's case helps make my point, it would be that of Walter Tevis, whose brilliant work was all but completely out of print, at least in non-E-book form, and all it took was a very well-adapted mini-series and an all but captive audience of Netflix subscribers to make him a hot property again, with new editions of his work coming back in all formats...though a once-mooted expanded volume of Tevis's short fiction, which was well if rather incompletely represented by the 1981 Doubleday volume Far From Home is, as yet, unrealized. 

"The Man from Chicago", Bluebook, January 1955

"Sucker's Game", Redbook, February 1958 

"First Love", Redbook, August 1958

Three good stories, two clearly among the run-ups to writing The Hustler, of which there were several others, I suspect the first being the 1954 Esquire story, "The Best in the Country".  "First Love" is a not quite antiromantic vignette involving married and parental love nine years in, and makes its points gracefully. "The Man From Chicago" and "Sucker's Game" are clearly feeling out the choreography between the characters of Tevis's first novel; the younger pool-hustler in the later story is actually named Eddie, but doesn't yet have a surname. A volume of the proto-Hustler stories could stand by themselves, as the changes rung on the basic sports fiction/con-job situation themes...the English put on the balls in sufficiently interesting to make reading two of the stories in rapid succession rewarding, though as tucked into a larger Tevis Reader, it would make more sense...and neither Tevis nor Eddie and his compeers would look kindly at leaving money on the table (Tevis presumably didn't think adding the proto-Felson stories would add much to the allure of his collection at time of publication; he was excessively modest in some ways).

***And Random House/Vintage is going to take that bet, and intend to release a collection of (presumably) all the Tevis stories they can find (inasmuch as they note that All Tevis's work will be in print at once for the first time) in a Publisher's Weekly press release that Gordon Van Gelder reminded me of (or at least redirected me to). The working title, thanks to The Queen's Gambit and one of the stories going by this title, has been announced as The King is Dead.

Good, as I'd like to read the Esquire and Cosmopolitan and Saturday Evening Post stories that are currently locked behind paywalls, in at least some more convenient form...I have my first edition of Far From Home beside me at the moment, it the subject of a partially written paired review from three years ago in the backfiles here...

Notable, also, the stories in these issues alongside the Tevis items...Robert Bloch's "The Past Master" in the Bluebook along with a Steve Allen short sf story, his first attempt at published fiction apparently, which Judith Merril enjoyed reprinting in her anthologies a few times, a Michael Shaara in the newer Redbook, and others...the Redbook issues were from the period in which the magazine was being marketed to young (heterosexual) couples, with a short story or so in every issue tagged explicitly for Men (though it is telling that "Sucker's Game", so tagged, has a large douche ad in its third page of text), the Bluebook issue (the first to be cover-tagged "the New Bluebook") well into its transition from being the most prestigious and widely-respected of pulp fiction magazines to becoming, however briefly, a men's service magazine with some middle-class uplift and how-to aspects (practicing bowling with your spouse, a series of articles on the service workers who are rarely celebrated), before it fell over the manful cliff into being mostly a True Men's Adventure magazine with some more-expensive content added, a la Saga and True.

From the Internet Speculative Fiction DataBase (ISFDB):
  • Publication: Far from Home
  • Author: Walter Tevis
  • Date: 1981-01-00
  • ISBN: 0-385-17036-X [978-0-385-17036-9]
  • Publisher: Doubleday
For more of this week's Short Story Wednesday entries, 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the Links to Reviews, Texts et al.; weeks of 25 June/2 July 2021

This past fortnight's cycle of books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles...if I've missed your review or someone else's, please let me know in comments. Apologies for the delays!

Patricia Abbott: "Motherless Son" by Elizabeth Strout, The New Yorker, 15 August 2019, fiction edited by Deborah Triesman; Canada by Richard Ford; "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" by Nathan Englander, The New Yorker, 11 November 2011

Brad Bigelow: The Steagle by Irvin Faust; I am the World by Peter Vansittart

Paul Bishop: the fists (and boxing fiction) of Robert E. Howard

Mike Blake: The Rynox Murder by Philip MacDonald

Les Blatt: Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes

Elgin Bleecker: Maigret Has Scruples by Georges Simenon (translated by Robert Eglesfield); Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

Joachim Boaz: short stories by Carol Emswhiller:  "The Coming", The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1957, edited by "Anthony Boucher" (William White); "You'll Feel Better...", The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Boucher,  July 1057; "Two-Step for Six Legs", Science Fiction Quarterly, August 1957, edited by Robert A. W. Lowndes; Alternities edited by David Gerrold and Stephen Goldin; Twilight Country by Knut Faldbakken (translated by Joan Tate)

John Boston: World's Best Science Fiction: 1966 edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr; Amazing Stories, April 1966, edited by Joseph "Ross" (Wrosz) and Sol Cohen (40th Anniversary issue)

Ben Boulden: Double Feature (aka Enough) by Donald Westlake; Jack Bickham's fiction

Cora Buhlert: Babel-17 by Samuel Delany

Brian Busby: The Mac's of '37: The Story of the Canadian Rebellion by "Price-Brown" (John Price Brown); This Suitcase is Going to Explode by Tom Ardies

