on November 26, 2009
As the last review of this book was written in 2001, I thought I'd add some more information about this outstanding anthology.
The sixth edition has brought with it a wealth of new texts, including the full text of Conrad's _Heart of Darkness_, Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic", among other North American and world writers. It also has a new section on approaching short fiction through film, which gives students an overview of common photographic techniques used in films. The additions to this book are outstanding.
I'd also like to emphasise that this particular book includes a wealth of knowledge aside from short stories: there are critical essays by writers, introductions to various forms of theoretical approaches to literature, sample student essays, and an introduction which covers genre, forms, and how to read short fiction. It's a one-stop shop, in other words.
I might not have dug as deep into the tome as the previous reviewer, but I haven't noticed any glaring typographical or grammatical mistakes.
The sixth edition of Short Fiction adds a lot to this anthology, making it a worthwhile addition to a high school or first year university English course. The price is the only thing holding me back from ordering a class set.
on January 2, 2001
Although the selection of short stories in this anthology is excellent, presenting an array of some of the best classic and contemporary pieces of the genre, the number of typographical errors are INEXCUSABLE. This is the anthology I purchased for a short fiction class this past fall, and as a class we were increasingly astounded by each additional typo we confronted. In about half of the stories we read, we encountered at least one, and in some we noticed more than one, which was really distracting. In Conan Doyle's Red Headed League, for instance, Holmes "THOUGH as much" (as opposed to thought), and on the very next page, he "only wished to ask WHO he would get to the Strand" (as opposed to how). The fact that there was a misprint in my favorite story of those that we read - James Joyce's Araby--was the last straw for me. My professor encouraged us to write or e-mail the editors and complain, and one student did, only to receive an e-mail which defended them and declared that the errors don't really alter the content or overall effect of the stories. Ironically, instead of the monetary compensation my fellow student(unsurprisingly)requested, the person she contacted offered to send her a free book on English writing and usage. We all told her she should send an e-mail back to them, telling them to keep the book because the editors obviously needed it more than her.
It really is disgraceful, though. How could the editors possibly think that stupid errors like this don't crucially alter the story's effect on the reader? This is not the case. It is distracting and irritating, and destroys the effect for me. I can't imagine that James Joyce would have agreed with the comment that errors like this don't really damage the story. Every author whose story was massacred by these editors would shudder that their works of art were destroyed by carelessness. Isn't the editor's job to make positively sure these kinds of errors are not there? It's really hard to believe. I've never EVER encountered typographical errors in books I've read for school, and very few in the ones I have found mistakes in. Certainly no more than two! Don't buy this anthology...maybe wait for the next edition-- hopefully they will proofread a little more accurately. If the editors happen to read this-- please, this is one disappointed student who doesn't want monetary compensation--I just want another book, and I want it to be perfect!