I always set aside the months of December and January to read as many Best of the Net submissions as I can. I get the lists of finalists before they're sent to the judges, and that's where I start. I read every piece that could be included in this release first, and inevitably when I finish those by the beginning of the year I have a few weeks to pick from the work that was nominated, but didn't quite make it to those lists. I relish in picking the names that are new to me. I find so much defiance, joy, and sheer astonishment in the language used in those submissions. It's the ultimate perk, to be blindsided by the work of some ecstatic just beginning to flex their capabilities, or get caught up in someone's experiment that might or might not have actually worked.
The risks taken in this year's submissions were immense. The skill and audacity of you folks is daunting. I love the challenge you put in front of us, and I'd encourage everyone to find the magazines/journals that nominated work for inclusion in this anthology and do the same thing that I did. Choose new names. Live in new worlds. Read it out loud and let it lift up your whole body in the process.
As a community, this was the year we all thickened up a bit, and this was the year we got stronger and stranger than we have ever been. This was the year the sounds we made together echoed into the quiver of our world and gave it a tide that could crest with or without a shore in sight. This was the year we let our adrenaline take us as far as we could, and when it finally faded we relied on those around us to take us even further.
The list of people that carried me and my own work in 2019 is lengthy, and every writer that has had work included in this anthology or named a finalist or simply nominated has their own list that is just as long. Thank you to all the people who carry work, celebrate work and who rally around the importance of this community to the rest of the world.
Thank you to the many people that make the Best of the Net Anthology possible. Thank you to Eloisa, Hanif, and Megan, our incredible final judges of this year's work. Thank you to Ellen, Sarah, and Tasha, our genre editors that managed their teams impeccably and professionally. Thank you to the dozens and dozens of readers it takes to read and comment on these thousands of pages of work. Thank you to the folks at Sundress, our warrior queen Erin and Staff Director Anna, and the many interns that filled in when gaps in our plan inevitably presented themselves. Best of the Net is a very big ship with a full crew, and it feels fantastic to have finally made it ashore with cargo as undeniably dynamic as this year's anthology. Enjoy and carry it with you.
Darren C. Demaree
Managing Editor, Best of the Net