Bob Byrne: hardboiled CF anthologies; Discovering Robert E. Howard

Alan Cheuse: In the Middle Distance by Nicholas Delbanco

Douglas Cohen: Realms of Fantasy, June 1997, edited by Shawna McCarthy

Bill Crider: Morgue for Venus by "Jonathan Craig" (Frank Smith)

Liz Dexter: Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler; In Our Own Words edited by Anne Shade and Victoria Villaseñor; Apricot Sky by Ruby Ferguson

Scott Edelman: Karen Osborne; Joshua Bilmes 

Martin Edwards: The Rainbird Pattern by Victor Canning; A Fragment of Fear by John Bingham

Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: Batman comics in the 1980s: June 1982 issues; Warren comics magazines, April 1975

Barry Ergang: Dead Famous by Ben Elton

Will Errickson: the novels of Daniel Rhodes; William Teason's cover art; Jaws promotional pamphlet

José Ignacio Escribano: They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie; Case for Three Detectives by Leo Bruce

"Olman Feelyus": The Cold Moons by Aaron Clement; The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart

Dana Gould: May You Live in Interesting Times by Laraine Newman; A History of Stand Up from Mark Twain to Dave Chapelle by Wayne Federman

Aubrey Hamilton: Through a Glass, Darkly by Helen McCloy; Murder on B Deck by Vincent Starrett; Greenmask! by Elizabeth Linington; Kill Me Again by Terence Flaherty

Bev Hankins: Road Rage by Ruth Rendell; The Predator of Batignolles by Claude Izner; The Youth Hostel Murders by Glyn Carr

Don Herron: Songs and Sonnets Atlantean by Donald Sidney-Fryer

Rich Horton: One Night Stands and Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block

Jerry House: Zomnibus (three graphic novels) by Shane McCarthy (text) and Chris Bolton and Enrique Lopez Lorenzana (illustration), El Torres (text) and Yair Herrera (illustration), and Chris Ryall (text) and Ashley Wood (illustration); The Mystery of the Red Barn: Thriller Picture Library #171 by Robert Forrest (illustration) and  Leonard  Matthews (script); When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer (and its offshoots); "The Man Who Vanished" by J. A. Mitchell, (apparently first published in his) The First Affair and Other Sketches; The Homunculus by David H. Keller; Boy Comics #5, August 1942, edited by Charles Biro and Bob Wood; Druso by Freirich Freska (as translated by Fletcher Pratt), Wonder Stories, May 1934 et seq. (3-part serial), edited by Hugo Gernsback; Frontiers II by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Day of the Ram by William Campbell Gault; The Three Investigators Crimebusters #6: Thriller Diller by Megan and H. William Stine; Bannock by Richard S. Wheeler

Kate Jackson: Hunt the Tortoise by Elizabeth Ferrars; The Fatal Picnic by Bernice Carey; Golden Age Detective Stories edited by Otto Penzler; The Avenging Parrot by Anne Austin; Murder by Inches by Stanley Hopkins, Jr.

Tracy K: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett; Ackermanthology! edited by Forest J. Ackerman; Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith; The Travelers by Chris Pavone

Colman Keane: Problems Solved by Bill Pronzini and Barry M. MalzbergDouble Feature (aka Enough) by Donald Westlake; At This Point in My Life by Frank Zafiro; McHugh by Jay Flynn

George Kelley: Double Down by Max Allan Collins; The Prague Orgy by Philip Roth; The Cthulhu Stories of Robert E. Howard edited by Scott Lee; Expanded Universe by Robert A. Heinlein; Cards of Grief by Jane Yolen

Joe Kenney: Radcliff #3: Double Trouble by Roosevelt Mallory; The Baroness #10: A Black Hole to Die In by "Paul Kenyon" (Donald Moffit) (unpublished ms.); Men's Adventure Quarterly, April 2021, edited by Robert Deis, Bill Cunningham and Bill Simon

Rob Kitchin: The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt

K. A. Laity: The Candy Kid by Dorothy B. Hughes

Karen Langley: [George] Orwell's Complete Essays, Journalism and Letters, V. 4, edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus; Writing Degree Zero by Roland Barthes (translated by Annette Lavers and Colin Smith)

B. V. Lawson: More Good Old Stuff by John D. MacDonald; The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham

Xavier Lechard: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Des/D. F. Lewis: The Breaking Point by Daphne Du Maurier

Evan Lewis: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, January-May 1943, edited by "Ellery Queen" (in this case, Frederic Dannay alone); EQMM, July-November 1943; Perry Mason: The Case of the Innocent Thief (newspaper comic strip) by Erle Stanley Gardner and Mel Keefer, syndicated in 1950"DevilDogs Three" by S. M. Iger? (script) and Rudy Palais (illustrati0n), Great Comics, #1, November 1941, edited by S. M. Iger?; "Futuro Kidnaps Hitler And Takes Him to Hades!", illustration by Rudy Palais, Great Comics #3, January 1942

