"He...remembered the future with increasing melancholy." -- C.J. Cherryh
After their definitive international anthology of horror and dark fantasy, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, I was wondering what the Vandermeers would do for an encore. That turns out to be a 960-page time travel fantasy anthology chock full of stories most of us won't have read before.
Note the word "fantasy." The editors have deliberately downplayed what they call the "decidedly science-fictional" time paradox story (epitomized by the absent "By His Bootstraps" and "-All You Zombies-") in favor of fantasy stories with time travel backgrounds: their preface namechecks 11.22.63,The Time Traveler's Wife, and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe -- a thriller, a romance, and a comedy, all bestsellers, none of them marketed as science fiction -- as examples of where the time travel story has gone to find a popular audience these days. (That doesn't even include Hollywood, where time travel has never gone out of fashion.)
Only "A Sound of Thunder," "Vintage Season," a four-page excerpt from THE TIME MACHINE, and perhaps Ursula Le Guin's "Another Story, or A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" will be overfamiliar to SF readers. Otherwise there's a staggering list of writing talent on display, much of it plucked from out-of-print books and online magazines. Shuffled into four broad categories separated by brief nonfiction interludes (Jason Heller on music, Genevieve Valentine on fashion, Stan Love on the science of time travel, and Charles Yu, typically for this author, on introspective self-analysis), the Vandermeers have assembled an anthology that'll keep the reader pleasurably occupied for weeks. If one makes the time for it.