I love short story collections and there have quite a few published this year (2011 - and 2 from 2010) that I've been keeping my eye on.
Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances, Trisha Telep. Dark, urban fantasies come to life. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements.
After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh. These stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Danielle Evans. 2011 winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to literature by African American writers.
In each of her stories, Danielle Evans explores the lives of young black people in contemporary America.
A Man Melting, Craig Cliff. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.
A son worries he is becoming too perfect a copy of his father. The co-owner of a weight-loss camp for teens finds himself running the black market in chocolate bars. A man starts melting and nothing can stop it, not even poetry. This terrific collection of stories by an exciting new talent moves from the serious and realistic to the humorous and outlandish, each story copying an element from the previous piece in a kind of evolutionary chain.
The Outlaw Album: Stories, Daniel Woodrell. Desperation, both material and psychological, motivate the characters in these stories. A husband cruelly avenges the murder of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches her breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behavior; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbor.
The Empty Family, Colm Toibin. The stories, set in Dublin, Barcelona, and America, all capture moments of difficult intimacy: the desire, pain, and loss between men and women, men and men, men and their mothers and grandmothers, and women and their families.
We Others: New and Selected Stories, Steven Millhauser. The stories gathered here unfurl in settings as disparate as nineteenth-century Vienna, a contemporary Connecticut town, the corridors of a monstrous museum, and Thomas Edison's laboratory, and they are inhabited by a wide-ranging cast of characters, including a knife thrower and teenage boys, ghosts and a cartoon cat and mouse.
Orientation and Other Family Stories, Daniel Orozco. Daily routines keep the world running, but when people are pushed - by a coworker's taunt, a face-to-face encounter with a woman in free fall from a bridge - cracks appear, revealing alienation, casual cruelty, madness, and above all a simultaneous hunger for and fear of the unknown.
Teeth: Vampire Tales, Ellen Datlow. There is a mixture of many different vampire stories in one book. Most of the stories are based off of legends from many cultures, while others are just the author's view of what a vampire is like in his/her mind.
The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes, Christopher Golden. An all original anthology featuring stories of monster's from the monster's point of view.