Steve Lewis: Planet of the Damned (aka Sense of Obligation) by Harry Harrison; If a Body-- by George Worthing Yates; Lost Daughter by Michael Cormany; Analog Science Fact and Fiction, November 1961, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.; "Footsteps of Fear" by Vincent Starrett, The Black Mask, April 1920, edited by F. M. Osborne

The Liar's Club Oddcast [writers podcast]: A. C. Wise; John McFetridge; Ellen Datlow; Jason Pinter; Robert Crais

Library of America: "Old Flaming Youth" by Jean Stafford, Harper's Bazaar, December 1950, edited by Carmel Snow; "The Battle of Long Island" by Philip Vickers Fithian, from Philip Vickers Fithian: Journal 1775-1776

Sara Light-Waller: Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper

Robert Lopresti: "The Waiting Game" by Dana Haynes, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July/August 2021, edited by Laura Landrigan

Barry N. Malzberg: Interview with Alec Navala-Lee; Mark Clifton and his time

Todd Mason: Enough (reissued currently as Double Feature) by Donald Westlake, and the film adaptation of "Ordo"

Ed McBride: Longarm on the Humboldt by "Tabor Evans" (in this case, Harry Whittington)

Steven J. McDermott: Sin Hellcat by "Andrew Shaw" (Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake); The Lady Kills by Bruno Fischer; The Squeeze by Gil Brewer; Affairs of a Beauty Queen by Orrie Hitt

Thomas McNulty: Die a Little by Megan Abbott

Marcia Muller: Murder with Pictures by George Harmon Coxe

Neeru: Judy of Bunter's Buildings by E. Philips Oppenheim; Last Seen Wearing by Hilary Waugh; The Sark Street Chapel Murder by Thomas Cobb; Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Francis M. Nevins: the CF work of Aaron Marc Stein (aka "George Baxby")

Jess Nevins: Cyberpunk 101

John F. Norris: The Intimate Journal of Warren Winslow by Jean Leslie

Jim Noy: The Red Thumb Mark by R. Austin Freeman

Juri Nummelin: 1960s erotic crime novels missing from standard CF indices

John O'Neil: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

M. Harold Page: Imaginary Worlds by Lin Carter

Paperback Warrior: The Wrecking of Offshore Five by Ronald Johnston; Dive in the Sun by Douglas Reeman; Bodies are Dust (aka Hell Cop) by P. J. Wolfson; the works and legacy of William W. Johnstone; Galaxy of the Lost by "Gregory Kern" (E. C. Tubb); The Freedom Trap (aka The MacKintosh Man) by Desmond Bagley; Deathlands: Homeward Bound by "James Axler" (in this case, Laurence James); The Survivalist: The Quest by Jerry Ahern

Matt Paust: Bullets and Other Hurting Things: A Tribute to Bill Crider edited by Bill Ollerman; The Long-Legged Fly by James Sallis

Mildred Perkins: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Deb Pfeifer: The Rules of the Game by Georges Simenon (translated by Howard Curtis)

Holly Rand: Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor by Alison Arant and Jordan Coffer

James Reasoner: Tarzan: Untamed Frontiers by Gary Buckingham; Paperbacks at War edited by Justin Marriott; Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in River of Peril by "Cole Fannin" (Frank Castle); Exotic Adventures of Robert Silverberg by Robert Silverberg (edited by Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle); Sex Dancer by Clayton Matthews

Richard Robinson: The Reader's Room by Antoine Laurain (translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce); When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page edited by Matthew Moring

Gerard Saylor: I, a Squealer by Richard Bruns

Steve Scott: "Kids on Wheels" by John D. MacDonald, The American Legion Magazine, June 1954, edited by Joseph C. Keeley

Jack Seabrook: "Epitaph for a Heel" by William Fay, The Saturday Evening Post, 20 January 1962, edited by Ben Hibbs; "The End of an Era" by William Link and Richard Levinson, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January 1962, edited by Lisa Belknap

Mark Seiber: Panacea by F. Paul Wilson

Victoria Silverwolf: Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

Kerrie Smith: The Baby-Snatcher by Ann Cleeves; The Trespasser by Tana French; Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Marina Sofia: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson; Three Rooms by Jo Hamya; Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell

Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe: Catherynne M. Valente; Lavie Tidhar

Kevin Tipple: Rapture in Death by "J. D. Robb" ("Nora Roberts"/Eleanor Robertson); "It Doesn't Take a Genius" by Kate Thornton, originally in Landmarked for Murder, edited by Harley Jane Kozak, Michael Mallory and Nathan Walpow 

Scott Tipple: An Empire Asunder by Evan Currie

"TomKat": Who Murdered Mrs. Kroll? by Mika Waltari (at several removes!); Moord onder maagden ("Murder Among Virgins") by "Ton Vervoort" (Peter Verstegen)

Emily VanDerWerff: "I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter" by "Isobel Fall", Clarkesworld, 1 January 2020, edited by Neil Clarke

David Vineyard: "Sapper": The Best Short Stories by "Sapper" (Herman McNiele), edited by "Jack Adrian" (Christopher Lowder)

Bill Wallace: Death by Anna Croissant-Rust (translated by James J. Conway)

Beatrice Washburn: The End of the Night by John D. MacDonald